Paranormal frequencies: TWU graduate investigates spooky sounds in media

Regan Dianne Campbell has always been something of a Renaissance woman. Although her primary passion is reading, she is also an avid cinephile and double-majored in both music and English as an undergraduate. She then decided to expand upon her combined areas of interest while pursuing her master's degree in writing and rhetoric at TWU.

Regan Campbell by the TWU library fountain

“I chose to attend TWU because of the amazing community and supportive environment. I was also drawn to the level of scholarship and collection of brilliant minds in the English department.”

Regan Dianne Campbell (MA '20)

Q: What are some of your favorite horror movies and TV shows? A: My favorite movie would have to be 'Psycho,' but my favorite horror tv show would be 'The Haunting Series' (both 'Hill House' and 'Bly Manor').

Q: What kinds of books inspire you? A: My favorite genres are mystery, horror, adventure and sci-fi. My favorite book is (unironically) 'The Haunting of Hill House' by Shirley Jackson.


Regan Dianne Campbell in her graduation regalia by the TWU library

By merging her passion for music, writing, rhetoric and film, she developed an extremely unique area of research: Sonic rhetoric and the use of sounds and music in horror movies and TV shows.

Her professional paper, titled “Why Do Ghosts Care What We Hear? A Rhetorical Examination of the Use of Sounds in the Visual Horror Pieces,” argues that the sounds presented in “Insidious,” “The Haunting of Hill House,” and “The Conjuring” are intentionally selected by the creatures, ghosts and demons therein as a means of accomplishing their goals of possession. 

When she graduates this December, Regan will be the first in her family to obtain a master's degree, and certainly the first in the TWU community to ask the question, “Why do ghosts care what we hear?”

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Anna Ryan

Page last updated 5:43 PM, December 7, 2020