Horror is one of the themes that have featured on the screen in most films in the recent past. These are movies or videos that have focused on creating horror feelings in its viewers. These movies have focused on death, horrific images, and the supernatural world. Therefore, the intended audience is meant to be scared because of the terrifying images. There are various mediums that have been employed in transmitting these films or movies to the intended audience. These include the television, cinemas and theatres. The most profound medium that has been found among these to possess the capability of reaching the maximum number of viewers is the television. However, despite the television as a medium possessing this capability, it is too domesticated and familiar to be an effective channel for horror.
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The purpose of creating any movie or film is not only to sell it but to ensure that it is able to reach a wide audience as possible which guarantees that the actor will be able to receive good amount of money from the sales of this movie or film. Therefore, actors and movie directors will search for different ways of reaching their customers easily and using technological pieces that are easily available. However, the creators of horror movies have found the television unsuitable for their products in as much as it is able to reach majority of people in the comfort of their home. There are different approaches that can be cited as the main reason why, despite being the media medium that has the capability of reaching millions easily, it is not widely exploited by the horror movie producers and marketers.
To begin with, there is less concentration on horror movie when it is televised to its viewers, a factor that has been found to reduce the intended purpose of creating horrific and terrifying feelings in its viewers(1). Hills continue to argue that the main aim of a horror movie is to draw out the feeling of the viewer and make them vulnerable to the moving images of the movie. This requires critical concentration that cannot be elicited in any other form of movies and films that are currently available on the market. However, the television has been found to be one of the common media mediums among the audience and this act of being familiar tends to erode away the sweetness that is created when watching a horror movie on it as it is incapable of creating a strain on emotions and feelings of the viewers. This is as a result of lack of concentration by the television viewers.
The fans of horror movies have also been found to appreciate the essence of privacy while watching the horror movie to articulate concentration in their field of entertainment. As a result, most of find secluded place where they can be provided with a humble time that is not interrupted by anything. Yet, in most cases the television has been perceived as family tool that is used by everybody in the home thus failing to secure horror fans a lone time on the screen. On the other hand, the interruptions that are created both by the family members and the commercial breaks that occur on the televisions movie programs cannot support the focus of attention that is needed. Instead, they are a form of nuisance that is not conducive for watching the movie. This is as a result of the uncalled for interference with instincts that are very high when watching horror movies. In this regard, the television fails to become a favorable medium of transmission of horror movies.
The practices of the television have also been found as the major hindrance to television horror. These practices requires that while the television can be used as a source of sharing critical information and entertainment, it wide variety of consumers or rather viewers require that it is masked by different laws, rules and regulation to guarantee that the moral attitude of some of its viewers will not be offended. As a result, there are restrictions that have been laid down to sieve the content of television programs and movies that are shown to the public. There are various reasons that have led to the creation of such forms of restrictions, especially towards horror movies(2).
First, it is important to understand while restrictions against horror movies are necessary on television as a media medium. This can only be done by examining the effects of horror movies on the general public. According to an article by Kendrick that was posted on Family Education website, horror movies have an effect on children's development when they are exposed to it(3). This is specifically so when children as young as five years are exposed to horrific and terrifying scenes in the horror movies since these children are unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality, the real world and entertainment. Similarly, the unknown world has also been found to create fears in children thus exposing them to horror movies can continually built up this fear, thus creating a human being that is mainly controlled by fear.
In the same way, horror movies have also been found to have tremendous effects on adolescents and young adults. While most of them capitalize on violence and other mediums of scaring people, these forms of scaring people are able to take root in the mind of a person, leading to an obsession with these movies, a factor that if it is not controlled would result in horror fans behaving in weird ways. These may later on develop into a character anomaly that fosters wicked behaviors in the society such as psychopath.
