“Playing with Monsters: Horror, Emotions, and (Un)real Danger”



    This lecture introduces theoretical concepts about play and playing with danger in fiction, drawing on play theorists such as Brian Sutton-Smith (2001) and Gordon M. Burghardt (2005), and also drawing on sociologist Stephen Lyng and psychologist Michael J. Apter (2007). The aim is to understand what it means for adults to play with things that take us into a realm of fear and danger. Such “things” can be fiction or physical activities. The focus will be on horror films, however, the talk also addresses voluntary dangerous sport activities. Primary examples will be the Australian horror film The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014) and Under the Shadow (Babak Anvari, UK/Qatar/Jordan/Iran, 2016).