Are jump scares a hack cliché?

Studio 360
Janet Leigh from Psycho

If you recently watched a horror movie, you’ve probably encountered a jump scare.

That’s when a movie startles the audience with the unexpected: The maniac jumping down from the tree! The zombie appearing in the bathroom mirror! All accompanied, of course, by loud noise.

Is it a cheap technique or can it be used effectively? Video essayist Jack Nugent and Slashfilm contributor Alex Riviello retrace the origin of the modern jump scare to a single scene in a 1942 movie.

Sociologist Margee Kerr, author of “Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear,” reveals how the brain reacts to scary movies — and why “It” could trigger a dose of chemicals that’s a lot like THC. 


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