• Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror fiction• It relies on characters fears and emotional instability to build tension.• Psychological horror aims to create discomfort by exposing psychological vulnerabilities and fears, such as the shadowy parts of the human psyche which most people repress or deny.• Psychological horror relies on the unknown, mystery and signs to create an ominous feeling, lots of different events building up the whole picture• sound effects and music add to the tension
The Black Cat (1934)• American honeymooners in Hungary are trapped in the home of a Satan- worshiping priest when the bride is taken there for medical help following a road accident.• This and “Cat People” are considered the first few psychological horror films• The main couple meet a twisted psychiatrist on the train• There are hallucinogens involved• The priest displays womens dead bodies in glass cases, a very dark and twisted concept that questions the priests mental state straight away• This film builds up to a climax, with lots of other spooky events coming together to create the storyline
Cat People (1942)• An American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homelands fables if they are intimate together.• This film includes the element of mystery as one character is stalked by an animal shown only by its shadow• The film builds up slowly, lots of different events contributing to the climax, for instance old spooky stories, a hissing cat, blood footsteps etc.• The main protagonist is terrified of herself and what she could do, a psychological fear of her own abilities. She doubts reality and doesn’t know if things that happened are real or not.• The main character has a psychiatrist
Roman PolanskiRoman Polanski directed two films which are considered essentialpsychological horror examples • The films themes, situations, visual motifs, and effects clearly reflect the influence of early surrealist cinema as well as horror movies of the 1950s • Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and lack of meaning These works where • Repulsion • Rosemarys baby
Repulsion (1965)• Left alone when her sister goes on vacation, a young beauty finds herself besieged on all sides by the demons of her past.• This film contains more violence than the previous two due to its more modern style, containing two bloody murders by the main character while she is in an uncontrollable daze• The main character, Carol, begins to become deranged and dangerous, she leaves a raw, skinned rabbit out to rot, and begins to hallucinate, first seeing the walls cracking, a man breaking in and molesting her, then hands reaching out to grab and attack her. This is a clear sign of a psychological horror as the character deteriorates mentally• There are Carol has a creepy appearance, her eyes large and possessed looking showing a complete loss of sanity
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)• A young couple move into a new apartment, only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbours and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins controlling her life.• The house the couple move to is warned to have disturbing history involving witchcraft and murder, just one mysterious and spooky event leading up to the climax• The main character investigates and confirms that her neighbours are the leaders of a Satanic coven, and she suspects they are after her child to use it as a sacrifice to the Devil. Nobody believes the main protagonist making it seem she is crazy and paranoid leaving the audience feeling as helpless as the character, building tension• There is suicide and drugging involved• There are strange dreams in which the main character is raped by a demonic presence. When she wakes, she finds scratches on her body• There are strong satanic references throughout, the main character finally giving birth to Satans son leaving a scene of her nursing him at the very end
The Shining (1980)• This is one of the more famous of the psychological horror sub-genre examples• It was produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick and was based on the novel by Diane Johnson• Starring famous actors and actresses like Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duval, Scatman Crothers and Danny Lloyd• This horror had a budget $19,000,000 and was produced by Warner Bros. Pictures• Film director Martin Scorsese ranked it as one of the 11 scariest horror movies of all time• The plot consists of a family as they head to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.
Stanley Kubrickconsidered by moviesfilmsmotionpictures.com as Kubricks top 10 movies of his career 1. The Shining 2. Space Odyssey 3. Full Metal Jacket 4. The Clockwork Orange 5. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 6. Spartacus 7. Barry Lyndon 8. Paths Of Glory 9. Eyes Wide Shut 10. The Killing
• When family move to hotel and Jack is offered job, Manager Stuart Ullman warns him that a previous caretaker developed cabin fever and killed his family and himself (sets up storyline for horror, forewarnings of whats to come)• Jacks son, Danny, has ESP and has had a terrifying premonition about the hotel (again a character who is not believed when they are speaking the truth building tension, especially as it is a young boy)• All the characters have strange and disturbing dreams and visions, sometimes they wake up with visible harm (subplots that add to the main storyline and add confusion and tension)• Ghosts and premonitions show themselves to the characters, building the storyline• Jack begins to start acting strange, violent outbursts and threats (psychologically he is beginning to not be himself, something else taking over)• In the ending of the film, Jack has Danny and his mother trapped in the hotel as he goes on a deranged killing rampage (the fact a father pursues his wife and child as a deranged murderer is unbelievably disturbing and expresses the dark and sinister part of the human psyche that this genre explores)
psychological haunting story-The Changeling (1980)This movie has a very similar genre tothat shown previous however this is apsychological haunting, slightly differenthowever sharing many of the sameattributes
Angel Heart (1987)• Considered second best Psychological Horror film of all time by IMDb• This film holds many of the attributes of a psychological horror 1. Murder 2. Voodoo/spirits 3. Satan 4. Horrifying dreams• The twist in this movie is that as the detective gets closer to realising who the murderer is, he finally realises it is himself, a shocking and disturbing end that makes this most definitely a psychological horror.
Session 9 (2001)• Considered number 1 on IMDb’s “Top 10 Psychological Horror films”• Directed, produced and written by Brad Anderson• Starring David Caruso, Stephen Gevedon and Paul Guilfoyle• This Horror had a tiny budget of $1,500,000and was produced by USA Films, Scout Productions• The plot is as Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.“ I dare a film to ever top this one! Absolutely the best! Subtle, realistic, creepy,well-acted and directed. Ive seen it perhaps a hundred or so times and it stillputs me on edge and I still cry at the end. ” - rivethead808
Ben AndersonExamples of some of his work • Transsiberian • Masters of Horror (TV series) • Session 9 • Happy Accidents • Next Stop Wonderland • The Darien Gap
• Some of the characters already suffer from various strains and stress before the psychological tension begins, Gordon, the main character is having family issues as he previously slapped his wife, Mike is a law school drop out, Phil smokes marijuana and is bitter from losing girlfriend and Jeff suffers from severe nyctophobia (strains in characters makes them vulnerable in dangerous situations concerning possession)• Tapes are found detailing interviews with a patient named Simon, some are spooky and an unspoken about incident is brought to the surface (again builds the storyline and adds a very dark and spooky feeling to the plot, the characters beginning to become worried)• One by one the team begin to disappear, all murdered or lost in the massive asylum (mystery and suspense, the story quickens as the action increases)• On the last tape, it is found that the voice in the interview is actually a deranged murderer who killed all of their family. In a flashback, Gordon realises he didn’t just slap his wife, he in fact murdered her and his daughter under the influence of Simon (this is again shows the darkness of what can become of a family man like in the Shining as it expresses the dark and sinister part of the human psyche that this genre explores)• The last line of the tape is "And where do you live, Simon?" the man replies, "I live in the weak and the wounded, Doc”