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Fear and Loathing at the Cineplex : Gender Differences in Descriptions and Perceptions of Slasher Films

by Justin M Nolan, Gery W Ryan
Sex Roles ()
  • ISSN: 03600025


This study investigates gender-specific descriptions and perceptions of slasher films. Sixty Euro-American university students (30 males and 30 females) were asked to recount in a written survey the details of the most memorable slasher film they remember watching and describe the emotional reactions evoked by that film, A text analysis approach was used to examine and interpret informant responses, Males recall a high percentage of descriptive images associated with what is called rural terror, a concept tied to fear of strangers and rural landscapes, whereas females display a greater fear of family terror, which includes themes of betrayed intimacy, stalkings, and spiritual possession. It is found that females report a higher level and a greater number of fear reactions than males, who report move anger and frustration responses. Gender- specific fears as personalized through slasher film recall are discussed with relation to socialization practices and power- control theory.

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