Week 8 – Anime

According to Callavaro (2006), what does Miyazaki think about happy endings, and how do manga and anime more generally diverge from Western narrative conventions?

In the introductory chapter of Callavaro (2006), readers are given a primer into Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki. During this section, Miyazaki’s philosophy towards endings are briefly touched upon. With Callavaro (2006) stating that when ending his films, Miyazaki purposely avoids the kind of endings which effectively resolves every loose end. Which Miyazaki himself explains is because he had refrained from trying to make films with happy endings in the most traditional sense a long time ago. Instead opting to mimic the unpredictable nature of life.

This aspect of his work arguably carried over into that of his intended successor, Yoshifumi Kondo. Which we can see in the only feature length film directed by him prior to his sudden death. Whisper of the Heart, like much of Miyazaki’s work ends on an ambiguous note. Allowing for viewers to contemplate what becomes of the characters in the future. Effectively allowing them to linger in our minds and hearts for much longer than if we had a conventional ending that gave resolution to every plot point, or a “happy” ending as described by this week’s question.

One way in which anime and manga diverge from western narrative conventions is with regards to how integral the two mediums are to one another. With anime adaptations of manga often playing into how familiar audiences are with the source material. Which some have felt are the reasons for the initially lacklustre reception to films such as Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira. (Callavaro, 2006). Something we can arguably see today in western media with the numerous live action adaptations of western comic book properties.

According to Callavaro, how is he positioned in regard to war and coming of age?

In Callavaro (2006), Miyazaki is referred to as being a strong advocate of pacifism and egalitarian ideologies. This is in part due to what could be described as the transgenerational guilt he felt over his family’s complicity in Japan’s involvement in World War II. As his family’s businesses were directly involved in the production of rudders used on the warplanes of which the infamous kamikaze aerial tactic is derived from. Additionally, his shame stems from privileges this position brought his family. Allowing them to reside in the rural town of Utsonomiya, just shy of Tokyo. Which meant they were spared from seeing the eventual wartime horrors the firebombing of Tokyo would bring. This guilt would be the basis of films such as Porco Rosso and the more recent The Wind Rises.

With regards to coming of age stories, Miyazaki’s films almost exclusively employ young, female heroines that subvert expectations within Japan’s shoujo subgenre of fiction. Which typically portray their heroines as being inherently passive. Miyazaki on the other hand does the opposite. Choosing to portray his female leads as courageous and independent women who are “active”. Additonally, Miyazaki avoids depicting these characters in ways that cater to consumers of anime and manga that desire sexualised imagery in the visual design of female characters (Callavaro, 2006, p. 11).

 

References

Cavallaro, D. (2006). Introduction. In The animé art of Hayao Miyazaki (pp. 5-14). Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

 

Week 7 – Comics

What issues do his albums raise in terms of representation of ‘race’, and particularly ethnic and cultural stereotyping?

How decisively did Hergé address this issue from The Blue Lotus on, and in what ways did it remain problematic?

Herge’s depiction of various cultures throughout his run of the Tintin comics varied from caricatures rooted in stereotypes of the time, to depictions that showed a more informed and nuanced attempt at the representation of others. Herge’s depiction of African people in particular often comes under scrutiny. With many citing earlier works such as Tintin in the Congo as the worst in this regard. With Mountfort (2012) noting that Herge himself considered it to be one of the biggest regrets of his youth, along with the propagandistic Tintin in the land of the Soviets.

According to Mountfort (2012), part of the criticism stems from portraying the indigenous people of Africa using exaggerated physical features that included the caricature of “juju lips”. Additionally, it is also due to portraying them with characteristics that propagated ideas of racial inferiority such as Africans being inherently bloodthirsty, lazy or childlike. These depictions are also criticised due to the lack of self-awareness it shows in portraying the realities of the Congo under Belgium’s colonial rule. A regime that had reduced the Congolese population from 20 million to 10 million within a 30-year period.

Part of this can be attributed with the fact that unlike the titular protagonist of the series, Herge himself rarely travelled. Basing most of the depictions on research he had conducted at Belgium’s Royal Museum for Central Africa (Mountfort, 2012).

It is with Tintin and the Blue Lotus that we see Herge attempt to make amends for this. The album set in China prior to Japan’s involvement in WWII, avoids depicting the Chinese in the manner Herge had done with the Congolese. Instead of using exaggerated caricatures, the Chinese are depicted with neutral physical features. Supposedly in an attempt at making them appear less alien and confronting to readers (Mountfort, 2012).

However, Herge doesn’t apply the same philosophy to the Japanese. Instead choosing to do the opposite and draw them using extremely exaggerated facial features. Not too far off from the anti-Japanese propaganda used by America during WWII. Resulting in what Lasar-Robinson referred to as the deasianisation of the Chinese, and the hyperasianisation of the Japanese. It should be noted that Herge’s attempts here came from a place of heart, with his friendship with a Chinese arts student influencing the basis of albums including the aforementioned Tintin and the Blue Lotus, as well as the recurring character of Chang (Mountfort, 2012).

