American "horror": magic of movie-genre attraction
МИНИСТЕРСТВО ОБРАЗОВАНИЯ РОССИЙСКОЙ ФЕДЕРАЦИИ
РОССИЙСКИЙ ГОСУДАРСТВЕННЫЙ СОЦИАЛЬНЫЙ УНИВЕРСИТЕТ
Факультет иностранных языков
Кафедра английской филологии
MAGIC OF MOVIE-GENRE ATTRACTION»
по дисциплине «История и культура стран изучаемых языков»
Специальность: перевод и переводоведение
студентка 3 курса группы ЛПЕ-0-Д-2010
Давиденко Нина Артемовна
к. культурологии доцент
Левашкина Ольга Юрьевна
CHAPTER I. HORROR AS GENRE OF CINEMATOGRAPHY……… ... 6
1.1. Major genre types of cinematography…………………………………6
1.2. Horror films sub-genres…………..………………………………… ...9
1.3. Horror genre origins …………………………………………………..11
CHAPTER II. HORROR MOVIES INDUSTRY
IN AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHY : YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW…………………………………………………………………15
2.1. Horror movies of the 1950s-1960s…………………………………..,15
2.2. Horror movies of the 1870s-1990s …………………………………..18
2.3. Contemporary horror movies………………………………………....29
CHAPTER III. PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL ASPECTS
OF AMERICAN HORROR MOVIES………………….………….………...38
3.1. Extreme entertainment as cause of cinema addiction………………..38
3.2. Paradox of "horror": nature of genre attraction……………………...40
The relevance of the research. The humankind has always been seeking after bridling its fears and one of the forms of this aspiration’s realization was narrating of the horror in art. Mass culture exploits this requirement of human mind and provides a variety of products to satisfy a viewer’s demand for the terror. Due to the non-stop development of cinematography, horror films have become as wide-spread as action films, melodramas or comedies. Nowadays anyone can hardly enter a local cinema without being observed by a monstrous creature or an evil enigmatic child from a movie poster. The beginning of cinema world’s «horror conquest» in the early 70s with a deafening success of «The Exorcist» was followed by an avalanche of the widely diverse representatives of the horror genre, and now horror industry has reached its production’s highlight, and sometimes it may seem that we are engaged in the never-ending celebration of Halloween. For over a couple of decades, perhaps especially in the USA, horror has flourished as one of the main sources of mass entertainment: people and especially young people head to the cinema allured by the calling of experiencing a brand new horror movie. It goes without saying that anyone of horror film enthusiasts at least once speculated about the attraction that lies beneath the horrific images, screams, sinister locations or deaths on the screen. Without any doubt, there’s a fascination in the process of speculation about the most powerful emotion that is intrinsical for every human on the Earth — fear, and the basis of our inclination to willingly expose ourselves to it.
The object of the research is American horror movies.
The subject of the research is psychological and philosophical aspects of the horror genre.
The aim of the research is to clarify the psychological and philosophical aspects in the horror genre.
The novelty of the research. We have distinguished the relaxed type of entertainment and the extreme type of entertainment among the genres of cinematography. We have described the influence of the horror genre on the viewer’s mood and state.
We have set the following tasks:
- to define the major genre types of cinematography;
- to itemize and characterize the sub-genres of horror;
- to trace the origins of horror genre;
- to observe American horror movies of the 1950-1960s;
- to observe American horror movies of the 1970-1990s;
- to observe contemporary American horror movies;
- to consider American horror movies as extreme kind of entertainment;
- to describe philosophical and psychological components of horror genre;
The hypothesis of the research
1. The horror genre of cinematography is an enormous complex of films united by the prevalence of the dark and suppressing visuals, the photography that is amplifying the visuals’ effect, a plot including the sequence of demises or unfortunate events, the elaborate system of images designed to cause anxiety and dread, the abundance of suspenseful moments keeping the viewer in tension and an emphasis on the feeling of disgust.
2. The 1950s horror industry was influenced by the fear before the nuclear war, a danger of which was overhanging then.
In the 1960s the theme of animals’ frenzy was developed thanks to Hitchcock’s classic movie named «The Birds», which inspired such films as «Frogs», «Night of the Lepus» and «The Deadly Bees».
The 1970s were clearly the age of sinister children due to the ongoing sky-high status of such movies as «Carrie», «The Exorcist» and «Omen».
As for the 1980s, the most popular sub-genre was body horror, presented by such films as «The Thing», «Re-Animator» and «The Fly».
The 1990s were marked with the comeback of serial killers, for example, the serial murders’ theme was included in «Misery», «The Silence of the Lambs», «Candyman» and «Sleepy Hollow».
Contemporary horror movies are mainly centered on the destruction of human body and the frailness of our existence, for instance «The Final Destination» or «Saw» and the ghost theme in such movies and serial films as «The Others», «1408», «Insidious», «Supernatural», «American Horror Story» and many others.
3. The basic elements in the emotion of horror is repulsion or abomination that always fail to break the addiction to the horror movies. The pleasure derived from the horror fiction and the source of our interest in it resides in the processes of discovery, proof, and confirmation that horror fictions often employ, the twisted appeal of the horrific beings and the wishes they represent. People are attracted to horror genre because they aspire to feel sympathy towards the main character undergoing a horrific ordeal and extract an exquisite pleasure from this experience. Watching horror movies is like getting acquainted with eerily magnetic death, only in safe and carefree way while facing artificial but elaborated tragedy.
The results of this research may serve as the useful material for people interested both in horror literature and horror films and seeking for more information about the basis of their philosophy. Besides they can be used in the studies of American culture or sociology.
The structure of the research. The paper consists of introduction, three chapters, conclusion and bibliography. The volume of this research paper is 53 pages.
CHAPTER I. HORROR AS GENRE OF CINEMATOGRAPHY
1.1. Major genre types of cinematography
Before we proceed to the main theme of our research work, we’d like to give a definition to the word «cinematography», clarify what the genre is and denote the classification of genres.
Cinematography is art and technology of motion-picture photography. It involves the composition of a scene, lighting of the set and actors, choice of cameras, camera angle, and integration of special effects to achieve the photographic images desired by the director. Cinematography focuses on relations between the individual shots and groups of shots that make up a scene to produce a film's effect .
Genres are various forms or identifiable types, categories, classifications or groups of films that are recurring and have similar, familiar or instantly-recognizable patterns, syntax, filmic techniques or conventions - that include one or more of the following: settings (and props), content and subject matter, themes, mood, period, plot, central narrative events, motifs, styles, structures, situations, recurring icons (e.g., six-guns and ten-gallon hats in Westerns), stock characters (or characterizations), and stars. Many films are considered hybrids - they straddle several film genres .
There are ten major genre types of films in cinematography. They are: 1) action films, 2) adventure films, 3) comedy films, 4) crime and gangster films, 5) drama films, 6) epics-historical films, 7) musicals, 8) westerns, 9) science fiction films, 10) horror films.
1) Action Films. This major genre type that unites films that have an immense impact, enduring explosive energy, plenty of activity, absorbing battles, continuous chase scenes, races, martial arts, dramatic demises, mountains and mountaineering, devastating calamities or looming apocalypse, deafening blasts, fires, mortal fights, escapes, never-ending motion, overwhelming rhythm and pacing, courageous heroes and their damsels in distress - all designed for a genuine audience getaway from the burdening reality.
2) Adventure Films are exciting stories, frequently with new experiences or exotic locales. Adventure films are very similar to the action film genre, in that they are designed to provide an action-filled, energetic experience for the film viewer. Rather than the predominant emphasis on violence and fighting that is found in action films, however, the viewer of adventure films can live vicariously through the travels, conquests, explorations, creation of empires, struggles and situations that confront the main characters, actual historical figures or protagonists.
3) Comedy Films are films designed to elicit laughter from the audience. Comedies are dramas presented in a light-hearted andjolly way, crafted to entertain and deliver enjoyment. «The comedy genre humorously exaggerates the situation, the language, action, and characters. Comedies observe the deficiencies, foibles, and frustrations of life, providing merriment and a momentary escape from day-to-day life» . They usually have happy endings, although the humor may have a serious or pessimistic side.
4) Crime and Gangster Films are developed around the sinister actions of criminals or gangsters, particularly bankrobbers, gangland figures, clandestine industries’ members or ruthless goons who operate outside the law, stealing and violently murdering to reach their perverted aim. Criminal and gangster films are often categorized as post-war film noir or detective-mystery films - because of underlying similarities between these cinematic forms.
5) Drama Films are grave presentations or stories with settings or life situations that portray realistic characters in emotional struggle with either themselves, others, or forces of nature. A dramatic film shows us human beings at their essence, their virtuous and their vices. «Each of the types of subject-matter themes have various kinds of dramatic plots. Dramatic films are probably the largest film genre because they include a broad spectrum of films» .
6) Epics-Historical Films often take a historical or imagined event, mythic, legendary, or heroic figure, and add an extravagant setting and imposing costumes, accompanied by splendor andspectacle and a sweeping musical score. Epics, costume dramas, historical dramas, war film epics, medieval romps, or 'period pictures' are tales that often cover a large expanse of time set against a vast, panoramic backdrop. In an episodic manner, they follow the continuing adventures of the hero(s), who are presented in the context of great historical events of the past.
7) Musicals are cinematographic forms that accentuate and showcase full-scale song and dance routines in a meaningful way (usually with a musical or dance performance as part of the film narrative, or as an unrealistic "eruption" within the film). «Or they are films that are centered on combinations of music, dance, song or choreography. In traditional musicals, cast members are ones who sing. Musicals highlight various musical artists or dancing stars, with lyrics that support the story line, often with an alternative, escapist vision of reality - a search for love, success, wealth, and popularity. This genre has been considered the most escapist of all major film genres» .
8) Westerns are the major defining genre of the American film industry, a nostaligic laudation to the early times of the wild, tameless American frontier (the borderline between civilization and the wilderness). They are one of the oldest, most steady and flexible genres and one of the most typically American genres in their mythic origins.
9) Science Fiction Films are usually scientific, visionary and imaginative, usually visualized through fanciful, unconventional settings, expert film production design, advanced technology devices and vehicle (i.e., robots and spaceships), scientific developments, or by fantastic special effects. Sci-fi films are complete with heroes, distant planets, impossible quests, improbable settings, fantastic places, great dark and shadowy villains, futuristic technology and gizmos, and unknown and inexplicable forces. Many other SF films feature time travels or fantastic journeys, and are set either on Earth, into outer space, or (most often) into the future time.
10) And finally, the last but not the least, genre that this research work is dedicated to, the horror genre. Horror Films are unsettling films designed to frighten and panic, cause dread and alarm, and to invoke our hidden worst fears, often in a terrifying, shocking finale, while captivating and entertaining us at the same time in a cathartic experience. Horror films effectively center on the dark side of life, the forbidden, strange and alarming events. They deal with our most primal nature and its fears: our nightmares, our vulnerability, our alienation, our revulsions, our terror of the unknown, our fear of death and dismemberment or loss of identity.
