Feeling for the Final Girl: Empathy and the Spectacle of Suffering in Horror Films

Feeling for the Final Girl: Empathy and the Spectacle of Suffering in Horror Films

How do we distinguish between horror and tragedy? Both feature often graphic depictions of intense human suffering, from gore to rock-bottom misery. Yet, for some reason or another, tragedy elicits our pity while horror elicits our excitement. Our natural, human response to suffering is empathy, but somehow this switch is temporarily turned off as we encounter the horror genre. Perhaps this phenomenon is unexplainable, a mere mystery of human nature; perhaps it is not.

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