Studies show that horror films have problematic effects on preteens.

Source: www.quotesgram.com

By Adrienne DiMauro


Between May 12 and May 15 of 2016, a devastating event occurred in Indianapolis. Jonathan Cruz, a 19-year old man intentionally killed three males at random, inspired by the film series “The Purge” which was released in 2013. Fox News reported that Cruz sent messages saying he purges every night. In addition, Cruz said another body wouldn’t matter to him. However, Cruz did get caught quicker than most criminals and he is now facing 20 various charges. Another statement came out by Tom Cleary, saying that Cruz was involved in a gang, which can indicate a bad environment at home or growing up with the wrong people. Although Cruz will be jailed for life, this doesn’t provide closure for the families who lost their loved ones. This is a prime example of showing how horror films, specifically “The Purge” change people’s ability to distinguish right from wrong. Cruz is at the end of his teen years, which indicates a need to reexamine how horror films like “The Purge” are affecting the younger generations.


“The Purge” is just one of the many films that can affect teens on many levels. Cruz is just one of the few examples where it became his life story. In general, it is a series of three films that focus on criminal activities. Throughout all three films, each allow criminal activity to become legal for twelve consecutive hours, once a year. This is known as “purging,” specifically referring to a cleansing mechanism, to relinquish anger as well as getting revenge on certain people. However, not everyone in society participates in this annual purge. If they choose not to, these individuals stay inside for twelve hours trying to keep safe. However, since criminal activity is legal, no one is safe regardless if one is inside. To make matters worse, any type of emergency services are not provided during this twelve hour period.


Herb Scribner talks about how violent films affect kids and what they could go through after watching them. He also included several studies and researches that refer to the issue of films affecting our children:

  • One research study from 1999 reports: it found that “scary movies can have a damaging impact on children and teens. The research found that 52 percent of kids had trouble sleeping or eating after watching a horror film or a TV show.”
  • Scribner included a story by AllPsych Online, which was a classroom that focused on the psychology of children and horror films. This story showed “children who view media violence are more likely to have increased feelings of hostility, decreased emotional response to the portrayal of violence and injury that lead to violent behavior through imitation.”
  • The Association for Youth Children and Natural Psychology said “films can improve the language and social skills of a child, but they can also increase their violent and aggressive behavior.”
  • Sasha Emmons of Parenting.com was also added for what she added on CNN, “the piece explained that kids are likely to follow in the footsteps of the heroes they see in the movies, who have been engaging in more violent behavior in recent years.”


Putting all of this evidence that was provided by Scribner together with the Cruz case, we have to ask ourselves: If someone this old in age can commit murders willingly because of this movie, what is happening in the child’s mind while watching the movie? Even worse, what are they thinking? What Sasha Emmons said here is key because children look at characters and want to become them. Well, what happens if that character isn’t a good and moral character?