1.2. Horror films sub-genres
Now we’d like to descry the variety of horror film. There are several classifications of horror films, but the one presented below can be considered as more precise and actual.
1) Action horror is the subgenre that includes not only resistance to supernatural or evil force but also such elements of action genre as furious chases and gunfights. There’s usually an epic struggle whether between the human beings and the supernatural creatures. Themes or elements often prevalent in typical action-horror films include gore, demons, vicious animals, vampires and, most commonly, zombies. This category also fuses the fantasy genre. Examples include «Resident Evil», «Ghost Rider», «Planet Terror», «Underworld», «Constantine», «Priest», «Dawn of the Dead», «From Dusk till Dawn», «Blade».
2) Psychological horror is discernable thanks to the use of the unnerving sound effects, haunting music, tense atmosphere, intricate anddouble-natured characters and their fears, unstable behavior, and in the end the intrusion of the evil that amplifies the tension tenfold. Horror films that can be classified as psychological ones are «The Uninvited», «Gothika», «The Ring», «The Exorcist», «Silent Hill», «The Others», «1408», «The Shining», and «The Sixth Sense».
3) Body horror is the kind of horror film that cause effect by the display of a destruction or a damage of human body. Prevalently, such works involve disease, decay, parasitism, mutilation, or mutation body. «Other types of body horror include unnatural movements, or the anatomically incorrect placement of limbs to create 'monsters' out of human body parts» . David Cronenberg is one of the notable directors of the genre. The examples are «Rosemary's Baby», «Eraserhead», «The Thing», «Re-Animator».
4) Gothic horror is a type of story that contains elements of gothic aesthetics and horror. It also may feature romance that stylistically resembles a kind of horror fairy tale. Some of the earliest horror movies were of this sub-genre. Examples include universal horror films such as «The Phantom of the Opera», «Dracula», «Frankenstein» and «The Mummy». Modern gothic horrors include «Sleepy Hollow», «Interview with the Vampire», «Underworld», «The Wolfman», «Let Me In» and «The Woman in Black».
5) Natural horror is a sub-genre of horror films «featuring nature running amok in the form of mutated beasts, carnivorous insects, and normally harmless animals or plants turned into cold-blooded killers» . This genre may sometimes overlap with the science fiction and action/adventure genre. Examples include «The Birds», «Jaws», «The Swarm», «Pet Sematery», «Primeval», «Anaconda», «Snakes on a Plane», «The Cave», «Piranha 3D» and «The Ruins».
6) Slasher film is the kind of horror film in which a story centers on a psychopathic killer chasing and slaying a sequence of victims in an extremely violent manner, mainly with a sharp tool such as a knife or axe. Slasher films may at times interlace with the crime, mystery and thriller genre, and they are not all of the horror genre. Examples of this genre include «Psycho», «Halloween», «The Texas Chain Saw Massacre», «Prom Night», «Scream», «Friday the 13th», «Child's Play», «Candyman», and «A Nightmare on Elm Street».
7) Splatter films focus on graphic representation of gore and cruel violence. Through the use of special effects and excessive blood and entrails, they tend to display an apparent concernment in the vulnerability of the human body and the drama of its mutilation. Not all splatter films are slashers, and not all splatter films are horrors. Examples include, «Piranha 3D», «Saw», «Hostel», «The Collector», and «The Midnight Meat Train».
8) Zombie film features creatures which are usually portrayed as either reanimated corpses or mindless human beings. Distinct sub-genres have evolved, such as the "zombie comedy" or the "zombie apocalypse". Examples include «Dawn of the Dead», «Day of the Dead», «I Am Legend», «Dead Snow», «Land of the Dead», «Night of the Living Dead» and «The Return of the Living Dead».
9) Comedy horror combines the elements of comedy and horror fiction. «The comedy horror genre almost always inevitably crosses over with the black comedy genre» . The short story «The Legend of Sleepy Hollow» by Washington Irving is cited as "the first great comedy-horror story". Examples include «An American Werewolf in London», «The Rocky Horror Picture Show», «Gremlins», «Beetlejuice», «Shaun of the Dead», «Evil Dead II», «Tucker & Dale vs Evil» and «Slither».
10) Science Fiction horror often revolves around merciless extraterrestrial creatures, hazardous experiments, spacecrafts anddefiant, mad scientists. Examples of he films of such kind include «Alien», «The Fly», «Apollo 18», «Doom», «The Mist», and «It Came from Outer Space».
1.3. Horror genre origins
Since the year zero the majority of human beings has been being captivated by the world out of their reach, the dark side of paranormal things, whether it were religious traditions or folklore. Of course, horrific imagery can be found across the ages. «In the ancient Western world, there was the story of the werewolf in Petronius’ "Satyricon", of Lycaon and Jupiter in Ovid’s "Metamorphoses". Medieval characterizations of Hell such as the "Vision of St. Paul", the "Vision of Tundale", Cranach the Elder’s "Last Judgment", and, most famously, Dante’s "Inferno" also feature examples of figures and incidents that will become important to the horror genre» [8, p.131].
In the 18th century, the genre of horror fiction germinated when a gothic horror novel «Castle of Otranto» by Horace Walpole was published in 1764. Then, one century later, this genre of fiction flourished and gave birth to classic characters and images that never fail to inspire writers nowadays. Back in time, when children listened excitedly to the scary stories in the light of fireplace, adults read absorbing books and stories of such celebrated authors as Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson and Mary Shelley, people relied on the power of their imagination.
Now that we have a visual embodiment of horror, we can simply buy a cinema ticket, sit down in front of a large screen and leave our imagination dormant while our eyes are being fed with brand new product of cinematography. But despite the modernized approaches to the filming and special effects, the horror genre has a century of history behind. We must refer to the most significant writer in terms of the influence.
Edgar Allan Poe is often regarded as the most influential author, the undeniable master of terror and we must admit there are a lot of reasons for it - the mournful landscapes, vicious characters and the unforgettable atmosphere that we can immerse ourselves into. Many of his works were transformed into films, for instance, «The Black Cat», «Murders in the Rue Morgue», «Masque of the Red Death», «House of Usher», «Raven», Reading him now, it is hard to imagine how innovative and creative his work was in the 1830s and 1840s. Even nowadays the directors can extract some ideas and images from his works.
The first horror films were Gothic in style - they were usually set in sinister old mansions, castles, misty, dark and shadowy locales. Their main characters have included "unknown," human, supernatural or grotesque creatures, ranging from vampires, demented madmen, devils, unfriendly ghosts, monsters, mad scientists, "Frankensteins," "Jekyll/Hyde" dualities (good against evil), demons, zombies, evil spirits, arch fiends, villains, the "possessed," werewolves, diabolical presence of evil.
Like all the other representatives of the cinematography, the earliest horror films were silent, for instance, «Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde» released in 1920. Horror theme was featured in the version of «The Hunchback of Notre Dame» (1923), «The Monster» (1925), «The Phantom of the Opera» (1925), all of them starring Lon Chaney, the first American horror movie star, the actor who helped pave the way for the change in outlook and acceptance of the horror genre, known as "the man of a thousand faces" because of his transformative, grotesque makeup and acting genius as a pantomime artist. It can be concluded that the dawn of the horror films pertains to the beginning of the 20th century.
Thus, in the first chapter we have come to the following conclusions.
1. Cinematography is an art and technology of motion picture photography. It includes the extended spectrum of techniques concerning composition of a scene, lighting, camera positions, special effects etc.
Genres of cinematography are various groups of films that feature similar plots and themes, common stylistic approaches, resembling situations, recognizable patterns, recurring elements and typical characters.
We have acquainted with the definition of the major genres of cinematography which are 1) breath-takingaction films, 2) carefree comedies, 3) spectacular adventure films, 4) lawlessgangster films, 5) emotional dramas, 6) gleeful musicals, 7) picturesquehistorical films, 8) untamed westerns, 9) imaginative science fiction films. We have denoted the definition of the our theme’s genre, the horror genre, genre that is designed to provide an extreme entertainment, to feed our minds with frightening images focusing on the vulnerable core of human nature, our most terrible fears and phobias.
2. We have descried the classification of horror films sub-genres including: 1) fighting-oriented action horror,2) carnivorous natural horror, 3) intricate psychological horror, 4) stylistically rich gothic horror,5) anatomical body horror, 6) psychopathic slasher films, 7) blood-centered splatter films, 8) death-defying zombie films, 9) humorous comedy horror films, 10) refreshing science fiction horror.
3. We have discovered the roots of the horror fiction that lay in the ancient times, in religion and folklore and featured in the works of Roman poets and writers. We have mentioned the great and influential writer Edgar Allan Poe, whose works were too innovative and ahead of time for the 19th century, but later were admired by many horror genre aficionados.
We have traced the origins of horror movie that go back to the very beginning of the 20th century and the release of such films as the silent horror movies «Hunchback of Notre Dame», «The Phantom of the Opera» and «The Monster».
Thus, the horror genre of cinematography is an enormous complex of films united by the prevalence of the dark and suppressing visuals, the photography that is amplifying the visuals’ effect, a plot including the sequence of demises or unfortunate events, the elaborate system of images designed to cause anxiety and dread, the abundance of suspenseful moments keeping the viewer in tension and an emphasis on the feeling of repulsion and disgust.
CHAPTER II. HORROR MOVIES INDUSTRY
IN AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHY:
YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW
2.1. Horror movies of the 1950s-1960s
In the 1950s horror industry was «invaded» by mutant monsters and aliens and now they are regarded as the perfect metaphors for the dangers of nuclear war that was overhanging then. Perhaps two most basic horror films of the 50s were «The Thing from Another World», directed by Christian Nyby in 1951, and «Five», directed by Arch Oboler in the same year. «Each film dealt specifically with a major horror science-fiction theme: «The Thing from Another World» with the idea that there exists life on other planets that could threaten life on earth; and «Five» with the idea that the earth could be virtually destroyed by the atomic bomb and subsequent radiation» [6, p. 70]. In conclusion, both horror films dealt with the extraterrestrial: «The Thing from Another World» dealt with its creature from outer space, and «Five» dealt with its re-creation of an earth deprived of those things such as civilization, flora and fauna. The Thing, the outer-space creature was something to be feared: a monster in the best horror tradition.
«By the end of the decade, the fear of nuclear exposure was beginning to ease, and use of the concept in cinema became more playful» [15, p. 1]. That’s when «Attack of the 50 Foot Woman» (1958) was released. In this movie, the heroine underwent radiation from an alien visitor, which caused her growth up to 50 ft. Rather than hide in the house (which isn't an option anyway), Nancy decides to take advantage of her size to avenge her unfaithful husband Harry and his young lover. Though camp by even by 1950s standards, «Attack of the 50 Foot Woman» was daring enough to explore the consequences of nuclear exposure on human bodies - one of the great concerns of the age - and went on to propel a few remakes and parodies.