Maslin (1985) of the New York Times while reviewing a horror movie by the title 'Silent Madness' reveals that horror movies are full with scenes such as those of psychopathic people who kill others in a merciless way as they have no empathy(4). Psychologists argue that people nearly every person in the world has a hero, somebody who serves as a role model (5). These people are not necessarily people that are personally known to a person. Therefore, horror fans can easily pick a horror character as their hero because of the ability of the actor to accomplish certain cruel acts without blinking an eye. Yet, the most challenging part comes in when these fans begin behaving like the horror characters they have been watching in the movies.
Therefore, the media industry has formulated different ways of helping the society to control certain behavior that are dangerous to people in the community. As a result, they have a controlled mechanism that censors the content that is shown on public television. The government also has been found to issue out licenses based on the content that the television channel wants to show to the public. Therefore, showing movies that are offensive to the public can contribute o a particular television station loosing its license. As has been argued out by Hills (2005), the standards that have been laid down by the media industry cannot in any way allow horror movies to thrive on the television screens(6).
The scheduling of different entertainment programs has also been another challenge that has greatly hindered horror movies from thriving on the television. While the television may be owned by private investors, the target audience is usually the public. Therefore, for it to continue gaining popularity, an effect that earns it a lot of money because of the advertisements it does of different products and services to consumers, it relies heavily on presenting programs that are acceptable to different kinds of audience. Therefore, it has to mind the tastes and preferences of millions of fans through harmonizing different programs for different kinds of audiences without chasing some of them away because of failure to give them their tastes.
As a result, in most cases the programs that are presented on the television do not take a lot of time, with a majority of them taking between thirty minutes to one hour. A horror movie would take at least one and half an hour before coming to an end. Such limited time and the large number of programs that have to be presented eliminates the probability of some programs being presented to the audience especially movies under which horror movies fall. Similarly, allocation of time to programs has also been a challenge to television operator. Therefore, kids programs will take the center stage during the day, family programs in the evening and movies such as horror movies very late at night. In this case, most fans of horror are usually asleep and some are scared to watch horror at that time of the night due to fear and terror that it induces in a person.
On the other hand, the realization that most parents in the recent times spend most of their time away from their children on work has forced government and media agencies to set up measures that can control the content of the television programs that are watched by children. It is important to understand that the role that would have been played by parents is shifting slightly each and every day to the house helps as parent spend their time working to earn an extra income. These house helps in most cases cannot offer moral guidance to children and therefore this requires restrictions from the authorities that eliminate by a certain percentage the probability of horror movies or programs being watched, especially during the day when people are still fresh and can be able to concentrate and follow the story in a movie(7).
The preferences of television consumers too can be a factor that affects the popularity of horror movies among viewers. This is as a result of competing programs that have been found to challenge the existence of other programs especially movies. There are two reasons for these challenges. To begin with, the television managers have a difficult choice to make on what programs to air or not air. This is because the program market has a lot of programs that are so captivating to viewers and the opportunities in terms of adverts revenues that these programs create cannot be foregone for the sake of showing horror movies. On the other hand, the choice of consumers too have been found to focus on programs with short time that begins and ends early as a result of the busy schedules that they have. Therefore, there is no enough time for most people who would like to watch horror on the television since they have been caught up in their busy schedule as they work to gain an extra cent in their pockets. This affects not only the popularity of the movies but also on the number of people who watch them.
Every genre of movies in the modern movie world has its own kind of fans. These fans have to watch these kinds of movies either in a theatre, a cinema near them or on television. Among these mediums of transmission of movies, the television remains as one of the most profound medium due to its ability to cover a wide area network. However, there are various factors that have contributed to it being ineffective in giving horror audience that chance to watch them on television. These challenges are stem from both sides of the coin, i.e. the overall setup of the television and that of the movie itself. The television has a lot of limitations in terms of the restriction that has been imposed on the materials that it is supposed to transmit to the audience. Such restrictions hinder showing of horror movies on televisions. On the other hand, the horror and terrifying scenes in these types of movies has been found to hinder them from having an opportunity to be aired on television because of their effects on people and especially children. This is not to mentioned the fact that the television is an all round media channel that is mandated with providing an all round viewing whereby people are entertained, informed and taught about their surroundings rather than being a horrifying media only.
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