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Horror Comedy: Danger at a Distance

Recent decades have seen an interesting rise in two polar opposite subcategories of horror films: horror comedy and so-called “real” horror. Whereas horror comedy “[subtracts] the threatening edge from a monster or [deflects the audience’s] attention from it [so that] it can be reduced to a clownish, comic butt, still incongruous, but now harmless,” these…

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The Horror(s) of Puberty

Although it is often criticized for being overly predictable in regards to plot, the horror genre relies upon these recurring, universally recognizable plotlines in order to establish an empathetic connection with the viewer. The audience recognizes the probable outcomes of each character’s actions and is comforted by this predictability; suspense and apprehension arise out of…

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Born a Monster: Gender Politics in Rosemary’s Baby

The horror genre has, since the days of the Universal monsters, reiterated time and time again the consequences of mankind’s hubris, that is to say the consequences of human attempts at reconfiguring what is generally perceived as normal. Inherent to any horror text is an underlying dichotomy, a binary opposition, that strictly segregates the normal…

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Constructed Realities: “Real” Horror and Narrative Structure

The novelty of “real” horror resides not in violence and sexual depravity—its two most obvious characteristics—but rather in its self-denial. By denying its own fictitiousness, “real” horror forces the viewer to become active in the progression of the film. While a lengthy and graphic montage of corpses being dumped into a quarry would not fit…

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On the Analysis of Slasher Films

Film critics and academics alike have pointed out and condemned the apparent lack of creativity and novelty in the plots of the horror sub-genre known today as the slasher film. The horror genre itself has been pigeonholed into the realm of pop culture rather than that of academia, and slasher films “are considered even less…

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The Monster in All of Us: Postmodern Zombies as Self-Portrait

Although now formalized and embedded into the psyche of the modern horror audience, the zombie, as it is known today, originates with Mary Shelley and her novel Frankenstein (though others make the argument that zombies appeared even earlier in various tribal religions). Between the publication of Shelley’s tale of human intrusion into the realm of…

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My First Experience With the Horror Genre

I’ve always loved horror films. I remember distinctly my first experience with the horror genre. My parents had put me to bed and told me they were going to watch an “adult movie”. I was barely more than ten years old but I had an adolescent hubris, a sense of foolish entitlement that led me…

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