Horror Films and Grief

Becky Millar, Jonny Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many of the most popular and critically acclaimed horror films feature grief as a central theme. This article argues that horror films are especially suited to portraying and communicating the phenomenology of grief. We explore two overlapping claims. First, horror is well suited to represent the experience of grief, in particular because the disruptive effects of horror “monsters” on protagonists mirror the core experience of disruption that accompanies bereavement. Second, horror offers ways in which the experience of grief can be contained and regulated and, in doing so, may offer psychological benefits for the bereaved. While our focus will be squarely on film, much of what we say applies to other media.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171–182
Number of pages12
JournalEmotion Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2021

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© The Author(s) 2021

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