5 votes The paradox of suspense Posted October 11 by mrbig Tags: philosophy, suspense, paradoxes, long read https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/paradox-suspense/ Link information This data is scraped automatically and may be incorrect. Word count 3913 words 3 comments Collapse replies Expand all Comments sorted by most votes newest first order posted relevance OK  mrbig (OP) October 11 Link The ultimate success of Hollywood blockbusters is dependent upon repeat viewings. Fans return to theaters to see films multiple times and buy DVDs so they can watch movies yet again. Although it is something of a received dogma in philosophy and psychology that suspense requires uncertainty, many of the biggest box office successes are action movies that fans claim to find suspenseful on repeated viewings. The conflict between the theory of suspense and the accounts of viewers generates a problem known as the paradox of suspense, which we can boil down to a simple question: If suspense requires uncertainty, how can a viewer who knows the outcome still feel suspense? 1 vote  ohyran October 12 Link Parent Isn't that based on the fact that we are not watching a story of actions but of scenes and secondary scenarios, translating them in to our own world and existence? So the scary clown isn't scary... Isn't that based on the fact that we are not watching a story of actions but of scenes and secondary scenarios, translating them in to our own world and existence? So the scary clown isn't scary because we worry it wont be beaten in the end, but because it would be scary to be there seeing the clown? Plus doesn't the same exist for the fourth wall? I mean I know that the resurrected dead aren't real, its underpaid actors who had to go up at dawn to get makeup, trying to figure out how to eat from the craft table without messing it up. The story isn't real or relevant - at the same time I'm scared. Yesterday me and husband dude watched the remake of Pet Semetary and the whole movie I was furious that no one, not a single soul from the county set up speed bumps on the road outside their house. Seriously I was angry at the idiots who kept complaining that the oil trucks kept speeding, but never ever did anything! Even after a kid was run over! Two good speed bumps, and a speeding camera and aaaaall this would have been avoided years ago! I mean that was what got my blood going - and at the same time I understand its a fictitious place. Much like I know the end of the movie and still worry. Hell the movie begins with a shot of how it ends. 3 votes mrbig (OP) October 12 (edited October 12) Link Parent Yes of course you can make similar arguments about many kinds of fiction, but the paradox is stronger, clearer and more evident in the case of suspense. Anglophone philosophers love things that... Yes of course you can make similar arguments about many kinds of fiction, but the paradox is stronger, clearer and more evident in the case of suspense. Anglophone philosophers love things that are clear, strong and evident. Noel Carrol also writes about the philosophy of horror. According to him, horror basically works by creating a monster or a threat that is so fascinating that we cannot help but look at them, despite being utterly terrified. Think Pennywise. That’s why the characters go toward the danger instead of just fleeing: they’re mesmerized by the very thing that they fear.