New Documentary Mental Health And Horror To Explore The Genre’s Positive Effects

Pinhead, villain of the Hellraiser franchise
Image via New World Pictures

It’s no secret that horror movies have a bad reputation, a perception not helped by mainstream audience’s refusal to take them seriously. Despite often being seen as disturbing pieces of psychological torture that distort their viewer’s perception of reality they often have the opposite effect, a perspective to be explored in Mental Health and Horror.

Featuring a diverse assortment of fans, critics, directors, producers and writers from the horror community, as well as a number of mental health professionals, the documentary will detail the catharsis that can be found in consuming the simulated death and torment within a safe and controlled environment that horror films provide. Watching people defeat literal demons and monsters on screen can help people feel that the ones tormenting their minds can similarly be overcome, especially right now, when fear and isolation are adversely affecting the mental health of so many.

The feature will form the directorial debut of Jonathan Barkan, a former editor of Dread Central and Bloody Disgusting and now operator of distributor The Horror Collective. His vision is to use the film to counter the harmful stereotypes of horror movie fans along with the associated prejudice and stigma, and also hope it can reach people who enjoy the genre’s offerings but have no support system or available mental health resources, and let them know they aren’t alone.

Horror is often badly misunderstood by its detractors, who believe fans of the genre to be at best depraved individuals with sick senses of humor and at worst potential serial killers getting off on depictions of human suffering. In addition to underscoring the positive impact horror can have on is viewers, Mental Health and Horror will also hopefully go some way towards allowing those outwith the genre’s fans to understand the good that it does.