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Horror Movie Psychological Analysis

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Vivian Chen

on 17 February 2016

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Transcript of Horror Movie Psychological Analysis

Horror Movie Psychological Analysis
Nightmare on Elm Street
- DSM-IV-TR Analysis of Freddy Krueger:
Axis I- Sexual disorder - Pedophilia
Axis II-Personality Disorder - Antisocial personality disorder
Axis III- No general medical condition associated
Axis IV- N/A
Axis V - 1-10 - Persistent danger of severely hurting self or others, reoccurring violence
- Psychoanalysis: Latency stage- dormant sexual feelings
- Disorders: PTSD, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Pedophilia
- Therapy: The teens need family therapy to reconnect with their parents to understand Freddy Krueger. They also might need client-centered therapy and active listening to help them facilitate their growth.
- He displaces his anger (taking it out on the kids rather than the parents who burned him)
- Repression of memories - does not exist but in this movie, we see the children repress their memories of molestation by Freddy Krueger

For our Psychology project, we decided to analyze different horror movies and uncover the psychological aspects of each movie. The movies we analyzed include Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, Saw and Psycho.
In Scream, Sidney Prescott is the protagonist who finds herself amidst a series of strange murders occurring in her small town. While the murders become more controversial, the climax builds as Sidney and her friends are stalked and assaulted at a party. As the film comes to a conclusion, it is revealed that her boyfriend, Billy, and his best friend Stu were the killers, motivated by Billy's hate for Sidney's mother and both Stu and Billy's passion for horror films. Sidney manages to kill both Stu and Billy and frees her father before they could exact their hateful revenge.

DSM-IV-TR Analysis of Billy and Stu
- Axis I- Anxiety Disorder- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Axis II- Mental retardation (Stu) and Antisocial Personality Disorder (Billy and Stu)
- Axis III- N/A
- Axis IV- Problems with primary support group (Billy), mother left him after his father's affair with Sidney's mother
- Axis V- 1-10- Persistent danger of severely hurting self or others, reoccurring violence
Psychoanalysis: parent abandonment, deviant behavior, displacement- Billy and Stu displace their anger on others because of Billy's mother's abandonment
Disorders: Antisocial Personality Disorder, Obssessive Compulsive Disorder
- Therapy: Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Stu conforms to Billy's desires, wishes for social acceptance from Billy (Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs)
- Stu- low IQ, alcoholic abuse (substance abuse), affects decision making

By: Kelly Wong and Vivian Chen
In Nightmare, a series of unrelated supposed suicides committed by teens begin to form a pattern that protagonists Nancy and Quentin must solve before they become victims themselves. Throughout the movie, friends are savagely murdered in their sleep by a burned man in their dreams. Nancy and Quentin discover that all the teens murdered were kids in a preschool who were sexually assaulted by a gardener, Freddy Krueger. Krueger was burned alive by the parents and now seeks revenge on the children who revealed his pedophilia.
Outline of Analysis
DSM-IV-TR Analysis
Additional Psychological Notes

In Saw, Photographer Adam and Doctor Lawrence find themselves chained in an abandoned bathroom. After fumbling around in the bathroom, the two come across clues about their identities and what they have to do to survive this "game". As the the men try to uncover more about their situation, it is revealed that Lawrence's family is being held captive by a mystery man. The two believe that serial killer nicknamed "Jigsaw", famous for his sadistic games to teach morals, is behind all of this. As the story progresses, Detective Tapp, an obsessive ex-cop, finds the mystery man and kills him, believing him to be Jigsaw. However, this man is Zep, another victim of Jigsaw's master plan. In a panic to find his family, Lawrence escapes by sawing his foot off. It is revealed that the corpse in the bathroom was actually Jigsaw and the movie ends with Adam being locked in the bathroom to die.
DSM-IV-TR Analysis of Jigsaw:
- Axis I- Anxiety Disorder- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Axis II- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Axis III- Medical Condition associated - Tumor growing on the frontal lobe of Jigsaw's brain, affects reasoning and logical decision-making
- Axis IV- Psychosocial Factors - Jigsaw's wife had a miscarriage and Jigsaw learned of his medical condition soon after
- Axis V- 1-10- Persistent danger of severely hurting self or others, reoccurring violence
Psychoanalysis: wife's miscarriage and loss of child caused anger and resentment towards society, displacement- Jigsaw seeks to "correct" society by teaching lessons people he considers to be immoral
Disorders: Antisocial Personality Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Therapy: Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Biopsychosocial Approach
- Narcissist, Misanthrope

In Psycho, a young girl, Marion, is seen to be in a relationship with Sam, a man who is largely indebted to his ex-wife. Marion decides to steal $40,000 when a client comes to buy a house for his daughter at the bank she works at. Marion hastily drives out of town and is stopped by a policeman who eventually lets her go. Marion then switches her car and continues on her way when it starts to rain; she stops at Bates Motel where she decides to stay for the night. Norman Bates, the young proprietor of the motel, becomes offended when Marion suggests his mentally ill mother be institutionalized. Later, Marion is murdered in the shower by a shadowy figure. Marion's sister and boyfriend become worried when there is no sign of her, even after a detective was hired by her boss. They decide to go to Bates Motel and investigate the situation themselves. Lila, Marion's sister, and Sam find that Norman was acting as his mother all along because of split personality disorder, due to his mother's dominance throughout his life. Norman revealed that he had killed both Marion and the detective; however, Norman truly believes he is his mother. The movie ends with Marion's car being recovered from the swamp near Bates Motel.
DSM-IV-TR Analysis of Norman Bates:
- Axis I- Dissociative Disorder- Dissociative Identity Disorder, Anxiety Disorder- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Axis II- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Axis III- N/A
- Axis IV- Psychosocial Factors - Mother issues, Norman Bates was subdued by his mother's clingy and dominant personality throughout his life. When his mother found a lover, Norman felt that he had been replaced and could not cope with rejection.
- Axis V- 1-10- Persistent danger of severely hurting self or others, reoccurring violence
Psychoanalysis: Norman's mother had a dominant and demanding personality that Norman was domesticated under, Norman's mother found a lover and Norman felt rejected and killed both his mother and her lover out of jealousy. To cope with the stress and anxiety of this crime, Norman pretended to be his mother to erase the murder from his mind. Occasionally, Norman's mother's personality completely overshadowed his and thus Norman became his mother.
Disorders: Antisocial Personality Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Therapy: Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Norman may also be stuck in the latency stage in the psychosexual development according to Freud because of unfulfilled sexual desires.
- Oedipus complex

In conclusion, psychology is a main component in many movies, especially those of the horror genre. "Movies don't create psychopaths, they make them more creative" - Scream
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