The 1960s was a dawn of horror films often referred to as «horror of personality», which implied that all horrific events were caused by an insane person without the help of supernatural powers, one of the glorious films of that kind is «Psycho». Psycho is a lunatic Norman Bates, which keeps his deceased mother in the basement and believes that she is still alive. Therefore, many symbols of death are present in «Psycho, for instance, «the taxidermy birds are representative of the dead mother in the home and Bates’ schizophrenic attempts to keep her alive after death» [4, p. 259]. «Nothing more clearly suggests the extent of Alfred Hitchcock’s ongoing influence than the legacy of «Psycho» (1960), quite possibly the single most influential film of the past half century: like Norman Bates’ mother, it just refuses to lie down and die.Psycho opened in the summer of 1960 to mixed critical reactions but immediately began to break box-office records, rapidly developing into a national phenomenon. «Psycho tapped into the American subconscious, provoking faintings. walk-outs, repeat visits, boycotts, angry phone calls and letters» [3, p.19]. The film includes several of the best scenes in the Horror Movie history, the most prominent of which is the bathroom scene where the main heroine gets stabbed by kitchen knife with an accompaniment of high-pitched screeching sounds. It’s extremely powerful and complex psychological thriller. Psycho is the "mother" of all modern horror suspense films – on its own it propelled an era of 'slashers' with blood-letting and shocking killings (e.g., «Homicidal» (1961), «Еhe Texas Chainsaw Massacre» (1974), «Halloween» (1978). Though this was Hitchcock's first real horror film, he was mistakenly referred to as a horror film director ever since.
Another Hitchcock’s ultimate classics is «The Birds», which shows us a terrible story of infuriated birds, attacking little town that interlaces with another one, a story about relationship between a beautiful young woman and an attractive, charismatic man. Comparing this film with contemporary motion pictures it’s becoming obvious that «The Birds» lacks special effects, but the effect it has on the viewers is remarkably special. Hitchcock is a master of playing with our minds, reviving our deeply buried fears. In this case, birds are the image of unknown evil, hunting human beings, we can’t explain their frenzy. It’s noteworthy that no soundtrack was used, and that’s what makes the atmosphere even more sinister.
Contemporary to «The Birds» in 1963, the horror-of-Armageddon film «The Day of the Triffids» was an inventive film based on the novel by John Wyndham. In this film, a meteor shower causes the proliferation of triffids, which are ravenous man-eating plants. Ultimately there is a happy ending as the triffids are killed by seawater. Other films of this period include «The Deadly Bees» in 1967, which used bees as the object of proliferation and «Eye of the Cat in 1969, which used cats.
As the box office went wild over animals, the genre flourished. The next notable film in the genre was «Night of the Lepus» (1972), in which huge rabbits ravage countryside. «Night of the Lepus» tried to take advantage of many of the same elements as «The Birds», in that the rabbit is essentially a lovely creature, although the creators made the rabbits fifteen feet tall (and the mouth of a gigantic rabbit is peculiarly unnerving). «Night of the Lepus» opens with documentary scenes of men killing rabbits and then builds gradually to a climax where giant rabbits kill men.
Much the same is suggested by 1972’s «Frogs», starring Ray Milland as the ultimate victim. In this film, the cast members are gradually killed by a variety of animals in this mutated ecological niche: there is asphyxiation by smart lizards, bites from poisonous rattlesnakes, attacks from crocodiles and alligators, electric shocks from eels, a successful snapping by a hungry sea turtle, and a heart attack induced by frogs that subsequently eat their victim. Again the structure is similar to that of «The Birds», with all the action taking place around one main house.
The milestone in the history of zombie horror, «Night of the Living Dead» is a 1968 independent zombie film directed by George Romero. It’s a story about the enigmatic reanimation of the recently deceased, and the attempts of the living to save their souls while hiding in a farmhouse and seeking to escape in a car. Here humans’ lives are put into risk by the unpredictable but merciless attacks of an unexplained supernatural force. «In «Night of the Living Dead», the people trapped together in the house have no previous connections, and differences in race or class (plus the plurality of males in the story) create havoc by exacerbating people’s inability to cooperate or trust one another» [8, p. 66]. «Philosophically, «Night of the Living Dead» is just nihilistic. Structurally, it works the same, although what proliferates in this film is not the principle of death, but the living dead: dead who arise to kill the living. Starting slowly, the living dead gradually increase their numbers by geometric progression, and when they are quite suddenly vanquished and the hero emerges from his besieged house, the horror of the living dead is replaced by another horror: the inhumanity of the living; the hero is killed anyway by ignorant police men» [4, p. 74].
A classic horror movie «Rosemary’s Baby» (1968) pertains to a kind of horror film where the evil is concealed in a child. The plot is quite predictable: newlyweds move to a new flat and soon wife starts feeling that their neighbors belong to some kind of a demonic sect. And her suspicion is confirmed when she gets pregnant from a dark creature that seems to come in her dream. Later on, she gives birth to a child that turns out to be a son of Devil and in the end evil is victorious. It’s worth attention that, according to Patti Bellantoni, the author of «If It’s Purple, Someone’s Gonna Die: The Power of Color in Visual Storytelling». The colors in this movie play an important role in the perception of the characters and the events. For instance, yellow is the color of the trusting innocence, red is used as a warning signal and pale blue as a color of powerlessness.
2.2. Horror movies of the 1970s-1990s
As the 1970s arrived, a theme previously brought up in «Rosemary’s Baby», tiptoed to the screen again. Then, people weren’t scared anymore by extraterrestrial creatures or infuriated animals, the horror was often associated with small, cute, sympathetic and mistakenly underestimated beings - evil children. It was the era of the creepy child. But while the child was on the throne, some other horror sub-genres thrived as well, the most prominent horror movies are presented further.
Spine-chilling visuals and disturbing images found their place in «The Exorcist» (1973), an adaptation of the novel by William Peter Blatty of the same name. «The Exorcist» is a classic of horror film. It’s is clearly an example of enormous success: numerous Academy Award nominations, critics’ high appraisal, members of the audience passing out in screenings. The plot is simple: a far-famed actress lives happily with her 12 year old daughter Regan, a kind and loving child, until a day when the girl’s behavior transforms into an unexplainably rude and nasty one. Then Regan gradually becomes completely possessed by the demon and her mother pleads for the help of two priests to get the devil out of her. This film indeed extensively shows dreadful details of the girl’s possession. Indeed, this film is a food for thought. On the reflection, the possession of a teenager by the demon is an appropriate metaphor for the rebellious spirit of the young people in the beginning of the 70s in the USA. Here’s what Stephen King writes about the film: «It is a film about explosive social change, a finely honed focusing point for that entire youth explosion that took place in the late sixties and early seventies. It was a movie for all those parents who felt, in a kind of agony and terror, that they were losing their children and could not understand why or how it was happening» [12, p. 104].
«The Omen» (1976) is one of the most notable films of the seventies. The film’s portrayal of a child as the monster by nature was groundbreaking, while the girl in «The Exorcist» was only possessed and could be rescued, Damien in «The Omen» was the Antichrist, fathered by the Devil and born of a jackal, and therefore intrinsically and irredeemably evil. «The film’s other key innovation was the spectacular death sequences it offered, including one of horror cinema’s most awe-inspiring decapitations» [3, p. 236]. This film succeeded commercially and was followed by several sequels – «Damien» (1978), «The Final Conflict» (1981) and «The Awakening» (1991).
One of the key horror films of the 1970s is Brian De Palma’s adaptation of Stephen King’s «Carrie». The story deals with a girl named Carrie White, the miserable daughter of a religious fanatic. «Because of her weird clothes and timid behavior, Carrie is the butt of every class joke; the social outsider in every situation. She also has a mild telekinetic ability which intensifies after her first menstrual period, and she finally uses this power to "bring down the house" following a terrible social disaster at her high school prom» [12, p,106]. This film is regarded as one of the most financially successful King’s adaptations.
Tobe Hooper’s «The Texas Chainsaw Massacre»is one of the most important of all 1970s American horror films. «It presented in a particularly clear form characteristic horror themes of the period, especially in its focus on the monstrous family and its general sense of American society being in a state of dysfunction. More significant is its quality as a film for it manages to be both artful and utterly relentless» [5, p. 312]ю In this story young people have a drive to the countryside where they’re hunted and murdered by the family of psychopaths, the most memorable of which is an overweight chainsaw-brandishing masked madman who goes by the name of Leatherface. The symbol featured in this film is the mask, it’s often used to conceal evil. Masks are devoid of movement, except for the eyes, which makes them unnerving, like doll faces. In «The Texas Chainsaw Massacre», Leatherface wears three different masks (made from human skin) that reflect his mood or victim. It should be noticed that a considerable number of 1970s’ horror films dealt with the events happening in countryside. The common thing was travelling from city to some «serene» place in search for fun, emotional rehab or refuge. But a road usually leads unfortunate travelers to the terror or, most likely, death instead.
The film that still never fails to terrify the viewers is «Jaws» (1976), a masterful, breathtaking, realistic horror film that revives the most primal of fears - what unseen creature lurks below the dark surface of the water. The tagline for the tensely-paced film is pretty simple but accurate - «Don't go in the water» «It kept a lot of shark-hysterical ocean-swimmers and 1975 summer beachgoers wary (similar to the effect that Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) had on shower-taking» . The story is set in a fictional coastal town with a peaceful name Amity, where all the rest-takers are terrified with Great White Shark, coming out of the blue and tearing apart a little boy. Spielberg's film was a huge summer box-office blockbuster in the mid 1970s, although the filming suffered technical problems (the film was dubbed "Flaws" by the crew). «This was voted the sixth scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly» .
A peculiar and unique motion picture of eccentric director David Lynch, «Eraserhead»(1977) is surrealistic film that can be compared to Luis Bunuel’s masterpiece «Un chien andalou». «Eraserhead» is certainly very unconventional representative of horror genre. Though it lacks the furthest resemblance of logic, it’s rather fascinating. «From its first frame to its last, "Eraserhead" plays like a long, irrational, disturbing dream. And hardly an image in the film is not both expressive and dreadful whether the odd hairdo of the protagonist, which looks like the eraser on a pencil, or the oddly demonic baby, which looks like nothing ever seen before, except in a forgotten nightmare» [6, p. 210]. «The world of Eraserhead is, before anything else, a world of extremes: extremes of image, situation and sound which together evoke extremes of feeling, whether of alienation, revulsion or even of laughter. Some viewers also claim to see humor in the protagonist’s perpetually worried visage in the face of nightmarish industrial landscapes, miniature theaters of horror, bizarre in-laws and a monster baby. To be sure, this is not a laughter of guffaws, but a deep-seated amusement» [11, p. 2].
«Halloween» (1978) helped to establish the slasher film as an important format in American horror cinema and also made young actress Jamie Lee Curtis a horror star. However, the sequels it generated did not always capitalize on its reputation and its achievements. «The original was innovative and atmospheric in its depiction of killer Michael Myers returning to his hometown and causing mayhem. "Halloween II" (1981), which was co-scripted and co-produced by Carpenter but directed by Rick Rosenthal, appeared at a time when many of the conventions introduced by Carpenter — the emphasis on startle effects, the killer coming back to life just when everyone thinks he is dead — were fast becoming cliches, and consequently the film did not stand out from its fellow slashers. A Carpenter-devised plot twist revealing that the Curtis character was the killer’s sister was potentially interesting but this idea was not developed until later in the cycle» [8, p. 153].
