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  • How do filmmakers keep us on the edge of our seats?
  • How do filmmakers keep us on the edge of our seats?
    Eric Vondy, Creative Commons (2010) ©

Trick or treat? The science of suspense

Scaring people is big business, with horrors making up all of the ten most profitable films from the last five years. But what creates those heart-in-mouth moments? Keith Bound, who studies the psychophysiological responses to suspense, explains to Canvas8 what gets us on the edge of our seats.

Location Global

Scaring people is big business; the ten most profitable movies from the last five years are all horrors, while McKamey Manor – billed as one of the most extreme haunted houses in the US, with an experience akin to “living a horror movie” – has a waiting list of over 17,000 people.

For thrill-seekers and horror fans, there’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of a fright-inducing, heart-in-mouth movie scene, with interminable suspense keeping an audience’s eyes glued to a screen. And with suspense an effective way of engrossing people in a story, it offers impactful insights into how ...



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