How the viewer's state of fear can be activated through their auditory perception of horror film sound: a better understanding via two novel empirical-phenomenological procedures
I scrutinised available film literature to identify whether it needed research on one key topic: How the viewer’s state of fear can be activated through their auditory perception of horror film sound. A rigorous and systematic review of this extensive body of scholarship informed and justified the aim of the study this thesis reports on: To ensure this report’s discussion chapter could upgrade at least some of the probability levels that feature in the literature review’s inferences – and could additionally validate those upgrades – by placing the following aspects into the report: the results of executing two particular empirical-phenomenological procedures; and a clearly outlined methodology. Multiple steps were taken to attain this aim. In procedure 1, I watched three horror film scenes. One scene is from Paranormal Activity 2 (Williams 2010). The others are from The Woman in Black (Watkins 2012). Each scene was followed by me asking myself questions. Procedure 2 entailed the conduction of three focus groups, in which 22 participants ranging in age from 20 to 65 years (M = 37 years) were exposed to the same film scenes. The participants were also asked questions after each exposure. A noteworthy conclusion drawn from the study results is this: There is a lower probability that whenever a person watches any particular horror film scene for the first time, and they hear a loud staccato sound promptly after hearing a period of silence, this can immediately activate their fear-shock; their brief state of fear. The study’s aim was achieved. There are various reasons why this study is significant. Its results inspired this report’s presentation of new knowledge on the topic in hand. This knowledge can be used in many positive ways, such as being utilised by scholars to help justify and shape additional research – and to thereby advance available knowledge. Horror filmmakers can also use this knowledge to improve their chances of making horror films that can scare people.