«Alien» (1979) is 20th Century Fox's extremely frightening, science-fiction horror film with the tagline "In space, no one can hear you scream", introducing us to a ravenous, menacing, extraterrestrial monster. This tense, claustrophobic, action-packed film without any tedious dialogues presents very suspenseful, abundant of thrills and shocks, and very decent special effects for the 1970s. It’s noteworthy that the protagonist of the film is female, a strong, tough, resourceful heroine played by Sigourney Weaver as her first major film role. «Director Scott claimed that three films were influential in shaping Alien's vision - the two sci-fi classics: Lucas' "Star Wars" (1977) and Kubrick's 2001: "A Space Odyssey" (1968)» . The film was Best Visual Effects Oscar-winner, and several Awards nominee. It’s deservedly considered as classic.
The greatest vitality in the period among Hollywood’s basic genres was unquestionably found in horror and fantasy/science fiction. «Unlike the other genres, horror has been disrespected one in which few front-rank directors regularly work. This was certainly true at the turn of the decade, especially with the emergence of the ultra-violent slasher films like "The Driller Killer" (1979), "Schizoid" (1980), "Maniac" (1980), "Terror Train" (1980), and "He Knows You’re Alone" (1980). These and others offered, graphically detailed frenzy in stories built around delirious mass murderers slaying victim after victim. In fact, slasher films produced several popular monsters in a series of franchise productions, and they have become classics in the genre» [17, p. 18]. The most popular were Freddy and Jason. Freddy was the demonic spirit of a child molester who was burned alive by vengeful parents and now intrudes in the dreams of teenagers to bring them the pain and destroy them. This he did in the never-ending series of «A Nightmare on Elm Street» films.
The 1980s saw the unbridled rise of consumerism. Materialism achieved the cult status. But the fear of being left behind in rampant race for wealth and luxury retreated when AIDS crept into the world and a new ominous threat began to loom. In the movie industry, special effects kept up with imagination. New advances in movie production supplied new realistic forms of human body’s destruction. Therefore, with these new tools, horror film makers devotedly tackled the creation of 80s’ fear embodiment. The 1980’s was the period of body horror’s reign.
«The Shining» (1980) is one of Stephen King’s adaptations that’s criticized by the author but considered as Stanley Kubrick’s finest. The story is set in a secluded hotel where the family of a new caretaker heads to for winter passing. Predictably, the hotel turns out to be haunted and a 9-year-old son of the protagonist starts seeing horrific visions due to the psychic gift that’s film named for. But the boy is not only one seeing ghosts, the father of the family is convinced by ghost waiter to take measures against «disobedience» of his son and wife. After gradually becoming absolutely insane, he attempts to murder his family, but in the end he freezes lost in the maze placed in a hotel’s yard. «Mazes and labyrinths have often appeared in horror to heighten the protagonist’s lack of control, they offer many opportunities for sudden surprises around the corner, trap doors, circular action, and a sense of improbability for escape»[4, p. 3] In our opinion, the most memorable scenes of «The Shining» are the blood river rushing through a hall, a seductive young woman turning into an old decaying crone and a sudden appearance of two creepy twin girls, The image of delirious, mischievous and furious Jack Nickolson staring through the broken bathroom door has become classic.
It must be noticed, that the most popular demonic horror film of 80s was the remarkably peaceful «Poltergeist» (1982), a film that shows suburban American life as predominantly good and diabolic spirits as anomalous and. «The optimistic ending of «Poltergeist» contrasts strongly, for instance, with the pessimistic finals of «Rosemary’s Baby» (1968) and «The Omen» (1976), all of which suggest that “good” is irrevocably imperiled and that evil will have an even greater victory down the line» [6, p. 206]. The most notable symbol used in the movie is light. «Light can symbolize many things, such as hope, transition, escape, but in this case it symbolize death (“Don’t go into the light!”)» [4, p. 2]. Also some other common death symbols were exploited in this memorable movie, such as coffins erupting from the earth and skeletons.
In 1982 a film by the director of «Halloween» John Carpenter was released, this influential movie is called «The Thing». It takes us to an American scientific expedition in the frozen wastelands of the Antarctic, where scientists face the blood-thirsty shape-shifting alien that acquires the appearance of the people that –rips apart. Back in the 80s it was considered as a commercial failure and suffered a scarcity of positive reviews from critics, but nowadays it’s among the most high-rated and admired motion pictures in the history of the genre. The most valuable elements in «The Thing» are the haunting score composed by Ennio Morricone that sets the suspenseful atmosphere, the overwhelming amount of gore and plenty of detached and torn away body parts that would feast the eyes of the most demanding horror fan.
An excellent example of harmonic blend of horror and humour is body horror movie «The Re-Animator» (1985) with an amusing tagline: "Herbert West has a very good head on his shoulders... and another one in a dish on his desk"  and it already gives us a basic image of the film: a gifted scientist finds a way to bring the dead bodies or body parts to life and seeks to prove his genius by bringing up living beings with the help of numerous human’s remains and glowing green serum. There’s only one problem: they are always eager to kill anyone. That’s how the intelligence can drag some people into an ebony abyss of madness. One of Variety’s critics writes: «Picture has a grisly sense of humor, and sometimes is so gross and over the top the film tips over into a bizarre comedy», and we think that this description is extremely suitable for it.
With a considerable budget and a team of talented stars by his side, body-horror master David Cronenberg was enabled to realize his potential in «The Fly», a story of a man accidently transformed into a fly. «The Fly» featured a notable performance from Jeff Goldblum and instantly became a classic. «At the time, The Fly» was interpreted by some as an allegory of the Aids epidemic, though Cronenberg himself claimed his version was about the aging process, saying "we've all got the disease - the disease of being finite". Nevertheless, the story of a fit, healthy young man witnessing his body slowly eroding resonated with audiences fearful of a new epidemic» [15, p. 4].
«Beetlejuice» (1987) directed by Tim Burton is a rare example of comedy horror released in the 1980s. It presents a story about a cute couple that met their early death in a car accident and were destined to be confined in the walls of their own house forever as ghosts. Things get even more complicated, when the house is sold to a dysfunctional family including arrogant and bitter wife, obsessed with her foolish sculptures she considers as the masterpieces, obedient husband and a morbid teenage Goth girl .That’s when the eerie fun begins with the appearance of human-exorcist Beetlejuice who comes to the rescue, but has much more hideous plans about the family, than the deceased couple does. The film features an exquisite Burton’s style, both hilarious and scary images and many unconventional scenes.
One of Stephen King’s immortal classics, «Pet Sematary», was brought to big screen in 1989. It’s an atmospheric and unsettling film about the power of an ancient burial ground that causes a string of unfortunate events in Creed’s family. It all starts with a death of cat that belongs to the protagonist’s daughter, when her father is forced to use the magical power of the place to resurrect the animal by burying him there. The chain of ominous events includes the death of little son of the main character and his further appearance as a soulless tiny monster killing the neighbor and his own mother. Every minute of the film is penetrated with a spirit of desperation and unpleasant premonition. This film’s message seems to be «Sometimes dead is better» as Jud Crandall, the neighbor, said. We presume that this movie does teach that there’s a reason for everything and one mustn’t defy nature for it can avenge in a macabre way.
«Child’s play» is a supernatural horror series of the 1980s – 90s that’s accompanied with a tagline «You'll wish it was only make-believe. Andy Barclay has a new playmate who is in no mood to play». The antagonist of the film is Charles Lee Ray, a dead serial killer which, thanks to a voodoo ritual, transports his soul into a popular «Good Guys» doll. Bought by a mother seeking to make her little son happy, he reveals himself to the boy, Andy, as Chucky. While unsuspecting woman is engulfed in her everyday life routine, the vicious doll manages to murder several people including a babysitter. And even when the horrible doll is finally destroyed, unfortunately, it’s not the end. The series has several installments and goes on for almost two decades. Dolls have appeared often in horror storytelling, that’s why they have become very symbolic. The incompatibility of a child’s toy and danger can make it unnerving, as dolls normally represent happiness, innocence, and nurturing. Yet their distorted human qualities, such as oversized heads and eyes or exaggerated features, can make them particularly eerie, especially when the doll turns out to be not as motionless and lifeless as it’s believed.
After a decade of blood rivers, torn away body parts and massacres, audiences were becoming indifferent to gore. Frightening people in the 1990s no longer dealt with external forces but internal disarray, no longer about mountains of corpses but isolated, tormented individuals. «To a back-drop of a rising unease about the 'cult of the self' perpetuated by 80s consumer culture, horror films looked to an old source of inspiration with a new, generation-X intelligence: the 90s were all about the good, old-fashioned serial killer» [15, p. 5].
In 1990 a series of Stephen King’s adaptations continues with psychological horror «Misery» James Caan plays Paul Sheldon, an injured writer held prisoner by his “number one fan,” Annie Wilkes, skillfully played by Kathy Bates, then a film newcomer. Our first view of Annie is from a menacingly low angle, already suggesting she is dangerously unbalanced. Although, from the first glance she seems to be warm-hearted, caring and considerate hostess, later she transforms into cold-blooded, fearful and dangerous lunatic. By the end of «Misery», Annie is disclosed as a serial killer, having murdered not only her father, but some other people under her care as a nurse, «"Misery" does contain one truly original, horrifying scene: when Annie hobbles her hostage by breaking each of his feet with a sledge hammer and then immediately afterwards tells him with shocking incongruity, “God, I love you”» [6, p. 130].
«Misery» paved the way for «The Silence of the Lambs» in 1991, which became one of the most successful films in Hollywood history. Before this motion picture, horror films, even when successful, have rarely won respect or awards at the time of their original release. For instance, «Psycho», definitely one of the greatest, most impactful films of the American cinema, won not a single Academy Award in 1960. «The Silence of the Lambs», on the other hand, won five overwhelming Academy Awards—and in each of the five major categories: best film, best director, best actor in a leading role, best actress in a leading role, and best adapted screenplay. The Silence of the Lambs combines the horror genre with the police procedural — Jodie Foster playing Clarice Starling, an FBI agent assigned to capture Buffalo Bill, a vicious serial killer. Not only is it notable that the protagonist is a woman, but she is a woman given no traditional love interest. Certainly her untraditional interest is the serial killer and cannibal Hannibal Lecter, the brilliant elderly prisoner who gives her clues to catching Buffalo Bill. And yet it is her cannibal contact that seems more dangerous. «Anthony Hopkins, as Hannibal, gives an understated performance of such great stillness and power, that the American Film Institute in 2003 picked Hannibal Lecter as the single greatest villain in the entirety of the American cinema, followed — not surprisingly — by Norman Bates from "Psycho"» [6, p. 131]. Jodie Foster, as Clarice performs artfully showing vulnerability, strength and intelligence, and it was noted by American Film Institute by choosing Clarice the 6th greatest hero of the American cinema.
