HalloweERM Special: Fear Factor

From the Big Screen to Real Life: Fear Motivates

It’s Halloween season, and through Oct. 31, I will be watching the AMC channel’s “Fearfest,” a 16-day virtual film festival of contemporary and classic scary movies from the “Bride of Frankenstein” to “Village of the Damned.”

I am not sure whether I am enjoying all of the offerings, but as a risk professional, I certainly appreciate the benefits and teachings of horror films. From psychological thrillers to zombie cult classics, scary movies are, in essence, a fun way of modeling risk scenarios. Protagonists face risks of uncertainty and danger, and either fail or succeed to control and overcome those risks. Watching the incredible and painful struggles of others, we may learn how to avoid such tragedies in our own lives. As Stephen King explains it, “We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.”

This doesn’t mean that people should start hoarding silver bullets or carving wooden crosses to fight werewolf and vampire attacks. But fearing an attack of any kind may get viewers thinking about corralling resources and improving safety through more realistic measures. Personally, one could take self-defense classes. Businesses may tighten security or improve disaster planning efforts.

From Fantasy to Reality

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