Happiness Meets Horror: Why People Enjoy Being Scared with S.A. Bradley & James Kendrick Ph.D.

Original Air Date Wednesday, Oct 9th, 2019

Whether you love horror films or have avoided them all your life there is no denying that being scared evokes a bit of pleasure. A good horror film can activate the motor function in your brain, making you squirm in your seat. It can cause your hypothalamus to release doses of dopamine into your bloodstream causing you to scream out in fright and then laugh at your fear. The power of the horror genre is fierce. It can even create the perfect dating scenario. To delve deep into the mysteriously dark woods of the mind, Positive Psychology Podcast Host, Lisa Cypers Kamen speaks with two horror genre specialists who share why we find pleasure in the psychotic, uneasy, terrifying, and sometimes comedic world of horror films. Scott Bradley and James Kendrick explain the bliss factor of horror films.



Does something in this conversation resonate with you? Are you in need of a professional speaker who can elevate your tribe & enliven your culture? Lisa Cypers Kamen is an award-winning speaker, author & happiness expert who facilitates life-changing presentations for organizations of any size. The science is clear, happier people thrive in life. If you are ready to inject joy into your organization, find out which program is best for you at Lisa’s Live Events.

S.A. Bradley — A Healthy Walk into the Dark Woods:
  • Why horror resonates with audiences. [1:52]
  • Scott explains the evolution of horror movies. [4:57]
  • Lisa shares her favorite horror movie and Scott asks “What’s your first kiss of horror?” [10:19]
  • Human chemistry: We are wired to enjoy pleasure, pain, and fear. [13:33]
  • Women interpret horror differently and how horror is a reflection of society. [19:37]

S.A. ‘Scott’ Bradley is the host of the popular podcast Hellbent For Horror, exploring all things horror across books, films, comics, and music. Bradley has loved being scared by over 1,600 horror films. He’s turned his passion into purpose, sharing his extensive knowledge on
dozens of podcasts and in anthologies like Medium Chill and EvilSpeak magazine. Prior to becoming a champion of horror, Bradley served in the U.S. Air Force and was a firefighter. He now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and their dog, Fiona.

Book: Screaming for Pleasure: How Horror Makes You Healthy and Happy

Hellbent for Horror Website
@Hellbenthorror on Twitter
Hellbent for Horror on Facebook

James Kendrick — The Joy of Being Scared:
  • James explains the elements that make a good horror movie. [28:17]
  • James discusses his books and the movies he shares in his undergraduate class at Baylor. [34:36]
  • The most enduring horror movie franchises in history. [43:28]
  • The euphoria of watching horror films and why different horror movies resonate with different people. [45:11]

James Kendrick is a professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Film and Digital Media at Baylor University. He earned a Ph.D. in Communication and Culture from Indiana University, Bloomington, and also holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Journalism, both from Baylor University. His primary research interests are post-Classical Hollywood film history, violence in the media, the films of Steven Spielberg, cult and horror films, media censorship and regulation, and cinema and new technologies.


James Kendrick Website
James Kendrick on Facebook

This episode of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio is sponsored by:

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life — A guidebook for learning how to harvest happiness through self-mastery. Happiness waits for no one and sometimes we all need support. What is getting in the way of your happiness right now?

H-Factor: Where is Your Heart? — Lisa’s documentary film that explores the journey of human happiness. Emotions are contagious and happiness is a universally-desired state. We tend to forget we all have the freedom to be happy or the liberty to be miserable each day.