Another example of a film about killer, though a ghostly one, is «Candyman» (1992). «It’s an exploration of the genesis and interpretation of myth, as it circulates across differing boundaries of class, race, and gender in Chicago. A cult horror film, the film is unusual in that it links a supernatural tale to the horrors of a racist past and the poverty and urban segregation of many African Americans today. The story of Daniel Robitaille, a young man who was mutilated and lynched in 1890 and whose eponymous spirit haunts contemporary urban spaces in Chicago, «Candyman» foregrounds how uncanny space bears the memorial trace of repressed historical traumas rooted in an American history of racial violence and murder. As national allegory, «Candyman» foregrounds the ways in which memorial dread erupts in the topographical and mythological circulation of an urban legend that depends upon a specific ritual of incantation and invocation that is voluntary» [21, p. 59].
«Interview with the Vampire» released in 1994 with a tagline «Drink from Me and Live Forever», is a fascinating adaptation of Anne Rice’s novel. It invites us to the world of night creatures, the immortal ones who’s destined to wander through centuries, draining one human after another. But the protagonist of this story, played by Brad Pitt, is not like the others vampires, because he refuses to take innocent people’s lives. Throughout the film he narrates about his afterlife full of journeys, wonders, memories, loss, pain, hunger and, of course, adventures. All the actors perform nicely, especially Tom Cruise, playing elegant, charismatic and blood-thirsty . What makes this motion picture so remarkable is the unforgettable atmosphere and locations. Also It’s always pleasant to see a classic type of vampires, so alluring, seductive, flawless, soulless and so deadly beautiful.
In 1999 M. Night Shyamalan, a very talented director, released a memorable horror film «The Sixth Sense» starring Bruce Willis who plays a psychiatrist. Throughout the film he is dealing with a case of a little boy who is visited by dead people. Though terrified by ghosts at the beginning, boy comes to realize that they are harmless and seeking only salvation or justice as in the case of the girl poisoned by her stepmother. Considering his work done, Willis’ character leaves the boy and comes home, where the shocking and unpredictable final takes place, it dawns on him that he has been dead for several years, after shot made by his patient who claimed he hadn’t helped him at all. The final scene is deeply touching — Willis speaks to his mourning wife, admits that he has accomplished what was required to free his soul, closes his eyes and let the heavenly light take him away. We found out that there is a recurring symbol in this motion picture; in this case it’s a red color. If we watch the film attentively, we see that the visage of a thing of this particular color precedes the emergence of ghostly beings, «Red is such a visceral presence in this movie that we have no choice but to become reactive. It becomes our guide to a twisting journey through emotions we can’t anticipate because their causes are often unseen» [2, p. 19]. Also little boy Cole involuntarily uses the energy of red to defend himself (his red clothes, red tent, red toy soldiers, red-robed statue of Jesus). We believe that this movie leaves a trace in everybody’s soul and mind.
The last film of 90s we’d like to tell about is «Sleepy Hollow» directed by the genius Tim Burton. It’s an exquisitely stylish gothic scary tale, narrating about young constable Ichabod Crane (played by Burton’s permanent comrade Johnny Depp) who is heading to a remote gloomy town Sleepy Hollow, to investigate the series of mysterious murders that have taken place there. The protagonist has to face with a truly merciless creature, Headless Horseman, whose victims are found dead and beheaded by the sword. We must admit that this film is a rare gem, a really arresting story wrapped in irresistible visuals and powered by chilling scenes and breathtaking action. Besides, the film has a unconventional love story interlaced with the nightmarish events, including eighteen decapitations. All in all, «Sleepy Hollow» is compulsory for the view for any gothic horror’s fan and a perfect example for all directors, regardless of genre.
2.3. Contemporary horror movies
Before we carry on discussing horror films, we must note that the horror pictures of nowadays sometimes has nothing in common with the ones that were released in the 1970s or 1980s. Perhaps, it has to deal with the overpowering impact of corporations and dictate of the producers, but the truth is that in the last decade the outnumbering horror films are about not too smart teenagers being slayed by the maniac. Though they’re not completely disastrous, they are like a bubble gum for eyes, just a way of spending evening, movies to forget about in a few days. Films like «Jennifer’s Body», «Prom Night», «Scream», «I Know What You Did Last Summer», «Piranha 3D» feature paper doll characters, brim with clichés and have rather feeble aesthetics. Their effect predominantly relies on the suddenness of murderer’s appearances which is regarded as one of the most pathetic and overused approaches of scaring the audience. But nevertheless several directors managed to film qualitative and compelling motion pictures that are included in the lists of the best horror movies in such a popular internet portal as rottentomatoes.com
«After nuclear beasties, families and children that kill, gory excess and singular psychopaths: what's left that can possibly scare us? The defining event of this decade in the Western world was the morning of September 11th 2001, when people turning on news were forgiven for thinking that they'd already tuned into a horror film of some kind. The panicked shock emerging from great clouds of smoke and those images - played over and over - of planes ripping into the twin towers of New York City, instantly created a new language in horror» . With the menacing Unknown now looming ahead, horror movies have begun to emphasize the fragility of the human existence and the mysteries of our life.
The beginning by the 21st century is marked by releases of several high-rated horror movies. Firstly, we’d like to mention, «The Others», a psychological horror film directed and written by Alejandro Amenábar. Nicole Kidman stars as Grace, a deeply religious mother of two little children suffering from a strange allergy to sunlight. They are living in majestic mansion on the English coast and patiently waiting for the father of the family to return from World War II. «The rare disease of her children, Anne and Nicholas, makes Grace to set a rule of having only one door open in the house at a time. One day Anne begins claiming to see ghosts, Grace at first believes her newly arrived family of eccentric servants to be responsible, but chilling events and visions soon lead her to believe that something supernatural is indeed going on» . The movie is regarded as a very atmospheric one and it’s abundant of suspenseful moments, that’s why, despite that it’s slow-paced, the viewer isn’t likely to find himself bored. We think that the most tremendous part of the film is its final, because it surprises or, sometimes, shocks anyone who witnesses it.
One of the most successful franchises of the 2000s is «Final Destination». These stories about consequences of escaping from death made millions of horror fans sit down in front of big screen every time a new installment was released. Though the basic concept of every film is the same, the originality of it compensates repeating plot. One gets absorbed into this intense and dreadful nightmare, where characters are scared to make any move, because the death wants them to pay for escaping their final moments, and she can wait just round the corner. Every scheme that death had planned was to be executed in exploded plane, in the hideous car crash in amusement park etc. But dodging her plan wasn’t a salvation, because she wanted revenge and it is ruthless. Since there is a plenty of characters, that are destined to die, that’s watching them and knowing that anyone will hardly survive makes the view of the film so peculiar. «Final Destination» is truly action-packed and full of moments that will make any dauntless one cringe.
Another horror series that gained numerous fans is «Saw». The franchise revolves around the fictional character of John Kramer, also called the "Jigsaw Killer" or simply "Jigsaw". He was introduced briefly in Saw and developed in more detail in Saw II. Rather than killing his victims outright, Jigsaw traps them in situations that he calls "tests" or"games" to test their will to live through physical or psychological torture. Despite the fact that John was murdered in Saw III, the films continue to focus on the posthumous influence of the Jigsaw Killer and his apprentices by exploring his character via flashbacks. «Jigsaw believes that those who survive his methods will be stronger people for it. He called him a kind of a deranged philanthropist» . We’re sure that during the limited time given by Jigsaw to his victims to save themselves anyone of viewers had a feeling of experiencing this trial oneself, and somehow spiritually it’s possible to find a new lease of life by realizing the fragility of our existence and the relative powerlessness in a face of outward forces.
«In Danny Boyle’s low-budget apocalyptic thriller "28 Days Later", animal-rights activists raid a primate-research facility and unwittingly unleash a deadly virus. (As if the PETA people didn’t have enough bad press already.) The virus is called Rage, which sounds like a termite powder but, in fact, turns infected humans into frothing banshees with blood pouring from every orifice» [18, p. 2]. The zombies in «28 Days Later resemble» to those in «Night of the Living Dead», but their nightmarish speed makes the awkward staggerers in the movies of Romero look comical by comparison. These are zombies for sportive generation: The living dead are no longer walking—they’re jogging.
Another long-awaited present for zombie fans, a debut picture by Zack Snyder, «The Dawn of the Dead» invaded cinema theatres in 2004. It’s the «re-envisioning» of 1978 sequel of «Night of the Living Dead». Predictably, the city is infected with a mysterious plague that turns the newly dead into homicidal maniacs. Banding together with a group of fellow survivors, characters take refuge in a suburban mall among which are ex-marine cop, street-thug turned family man, and a handful of other lost souls. «At its best when dealing with the claustrophobic reality of being surrounded by cannibal ghouls, Snyder's film delivers plenty of tense action set-pieces while upgrading the lumbering blue-skinned zombies of the original into living dead, Olympic-standard sprinters who'll stop at nothing to get their hands on human flesh» [7, p. 6].
A representative of horror genre that is definitely not for cowards is «The Descent» (2005). We can presume that the one who endure this nightmare to the end is a hardcore horror fan, because this film in particular is overloaded with nausea-inflicting images. The beginning of the film is peaceful – several dauntless extreme-loving women prepare to descend into a new found grotto and investigate it, but later their enthusiasm immediately dissolves when the way up is blocked by stones. But desperation, darkness and hunger can’t be called trouble comparing to the presence of ravenous eyes that are watching heroines. The thing is that in the shadows monstrous predators are hiding and all they seek for is flesh. Long-awaited vacation turns into a blood-curdling terror, there’s nowhere to hide, no one will come to the rescue. The hope fades away as the girls are torn apart and eaten one after another. The symbol that’s presented in this movie is light «The women are trapped in virtual darkness underground and light is their only friend as the creatures are blinded by it. Light and dark are often used thematically to represent good and evil, hence the horror of the night and the hope of a new dawn if you’ve managed to survive » [8, p. 57].
In 2007 a short story of Stephen King was transformed into a masterful horror movie named «1408». It’s a story about a Mike Enslin, an author who writes about paranormal and yet assured that there’s nothing unavailable for human’s perception, no ghosts, phantoms or afterlife. He’s famous for dispelling superstitions and his latest project as usual deals with it. He arrives to notorious Dolphin Hotel, where the manager warns him not to enter room number 1408, but, of course, Mike defiantly gets the key and nonchalantly enters his future torture chamber. It should be noted that in this case «torture» is psychological rather than physical. «Now, as is the case with many of life's most profound epiphanies, the writer who thought he knew it all is caught entirely off guard at the precise moment he least expected it. Subsequently faced with undeniable proof of an afterlife, Mike may have a best-seller on his hands if he can simply survive until sunrise» .
