Monsters on the Couch: The Real Psychological Disorders Behind Your Favorite Horror Movies
Horror movies can reveal much more than we realize about psychological disorders—and clinical psychology has a lot to teach us about horror.
Our fears—mortality, failure, loneliness—can be just as motivating as our wishes or desires. Horror movie characters uniquely reveal all of these to a wide audience. If explored in an honest and serious manner, our fears have the potential to teach us a great deal about ourselves, our culture, and certainly other people.
From psychologist, researcher, and horror film enthusiast Brian A. Sharpless comes Monsters on the Couch, an exploration into the real-life psychological disorders behind famous horror movies. Accounts of clinical syndromes every bit as dramatic as those on the silver screen are juxtaposed with fascinating forays into the science and folklore behind our favorite movie monsters.
Horror fans may be obsessed with vampires, werewolves, zombies, and the human replacements from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but even many medical professions may not know about the corresponding conditions of Renfield's syndrome, clinical lycanthropy, Cotard's syndrome, and the misidentification delusions.
Some of these disorders are surprisingly common in the general population. For instance, a number of people experience isolated sleep paralysis, a disorder implicated in ghost and alien abduction beliefs.
As these tales unfold, readers not only learn state-of-the-art psychological science but also gain a better understanding of history, folklore, and how Hollywood often—but not always—gets it wrong when tackling these complex topics.