Week 3 Blog Post

Carroll (2003) and King (2010) discuss how the “monster” is really a defining feature of a horror story. Using references, explain in your own words how a monster in horror differentiates from monsters in other popular genres.

Monsters in horror, just like classic features of many other genres, have transformed over time. In classic films, we see the monster take forms such as Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy. Then later, as a serial killer or a kidnapper. Monsters can take on an infinite number of shapes and forms but what every single one of them has in common, is that they are all symbolic. King (2010) agrees that Horror “offers us a chance to exercise (that’s right; not exorcise but exercise) emotions which society demands we keep closely in hand,” (p. 47). Our monsters in Horror, symbolise worries and concerns that society has or had, at a certain point in history, and invites them to indulge in it.

Monsters in other genres, perhaps, do not have the same symbolic reasoning behind them. Whereas, Frankenstein could be seen as a representation of the fear that a lot of people had regarding the industrial revolution and the impact that growing technology might have on their lives. Monsters in other genres, are more usually a psychical force, something with malevolent intent that wants to kill or maim the population of the world. Monsters in other genres are more likely to have a yin to their yang. A hero, to counter the antagonist. Superhero films, for example, have another kind of monster. However, we know, as a feature of the sub-genre, the monsters very rarely, if ever, “win”. Monsters in Horror however, may not always follow the same pathway. Caroll (2003) adds that “the monster may also be threatening psychologically, morally or socially”, (p. 43). The monster might be something you cannot see, it might also be a place, or a house. It might be after your mind and not your body, it might seek to destroy order. Monsters in horror are not so easily put in a box. For those of us who live in relatively safe and stable environments, coming face to face with our worst nightmares might be something we like to seek out (Clasen, 2017).

Carroll, N. (2003). The Philosophy of Horror. New York: Routledge https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203361894

Clasen, M. (2017). Why Horror Seduces. New York: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1177/0267323118775780d

King, S., (2010). Danse Macabre. London: Hodder & Stoughton

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