In 2009 Sam Raimi’s horror movie «Drag Me to Hell» a young woman working as loan officer evokes the wrath of aт evil gypsy by refusing to prolong her home loan. Determined to impress her boss and get a desirable promotion at work, Christine Brown says «No» when mysterious old woman literally starts pleading for mercy at her feet. In revenge for being publicly shamed, the gypsy casts the ominous curse of the Lamia on her unlucky target, turning Christine's life into a nightmare wide-awake and if she fails to break the curse, she'll be tortured by the demon for three days before literally being dragged to hell. The director of Spider-Man accomplished a sheer success with this movie reaching 92% of «fresh» reviews on rottentomatoes.com, We must admit that it’s a deserved score, mainly because one rarely encounters a horror film that freaks the viewer out and at the same time makes him laugh at its utter craziness and foulness.
Now we’d like to mention a vampire movie that helped to reanimate the right image of night creature after the emergence of sparkling vegetarian vampires of «The Twilight Saga». This movie is called «Let Me In». «It is the tale of an eerily beautiful 12-year-old vampire named Abby, who moves into a dreary apartment complex with her keeper of sorts, an older man posing as her father and there befriends a boy named Owen, an outsider living in terrible fear of his classmates' bullying» [16, p.1]. Though the description presented above may seem too sugary and Twilight-like, in reality it’s much more tense and cruel. It’s the case when the villain (Abby) provokes sympathy and seems frail and vulnerable despite her monstrous entity and the massacre she brought with her arrival. In this story, there is a surprising evidence of how firm the bonds of friendship can be, especially when a friend is a protective immortal heroine.
«Prometheus» (2012), gray-toned cruel, cryptic, and frightening adventure movie about a search for the origins of humanity on a distant planet is the second science fiction horror film of Ridley Scott and is a prequel to the first one, «Alien». «It’s a different sort of experience: a stately, somewhat plodding but endurable science-fiction saga that opens with the dawn of life on Earth and closes with mad carnage and a mystery even more troubling than how we humans got here» .This was truly “the new flesh,” a dissolution of the boundaries between man and machine, machine and alien, and man and alien, with a psychological invasiveness that has never, thank God, been equaled» .
We can’t leave unmentioned several TV series that won viewers’ hearts (sometimes brains) and repeatedly made them stick to the screen and distracted them from their work and studies. First of all, we’d like to bring up the great and powerful series called «Supernatural». In short, the main characters of the story are Winchester brothers travelling from one state of America to another to fight supernatural evil in all its shapes and forms. Of course, this description doesn’t hold a candle to the grand adventure we have experienced by the side of courageous and charming Dean and Sam, and even after seven gripping seasons we still have a way to go.
A zombie feast, «Walking Dead» is a series where police officer leads a group of survivors in a dilapidated world flooded by zombies. «Walking Dead» exploded in terror and action and became one of the most popular series among contemporary horror enthusiasts. But even people indifferent to horror films and the undead get obsessed with «Walking Dead» and engorge an episode after another.
And the last addictive serial film for us to mention is «American Horror Story». What makes this particular one so peculiar is that every season is centered on the brand new story but with the same actors playing completely different characters from the previous season’s ones. Another likable fact about «American Horror» is that every character is flawed and, therefore, their actions are unpredictable and no one can tell who’s going to be the one to cause chaos.
Now that prosperous contemporary directors have the whole tremendous horror legacy at their service, it’s hard not to take advantage of exploring the highlights and the failures of horror movies of the past to begin a new era, an era sustained by experience accumulated through decades. With the approaching scheduled releases of remakes inspired by such movies as «Carrie», «Pet Sematary» and «Texas Chainsaw Massacre», the only thing left for horror enthusiasts to do is to hope that the movies will be enhanced versions of originals.
Nowadays the horror genre is overloaded with similar products, mainly because every theme is depleted and nearly every scare-approach is overused. Sometimes we realize that during the whole view we were keeping ourselves from yawning due to the obtained immunity to the recurring scenes. What can be ever invented in the horror industry? Who knows, maybe a decade later we’ll experience 5D horror movies, feeling the death breath on our back, walking through ghosts, fighting the evil beings. Perhaps, 2D and 3D horror films will become so obsolete, that the new generation won’t be ever attracted to watching them. But right now the horror fans are thankful for the hours of the extreme entertainment they passed, and we can state with confidence that they’re valued, maybe not for too long, but now they are.
Thus, in this chapter we have come to the following conclusions.
1. The 1950s horror industry was influenced by the fear before the nuclear war, a danger of which was overhanging then.
The key horror movies of this period were «The Thing from Another World», directed by Christian Nyby and «Five», directed by Arch Oboler.
Thanks to the release of the legendary Hitchcock’s movie «Psycho», the 1960s were a dawn of horror films often referred to as «horror of personality», which implied that the main source of evil was a mad person.
Also, the theme of animals’ frenzy was developed in the 1960s thanks to another Hitchcock’s classic movie named «The Birds», which inspired such films as «Frogs», «Night of the Lepus» and «The Deadly Bees».
Besides, not only animals invaded the screen but, unfamiliar for this period creatures, zombies, brought to our world by George Romero’s «Night of the Living Dead».
2. The 1970s were clearly the age of sinister children due to the ongoing sky-high status of such movies as «Carrie», «The Exorcist» and «Omen», movies which featured whether a teenager or a kid with the destructing abilities.
The beginning of slashers’ era also pertains to the 1970s, to be precise, to 1978, the year of release of «Halloween», directed by John Carpenter, a horror movie which propelled the emergence of such series as «Friday the 13th» or «The Nightmare on the Elm Street».
The other remarkable representatives of the horror genre produced in the 1970s are natural horror «Jaws» and a surrealistic «Eraserhead».
As for the 1980s, the most popular sub-genre was body horror, presented by such films as «The Thing», «Re-Animator» and «The Fly», made in the best traditions of cinematographic massacre and distortion.
The 1980s’ noteworthy movies about ghosts are psychological horror movies «The Shining», directed by Stanley Kubrick and Tobe Hooper’s «Poltergeist», and a comedy horror «Beetlejuice», directed by Tim Burton.
The 1990s were marked with the comeback of serial killers, for example, the serial murders’ theme was included in «Misery», «The Silence of the Lambs», «Candyman» and «Sleepy Hollow».
Besides, psychological horror «The Sixth Sense» starring Bruce Willis and a gothic horror «Interview with the Vampire» are praised as well as the movies about serial killers mentioned above.
3. Talking about the contemporary horror movies, it’s hard to distinguish the most popular theme featured in horror products of nowadays, since there are a lot of them released every month. But the very beginning of the 2000s was the period of movies centering on the destruction of human body and the frailness of our existence, for instance «The Final Destination» or «Saw».
The ghost theme turned out to be very wide-spread too, it was included in such movies and serial films as «The Others», «1408», «Insidious», «Supernatural», «American Horror Story» and many others.
The development of the horror genre goes on, and there’s a perspective of a a new dimensional horror films’ emergence, but until then we still have the whole horror legacy to experience.
CHAPTER III. PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL ASPECTS OF AMERICAN HORROR MOVIES
3.1. Extreme entertainment as cause of cinema addiction
Every movie in the world is designed to invoke some type of emotion. Usually we extract laugh and joy from watching comedies and musicals, sugared sadness from the view of melodramas, imagination’s awakening from the scenes of science fiction movies. Movies are often considered as a great way to relax: we sit in a comfortable seat, enjoy some popcorn and disconnect from the reality for two hours. Thanks to the cinema, we can experience multiple adventures, we can mentally travel to the distant planet, see the unbelievable wonders, observe unearthly creatures and much more. But apart from mental journeys and colorful images that feast our eyes, there are visions that can’t be called joyful and the state we derive from watching movies of such genres as action film or horror film can’t be called relaxed or enlightened, generally because during the view of the movie we find ourselves worried about the protagonist or feel anxious in a way. Nevertheless, the action and horror industries never suffer from the lack of consumers, in fact, they are rather thriving, which means that people aspire to receive the emotional set wrapped in the images of fights, chases, murders or supernatural beings.
We presume, that movies can be classified according to the type of their influence on our mood and state. We can call melodramas, comedies and, for example, musicals the relaxed kinds of entertainment, and we can claim that action films or horror films pertain to the extreme kind of entertainment.
Some people are obsessed with scary movies. They’ve seen hundreds of scary films. They can’t miss a brand new horror movie in the cinema. They have accumulated DVD collections at home. But what provokes this kind of addiction? We’ll try to figure it out further.
According to Glenn Sparks, a professor of Purdue University, one reason for the appeal is the way we feel after the movie. This is referred to as «the excitation transfer process». Sparks’s research indicated that when people watch frightening films, their heart rate, respiration and blood pressure increases. «After the film is over, this physiological excitement lingers, that means that any positive emotions you experience – like having fun with friends – are intensified, instead of focusing on the fright you felt during the film, you recall having a great time. And you’ll want to come back for more» .
«However, if your experience was negative, you might not. For instance, let’s say you were on a date that wasn’t going well or you got into a car accident on your way home. Sparks said: “Again, because your lingering arousal heightens any emotions you experience, the negative feelings might sway you to skip a scary flick in the future“» .
As Spark states, some people are simply inclined to seek for high levels of physiological arousal, He claims that about 10 percent of the population savor the adrenaline rush and, not surprisingly, these individuals also roller coasters.
Some people stick to scary movies because they’re the objects of novelty. All of us are inclined to pay attention to abnormalities in our environment. Sparks claims that since danger demolishes routine, curiosity about change is crucial for survival. Sparks equated the appeal of frightening films to stopping at the scene of a sanguinary accident: “You don’t see that every day,” he said.
Something else you don’t see are the visual effects, which tend to be fantastic, he said. Some people get enamored with effects and like to figure them out.
Some researchers suggest that more men enjoy scary movies. This might be because men are considered to be brave and enjoy threatening things, Sparks said. «Men may extract social gratification from not letting a scary film bother them. Men often like scary films as date movies because women are more likely to seek physical closeness when they’re scared, and men can show off their strength and bravery» . In one study males liked a horror movie more when they watched it with a female who was scared, and females liked the movie more when they experienced it with a male who wasn’t scared.
Some people may like scary movies because they bask in the adrenaline rush of being scared while being in safety. People like anything that gets their minds off their own problems. Some studies have shown that horror movies can be good for mental health and brain. One research suggests that «while people watch horror film, brain activity increases and gets the state of mind alert for a while. Additionally, threat signals that pass through the hypothalamus (in the brain) will stimulate the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and opiates which has an anesthesia-like effect». After watching the movie for half and hour, the system of the body will be calm and the defense system will be empowered. That is when the immune system in the body is temporarily stronger».
Though, the relative safety of watching horror films doesn’t apply to young kids. Parents need to be extremely careful about what their children watch. Joanne Cantor a professor of the University of Wisconsin found out that college students who experienced scary movies or shows before 14 years old faced trouble sleeping and felt anxious about usual everyday activities.
All in all, the addiction to the extreme kind of entertainment is not outright menacing for the young adults. As for the young kids, they should steer clear from watching movies containing horrific images, mainly because their impact can cause some psychological issues in their future.
