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-mmmm…BOO! Can you see the fear in someone’s eyes? Why is it so evident? So striking? As if you could feel the raw emotions emanating
from them? And yet you are only looking at a small fraction
of a person’s being, but that’s all you need. No other body part or facial features offer
the same type of emotional access. Our eyes inform us of the world around us,
but they also hold a subtle means of communication. That’s why in movies, eyes are the most effective
way of conveying emotion without having to utter a single word. In today’s Elements of Horror, we will be
taking a look at how the horror movie genre uses eyes to instill fear in us. When we are afraid our pupils become dilated
and our eyes change shape, becoming wider. It is believed that we do so to take in more
information from our surroundings so that we can assess if we need to protect ourselves
from any roaming threat. But at the same time, it’s a non-verbal method
of warning people close by. Unlike animals, we have developed our eyes
to not only be a surveying tool, but a manner of social interaction. That’s why one of the unique differences we
possess is the large amount of white space around the iris. This has made it easier to determine the direction
someone is looking at and how they might be reacting to what they’re seeing. Once we see the rising amount of white space
(called sclera) it initiates a fear response in our amygdala signaling we should follow
suit and prepare for danger as well. So, when you are watching a horror movie (or
any other genre) with a character opening their eyes out of terror, this activates our
primal fear responses. That’s why we become tense and unnerved at
the sight of someone else’s reaction, but the peculiar thing is this same effect
can be sparked by simply showing a character with an above average or unnatural amount
sclera without the expression being caused by fear. Instead, it can be caused by someone’s permeating
malicious intent. -The shadow hated the girl so much… for
so long… In this case, the eyes are a steady flow of
anger, hatred and resentment, uninterrupted by tears or our inborn need to blink. It’s abnormal and unwavering just like the
character’s need for vengeance. We sense the endless scenarios of violence
boiling over her frenzied stare. It can also be a way to impose dominance. -Closer… This isn’t about raw emotion but cold, calculated
control. Eyes always watching, always ready, challenged
but never defeated. A predator
[Hissing noise] sizing down it’s prey. Just like the signature Kubrick stare. The head tilted downward, and the eyes locked
onto to you from under the brow. Filled with a demented focus. Offering a glimpse into the characters matching
skewed outlook. The gaze of a cracked mind
[Laughing] but they could also be a window into someone’s
internal struggle. [Cry Laugh]
Or an eventual corruption. Eyes are our insight of who we are so to alter
them would be a sign of our changing nature. But most important, the loss of our identity. This could be a willful decision like what
we see with masked slashers. Where it’s to hide their identity or to obscure
their humanity. They are no longer people but the symbolic
threat of death. It’s also a clear sign of inhumanity. [Alien hiss]
We tend to look for faces, so when we see one without eyes it’s very disquieting. The lack of eyes cuts off any insight into
the creature, so we know mutual understanding is an impossibility. [Scream]
[Alien hiss] Another reason why eyes are so effective in
horror movies is because maintaining eye contact is something we rarely do. Especially when we are looking at someone
in their moments of intense fear or derangement. The best filmmakers know how to place you
front and center as if someone is staring right at you. Generally, we avoid eye contact and we feel
awkward when we accidentally catch someone else’s gaze. As if for a second we’ve intruded upon each
other. But that’s what this is about… intimacy. Eyes are a clear way of penetrating someone’s
personal comfort zone. We feel what we see. So, when we look into someone’s disturbing
eyes, we can’t help but feel affected. We don’t only absorb their raw emotions but
the unpleasant nature of who they are. You see, the emotional weight of the eyes
is meant to invade the characters’ and the audience’ inner being. Thank you for taking the time to watch our
video. We invite you to like share and subscribe
if you haven’t done so yet. The last installment for Elements of Horror
is going to come out next week, make sure to set your notifications so you know what
the next theme is going to be about! Today’s musical composition was made by our
dear friend Eduardo Gonzalez. I you like his work then you can find his
information down in the description. And If you wish to support our channel so
we can keep making videos like this one, please check out our Patreon page. Until next time!

54 thoughts on “Elements of Horror – How Eyes are Used in Horror Movies

  1. Eyes in horror always makes me think of how Junji Ito draw eyes. They're all beautifully rendered but also you can clearly see which character you can trust and those you can't.

  2. "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."

    ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. Fantastic vid. Saw The Shining at watch party (getting ready for Doctor Sleep). We were commenting on Shelley Duvall’s eyes. Stanley Kubrick made her and Jack Nicholson go through 127 takes for the staircase scene. Based on the masterful end product, looks like it more than paid off.

  4. tiny little typo in Jurassic Park
    but overall loved this video. eyes are so mesmerizing and an amazing tool for horror and suspense.
    honestly, Hereditary had me curled up in a corner from how uncomfortable I'd feel at times while watching the movie. especially after Charlie's accident. jesus. scary and very deep stuff

  5. In case you need a suggestion, try music in the progression of plot development.

    https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-sad-movie-music/answer/Donovan-Walls

  6. Loved this, so well-done as always, tho a bit disappointed you didn't feature Pvt. Pyle's Kubrick Stare in "Full Metal Jacket" – pure madness…

  7. Dude
    You are what I was lucking for
    No homo
    I love having this feeling when I watch creepy and horror movies
    You understand those feelings
    Thank you

  8. This is so well edited, nicely written, and your voice is so soothing. You’re so talented. Keep the videos coming. Thank you

  9. Just dropping by to say i opened youtube at 2 in the morning and i was greeted by this video’s thumbnail 🙃 thanks Screened

  10. The iconic image of the eye of the unknown killer from Black Christmas. The thing that creeps me out about it is that it looks like it's seeing something shocking and horrific despite it being the eye of the main antagonist. It almost seems to suggest that there's some other, secret evil lurking around the house.

  11. Video refuses to load, will return.
    I hope you included the hot nurse who sticks a syringe in the eye of a guy in a full body cast from dead and buried.
    That one haunted me for years.
    Your pal
    Scott.

  12. The three names, of the MANY, that comes to mind in regards to how so much could be told through a person's eyes, are: Isabelle Adjani, Elisabeth Moss, and Lina Leandersson. …there's no words for how so much emotions could be conveyed, simply by OBSERVING their eyes. Truly incredible! 😀

  13. As a college student who plans on getting into the film Industry, I find these videos such a helpful boon. Thank you so much for all your content.

    Your analytical insight and interpretation of these movies helps me peer farther beyond what I thought was the surface of a movie, and I am able to glean ever more information and understanding into this visual medium that I wish to be a part of. I hope your channel continues to blow up and others can see and admire the wonderful videos you make

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