3.2. Paradox of “horror“: nature of genre attraction
Now we have come to the most profound question of this research, the question concerning the nature of horror genre attraction. “Why would anyone want to be horrified?“
It’s apparent that the basic component in the emotion of horror is repulsion ordisgust. But — and this is the question of “Why horror?” in its primary form — if horror necessarily has something repulsive about it, how can audiences be attracted to it? «Even if horror only caused fear, we might feel justified in demanding an explanation of what could motivate people to seek out the genre. But where fear is compounded with repulsion, the ante is, in a manner of speaking, raised» [5, p. 159]. Normally, people avoid what disgusts them. Facing something that a person finds repellent is definitely an unpleasant experience. We do not, for instance, attempt to ginger up a boring evening by opening trash can in order to smell its putrid contents. But, nevertheless, many people that we consider to be mentally sane search for horror fiction or horror movies on purpose of extracting pleasure from visions or descriptions that usually disgust them.
We’d like to try to figure out the nature of attraction of people to the genre. And therefore we will refer to some theories.
1. Firstly, we’ll analyze some fragments from «On the Pleasure Derived from Objects of Terror», the essay written in 1773 by John and Anna Aikin about gothic literature. In this essay it was written: «The painful sensation immediately arising from a scene of misery, is so much softened and alleviated by the reflex sense of self-approbation attending virtuous sympathy, that we find, on the whole, a very exquisite and refined pleasure remaining, which makes us desirous of again being witnesses to such scenes, instead of flying from them with disgust and horror» . This means that we aspire to sense sympathy for the main character undergoing a horrific ordeal which makes us experience an exquisite pleasure. In a way we identify with characters.
Another source of pleasure, according to the theory is facing the tragedy. Since people are aware that they’re finite, they mentally transcend the border between life and fearful yet magnetic death while learning about new calamities that happen in our world. «The reality of this source of pleasure seems evident from daily observation. The greediness with which the tales of ghosts and goblins, of murders, earthquakes, fires, shipwrecks, and all the most terrible disasters attending human life, are devoured by every ear, must have been generally remarked. Tragedy, the most favorite work of fiction, has taken a full share of those scenes» .
Another important reason for our inclination for devouring a horror fiction is curiosity, which force us to go throughout any deadly adventure depicted in the book or shown on the screen, regardless of our mind’s protests. «The pain of suspense, and the irresistible desire of satisfying curiosity, when once raised, will account for our eagerness to go quite through an adventure, though we suffer actual pain during the whole course of it. We rather choose to suffer the smart pang of a violent emotion than the uneasy craving of an unsatisfied desire. That this principle, in many instances, may involuntarily carry us through what we dislike» . We just can’t help having a glimpse of a nightmare.
«When children, therefore, listen with pale and mute attention to the frightful stories of apparitions, we are not, perhaps, to imagine that they are in a state of enjoyment, any more than the poor bird which is dropping into the mouth of the rattlesnake — they are chained by the ears, and fascinated by curiosity. This solution, however, does not satisfy me with respect to the well-wrought scenes of artificial terror which are formed by a sublime and vigorous imagination. Here, though we know before-hand what to expect, we enter into them with eagerness, in quest of a pleasure already experienced. This is the pleasure constantly attached to the excitement of surprise from new and wonderful objects. A strange and unexpected event awakens the mind, and keeps it on the stretch; and where the agency of invisible beings is introduced, of "forms unseen, and mightier far than we," our imagination, darting forth, explores with rapture the new world which is laid open to its view, and rejoices in the expansion of its powers. Passion and fancy cooperating elevate the soul to its highest pitch; and the pain of terror is lost in amazement» . We are enticed by exploration of the things that are hidden from our rational overlook, we are desperate to getting involved into virtual or imaginary event that’s bound with the presence of undiscovered wonders.
To sum up, according to the theory of Anna and John Aikin, we are like slaves for our curiosity. We can say that our eagerness to encounter something unearthly and paranormal leads us through the dark paths of horror and though our mind is trapped in terror, it’s just an exchange for the fulfillment of our curiosity’s desire.
2. One authority often cited in attempted explanations of horror is H.P. Lovecraft, an esteemed practitioner of the genre who also wrote an influential work entitled «Supernatural Horror in Literature». In Lovecraft’s view, supernatural horror evokes awe and what he calls “cosmic fear”. Whether a work of horror evokes cosmic fear is, in fact, the identifying mark of the genre for Lovecraft. He writes: «The one test of the really weird is simply this — whether or not there be excited in the reader a profound sense of dread, and of contact with unknown spheres and powers; a subtle attitude of awed listening, as if for the beating of black wings or the scratching of outside shapes on the known universe’s utmost rim» [13, p. 42].
«Cosmic fear» for Lovecraft is a bracing mixture of fear, moral revulsion, and wonder. He says of it: «When to this sense of fear and evil the inevitable fascination of wonder and curiosity is superadded, there is born a composite of keen emotion and imaginative provocation whose vitality must of necessity endure as long as the human race itself» [13, p. 51]. The capacity for this sensation of fear, which Lovecraft believes is allied with religious feeling, is based on the instinct. It appears that humans are born with a kind of fear of the unknown which verges on awe. Therefore, the attraction of supernatural horror is that it provokes a sense of awe which confirms a deep-seated human conviction about the world, a conviction that it contains vast unknown forces.
The main idea of Lovecraft’s theory seems to be that the literature of cosmic fear attracts because it affirms some natural intuition about reality, which intuition is opposed to the culture of materialism. This is something similar to a religious feeling of awe, an anticipation of the unknown wonder.
3. Noël Carrol in his book «The Philosophy of Horror or the Paradoxes of the Heart» described another way of explaining the attraction of horror — one that may be connected with elements of the religious account — is to say that horrific beings — like deities and daemons — attract us because of their power. [5, p. 167]. They evoke awe, it might be said that, In a way, we identify with monsters because of the power they possess — perhaps monsters are wish fulfillment figures. But there are some other opinions. «Our primary and acknowledged identification may be with the victim, the adumbration of our infantile fears and desires, our memory sense of ourselves as tiny and vulnerable in the face of the enormous Other; but the Other is also finally another part of ourself, the projection of our repressed infantile rage and desire... that we have had in the name of civilization to repudiate» [5, p. 190]. Sometimes the attraction to horror is evoked thanks to the figures of horror genre. We can’t help mentioning the main figures both of horror fiction and horror movies, especially, vampires and zombies. They are the objects of fear and admiration at the same time. Sometimes we so admire the power monsters have that the disgust they engender is outweighed. This explanation fits some cases very nicely. With figures like vampire Lestat («Interview with the Vampire») or Dracula, the monstrous entity is seductive, and part of that seductiveness has to do with its force. But, then again, the zombies in «Night of the Living Dead» are not seductive, we admire them because they converge in a huge mindless army.
4. A very interesting model was developed by psychoanalyst Ernest Jones in his work «On the Nightmare». In «On the Nightmare», Jones uses a Freudian explanation of wish’s fulfillment analysis of the nightmare in order to unravel the symbolic meaning and structure of such figures of medieval superstition as the incubus, vampire, werewolf, devil, and witch. A central concept in Jones’s treatment of the imagery of nightmare is conflict orambivalence. The products of the dream-work are often simultaneously attractive and repellent, they function to denote both a wish and its inhibition. «The reason why the object seen in a nightmare is frightful or hideous is simply that the representation of the underlying wish is not permitted in its naked form so that the dream is a compromise of the wish on the one hand and on the other of the intense fear belonging to the inhibition» [9, p. 13]. For example, according to Jones, the vampires of superstition have two fundamental constituent attributes: revenance and bloodsucking. The mythic vampire, as opposed to the contemporary vampire of movies and fiction, first visits its relatives. For Jones, this stands for the relatives’ longing for the loved one to return from the dead. But the figure is charged with terror. Bloodsucking is associated with seduction, but the desire is transformed, through denial, into an assault — attraction and love transforms into repulsion and sadism. At the same time, through projection, the living depict themselves as passive victims, portraying the dead as an active part that permits pleasure with no blame. That is, the dead are referred to as the vicious aggressors while the living are pretending ill-fortuned (and, therefore, “innocent”) victims.
According to Jones, vampire attract because they manifest wishes that are usually forbidden or repressed. They cannot be acknowledged outright. That’s when the horrific, repellent imagery takes its turn. It disguises or masks the undisclosed desire. The dreamer cannot be blamed for these images by his internal censor because he finds them terrible and repulsive, so he cannot seem to enjoy them (though he really does enjoy them in the back of his mind as they convey deep, psychological wishes). The revulsion and disgust the horrific imagery provokes is the price the dreamer pays for having his wish fulfilled. Jones’ theory explains how audiences can be attracted to horror despite the apparent disgust it enjoins. This disgust, of course, is not illusory; the audience is repulsed. But this disgust is, more importantly, functional. It exacts a little discomfort in an exchange for greater pleasure. Pleasure can’t be experienced unless this discomfort is exacted.
We suppose that the popularity of vampire movie may have a link with our deep-seated desire to avenge our foes for some sort of «energetic vampirism» they inflicted on us identifying ourselves with the vampire slayer. Or vice versa we may perceive vampires as a reflection of our counterpart involved in a scheme of revenge for our offenders by «draining them out».
5. Another notorious heroes of the horror universe are zombies. Linda Seddon noted that the appearance of the zombie by itself is a testament to tough times: they wear tattered clothing, their flesh is rotten and reeking. «Zombies are literally falling apart at the seams. They walk about in a perpetually hungry state, and there is something pitiable about them» . «The zombie reeks of the greedy consumerism that many people blame for current economic conditions. It is the ultimate mindless consumer, devouring everyone in its path. No matter how much it consumes, it is never has enough» [7, p. 5].
In the contemporary world the concept of a Zombie Apocalypse is often used as a metaphor for the wrecking of our political systems. In some stories, fall of government have triggered the destruction of the world and invasion of zombies. «The Resident Evil films play off of anxieties about the military-industrial complex. «World War Z» deals heavily with American isolationism and how prepared countries are to respond to major crises» .
6. One more kind of supernatural being we would like to speculate about is a werewolf. In the book of S.T Joshi «Icons of Horror and the Supernatural: an Encyclopedia of our Worst Nightmares» werewolf is described as a innocent victim. «The werewolf is a hapless victim who, once bitten in human form by another werewolf, changes into wolf form during the days of each month when the moon is full, between the hours of moonrise and sunrise. The human who is a werewolf usually is unaware of the supernatural side of his life, or at very least of his behavior after his transformation» [10, p. 654]. To our mind, werewolf is a symbol of human duality. In every person’s life there are some moments when he or she behaves in a not typical way, for example, all of a sudden, a person can lash out at friends or relatives and then regret what she or he have done and wonder how could he act this way. A person is somehow «bitten», which means someone has annoyed or enraged him, but the offender couldn’t be confronted since he was a kind of «werewolf» and was too powerful and mighty to spill the rage at in response, that’s why involuntarily a «bitten» person offends the weaker ones, the ones that never want to bring him pain.
7. Stephen King states that the majority of horror movies are partly or completely sustained by the fear of death and derive their best effects from this kind of fear, for example «Final Destination» franchise. «The fear of death doesn’t imply that people don't have a certain occasional interest in what lies behind the locked door in the basement of the mortuary, or what may transpire in the local graveyard after the mourners have left... or at the dark of the moon» [12, p. 83] .This statement made by the King of Horror Stephen King affirms that people tend to search for the evidence of unknown powers’ existence.
8. Noel Carrol claims that the analysis of nightmare frequently leads us to the earliest, most profound, and inevitable anxieties and conflicts to which human beings are subject: those involving devastating aggression, separation and abandonment, the fear concerning loss of identity. ”Widening the borders of what can be expressed of that which is repressed in this way obviously enhances the reach of the psychoanalytic model. Horrific creatures and their doings can be linked with whole panoply of repression: to anxieties and childish fantasies. Thus, the recent popularity of telekinetic nastiness in films and like «The Exorcist» or «Carrie» might be explained as gratifying the infantile conviction in the unlimited power of repressed rage — the belief in the omnipotence of thought — while at the same time costuming this repressed fantasy in the drapery of horror. Speaking about Carrie mentioned on previously in this research, the viewer treats Carrie in all her unstoppable fury as a monster at the same time that Carrie realizes or enacts an infantile fantasy of revenge in which, conveniently, looks can kill. «As a monster, Carrie is horrifying; but at the same time, she provides an opportunity for a guilty fantasy — one with a shade of anxiety — to surface. Therefore, Carrie’s horrific aspect enables the fulfillment of a deeper pleasure, the manifestation of the infantile delusion of the omnipotence of the will» [5, p. 172]. «If this hypothesis is successful, every figure of horror will be connected to some infantile anxiety, fantasy, wish, trauma, and so on. It’s presumed that the manifestation of any form of repressed material affords pleasure and that the horrifying aspect of monsters is the cost for lifting or releasing this repression» [5, p 184].
Applied to the paradox of horror, these observations suggest that the pleasure derived from the horror fiction and the source of our interest in it dwells, fprimarily, in the processes of discovery, proof, and confirmation that horror fictions often employ. The disclosure of the existence of the horrific being and of its properties is the central source of pleasure in the genre; once that process of revelation is finished, we remain curious about whether such a being can be confronted successfully, and that narrative question leads us through to the final. Here, the pleasure derived is cognitive. Curiosity is in a way an appetite of the mind. «With the horror fiction, that appetite is whetted by the prospect of knowing the putatively unknowable, and then satisfied through a continuous process of revelation, enhanced by imitations of (admittedly simplistic) proofs, hypotheses, counterfeits of causal reasoning, and explanations whose details and movement intrigue the mind in ways analogous to genuine ones» [5, p.189].
Thus, in this chapter we have come to the following conclusions.
1. Every movie in the world is designed to invoke some type of emotion. Some movies supply relaxation and joy, while the other ones provide anxiety and the state of tension to the viewer. The relaxed kind of entertainment is represented by movies of such genres as comedy, melodrama or musical, the extreme kind of entertainment is concealed in the action and horror movies.
The addiction to horror movies can be explained in different ways. According to professor Glenn Sparks, one of the reasons of the horror genre’s appeal is the state of physical excitement lingering after the view of the movie that intensifies emotion we experience shortly after walking out of an auditorium. As Spark states, every tenth person of Earth’s population savor the adrenaline rush, for example, while riding roller coaster.
Some people stick to the horror movies because they are the objects of novelty and the curiosity about abnormality is important for survival.
Men are considered to enjoy scary movies more than women mainly because they can show off their bravery and extract social gratification from not letting scary movie bother them.
Some studies have shown that after watching horror movie, the defense system of the body is empowered and the immune system is temporarily stronger.
Professor Joanne Cantor found out that college students who experienced scary movies or shows before 14 years old faced problems sleeping and felt anxious about usual everyday activities.
The addiction to the extreme kind of entertainment isn’t outright menacing for the young adults. As for young kids, it can have some side effects, psychological issues in particular, that’s why they should avoid watching them in excess until they reach the age of maturity.
2. The basic component in the emotion of horror is repulsion or disgust, therefore the audience can feel justified in demanding the explanation of the attraction to the genre.
There are some theories that are created to unravel the mystery concerning the essence of horror genre’s appeal:
— theory featured in the essay of Anna and John Aikin. The reasons of the horror’s appeal that are emphasized in the theory are sympathy/identification with the character, eagerness to face the tragedy due to the magnetism of death, desperation to satisfy the unbridled curiosity, desire to get involved into a supernatural event whether it is real or not;
— theory presented in the work of H.P. Lovecraft «Supernatural horror in literature» states that the emotion we derive from the visions of horror is «cosmic fear», a bracing mix of fear, moral revulsion and wonder. People are attracted to the horrific scenes, because they affirm the deep-seated conviction that the world contains vast unknown forces;
— theory developed by Carol Clover states that horrific beings attract us because of their power, perhaps, we identify with them, because they are wish fulfillment figures. The victim is the embodiment of our vulnerability and infantile fears while the monster or the villain is a projection of our repressed rage and desire of revenge;
— a very amusing model was developed by psychoanalyst Ernest Jones. The main points of the theory are the ambivalence of such figures as vampires, werewolves and zombies due to our simultaneous admiration and fear before them. Jones claims that they function to denote both wish and its inhibition. For example, horror aficionados seek to be seduce by a vampire, but when they observe him, the dread that the undead casts is a viewer’s excuse for not being reproached for the appeal to the monster, since in this case, the viewer is a victim in a way;
— theory concerning zombies elaborated by Stephen Harper suggests that The zombie is an image of consumerism, It is the ultimate mindless consumer, devouring everyone in its path and never gets enough. In the contemporary world the concept of a Zombie Apocalypse is often used as a metaphor for the wrecking of our political systems;
— theory created by S. T. Joshi explicate the essence of the werewolf as a hapless victim who, once bitten in human form, transforms into a monster and isn’t aware of the supernatural side of his life. We presume that a werewolf is metaphor for a person enraged by a more powerful one and then pouring his rage down on his beloved ones in the state of blurred mind;
— Stephen King states that the majority of horror movies are sustained by a fear of death, though the fear doesn’t imply that people are not interested in the death itself, because there’s a link between the end of life and a mystery of afterlife since we are not able to witness the continuation that follows the last breath;
— Noël Carrol claims that every figure of horror is connected to some infantile anxiety, fantasy, wish, trauma, for instance, Carrie is linked with infantile fantasy of revenge in which looks can kill.
All the observations suggest that the pleasure derived from the horror fiction and the source of our interest in it resides in the processes of discovery, proof, and confirmation that horror fictions often employ and the twisted appeal of the horrific beings and the wishes they represent.
Year after year cinema companies gross enormous sums of money thanks to the human demand for entertainment and mental relaxation. But at the same time such an atypical kind of demand as the need for the fear can bring not less financial success. People invariably attend cinema and spend their money to quench the longing for the sensation of terror and facing the supernatural. And though before writing the research we had a blurred apprehension about the gist of human inclination for watching the creations of horror, now we know what triggers this wickedly abnormal wanting.
Curiosity and the need for exploration are leading us to the wrath of «The Birds», the madness of «Psycho», the evil of «Omen», the mystery of «the Others» or the misery of «Carrie», all of them embroidered with fancy patterns of horror. All the beings belonging to the terror’s universe, whether supernatural or human, actually serve to show us the strength, the depth and the vulnerability of our own minds, souls and bodies and drag our deep-buried wishes and fantasies to the surface.
We came to find out that horror genre is utterly elaborate, because it conceals the abundance of symbols, it reflects human’s deep wishes, feelings and aspirations, it feeds our imagination, it gives us the soothing contrast between the ordeals of the film’s horrible images events on the screen and our relatively secure and serene reality. H.P. Lovecraft once wrote: «Children will always be afraid of the dark, and men with minds sensitive to hereditary impulse will always tremble at the thought of the hidden and fathomless worlds of strange life which may pulsate in the gulfs beyond the stars, or press hideously upon our own globe in unholy dimensions which only the dead and the moonstruck can glimpse». Although, thanks God, we’re not dead or moonstruck, we will never cease to search for something to restore our belief in the presence of powers that are far beyond our comprehension.
1. Aikin, Anna and John. On the Pleasure Derived from Objects of Terror, 1773.
2. Bellantoni, Patti. If it’s Purple, Someone’s Gonna Die: the Power of Color in Visual Storytelling, 2005, Focal Press, 243 p.
3. Boyd, David. After Hitchcock: Influence, Imitation, and Intertextuality. 2006, The University of Texas Press. 282 p.
4. Caldwell, Sara. Symbolizing Concepts: 13 Common Objects and Abstracts of Horror, 2009, Constructing Horror, 3 p.
5. Carrol, Noël. The Philosophy of Horror or the Paradoxes of the Heart, 1990, Routledge, 268 p.
6. Derry, Charles. Dark Dreams 2.0: A Psychological History of the Modern Horror Film from the 1950s to the 21st Century, 2009, McFarland & Company, 437 p.
7. Harper, Stephen. Zombies, Malls, and the Consumerism Debate: George Romero's Dawn of the Dead, 2006, Americana, 7 p.
8. Hutchings, Peter. Historical Dictionary of Horror Cinema, 2008, Scarecrow Press. 379 p.
9. Jones, Ernest. On the Nightmare, 1951, Liveright Publishing Corporation, 380 p.
10. Joshi, S.T., Icons of Horror and the Supernatural: an Encyclopedia of our Worst Nightmares, 2007, Greenwood Press, 824 p.
11. Kerstetter, Mark. The Extreme World of Eraserhead, 2008, Escape into Life,
12. King, Stephen. Danse Macabre, 1987, Berkley, 400 p.
13. Lovecraft, Howard. Supernatural Horror in Literature, 1973, Dover Publications, 111 p.
14. Norden, Martin. The Changing Face of Evil in Film and Television, 2007, Rodopi, 268 p.
15. Parker, Sam. Horror through the Decades, 2009, Empire, 6 p.
16. Pols, Mary. Let Me In: A Vampire Remake Worth Welcoming, 2011, Time,
17. Prince, Stephen. American Cinema of the 1980s: Themes and Variations, 2007, Rutgers University Press, 280 p.
18. Rainer. Peter. Cheap Thrills, 2008, New York Magazine, 2 p.
19. Seddon, Linda, The Zombie Apocalypse in Horror Stories Symbolizes Real Fears,
20. Tartakovsky, Margarita, Why Some People Love Horror Movies While Others Hate Them, www.psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/10/31/why-some-people-love-horror-movies-while-others-hate-them/
21. Thompson, Kirsten. Moana Apocalyptic Dread: American Film at the Turn of the Millenium, 2007, State University of New York Press, 195 p.
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