There have been times when the representation of race has been outside of the control of Herge’s hands though. With later printings of Tintin in America effectively white washing certain Black characters. Due to publisher concerns that felt the original iterations would promote the idea of race mixing in a what was considered a children’s book (Mountfort, 2012).

We can assume that Herge’s earlier attempts at portraying other cultures were in large part due to not only his own ignorance, but also Belgium’s as a whole. With later albums such as Tintin in Tibet and The Blue Lotus showing that he is capable of more nuanced approaches in portraying other cultures. At the same time though, these heartfelt and informed attempts were sometimes criticised too. Showing there was always room for improvement in this area.

 

References

Mountfort, P. (2012). ‘Yellow skin, black hair … careful, Tintin’: Hergé and orientalism. Australasian Journal of Popular Culture1(1), 33-49. doi:10.1386/ajpc.1.1.33_1

 

Week 5 – Cult TV

In the opening section of their book which discussed the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Wilcox & Lavery (2002) set out to see how well the show fared against a set of attributes media scholar Robert Thompson felt were exhibited by “quality television”. For this blog post, I will be applying some of these attributes to HBO’s Baltimore set drama The Wire.

The first attribute discussed was one which related to the pedigree of a show’s creator. Wilcox & Lavery (2002) noted that while Joss Whedon’s work prior to the development of Buffy consisted mostly of being a sort of doctor for film screenplays. His pedigree comes from being part of a lineage of television writers who contributed to a number of popular shows of the 20th century. In the case of The Wire though, its creator’s pedigree arguably comes from their past work and experience. Prior to The Wire, David Simon (the show’s creator) was a crime journalist at The Baltimore Sun for over 13 years. During which he released his first novel titled Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. Which went on to win an Edgar Award and was eventually adapted into an award-winning television series that lasted for over seven seasons on NBC (Britannica, 2019).

The second attribute discussed referred to the ongoing struggle of a show’s viability in the eyes of its broadcaster. Whilst critically acclaimed throughout its run, the amount of people who actually tuned in to watch The Wire could be described as middling, especially when compared with the viewership of other HBO shows of the time. With Simon citing a myriad of factors for its low ratings such as the show’s timeslot, or its heavy use of regional dialects and urban terminology that would have alienated some viewers.

The presence of an ensemble cast is also noted as being another attribute of quality television. The Wire featured an expansive cast of actors that included the likes of Idris Elba, Michael B. Jordan and Lance Reddick. Who alongside their fellow cast members played roles ranging from police officers and gang members/criminals which are common place in crime drama and police procedurals, to anything from local politicians and dock employees.  Each of these characters are integral in helping accurately portray the various facets of Baltimore life the show attempted to explore. Which in itself lead to the show feeling like a blend of multiple genres at times. Which in itself is another defining aspect of “quality television” (Wilcox & Lavery, 2002). With scenes involving mayoral candidates and state senators giving the show the kind of overtly political undertones you’d expect from something created by the likes of Aaron Sorkin, and interactions between gang members and police giving The Wire its crime drama feel.

Lastly, there is memory. As noted in Wilcox & Lavery (2002), Whedon expressed disappointment over shows such as the X-Files whose characters seemingly forgot interactions or events in prior episodes. Both the characters of The Wire and the show itself however retain memories of past events. And use them to propel story arcs forward. Whether they be the death of recurring characters or a violent altercation. A prime example is the character of Omar Little, the show’s recurring stick up (a form of robbery) artist who enters a seemingly endless cycle of revenge and violence with the show’s focal gangs due to the death of a love interest.

If there is another characteristic to be added to this list. I would say that whether a show is discussed long after its run could be used as a defining characteristic of “quality television”. Something which Buffy fits the criteria for given talk about reboots or its use in a certain course at an Auckland based university. Or in the case of The Wire, its moniker of sometimes being referred to as the “best tv show ever” even to this day.

References

Augustyn, A. (2019). David Simon. Retrieved September 16, 2019, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/David-Simon

Wilcox, R., & Lavery, D. (2002). Introduction. In Fighting the forces: What’s at stake in buffy the vampire slayer (pp. 3-9). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

 

Assessment 2: Fan fiction + Commentary

Buffy Fanfiction

It was little over a day since Buffy and Dawn said goodbye to their mother. They and the rest of the Scooby Gang still trying to make sense of Joyce’s sudden death. For a group of friends who had dealt with everything from the Master’s apocalyptic plans for the world, to the Initiative’s failed science project Adam. The gang had seemingly reached their breaking point with the weight of the world resting on their shoulder’s once more, along with Joyce’s death still fresh in their minds.

For Dawn in particular, the death hit especially hard. Having only just come to terms with her seemingly predestined fate as “the key”. Trapped in the house with nothing but one of Willow’s old computers she had given to the Summers. Dawn become somewhat accustomed to using it and browsing what Willow referred to as “the web”. It was a seemingly endless world, full of anything from animated pictures called GIFs, to a website full of reviews for Giles’ magic shop. However, using the web meant that the house phone wasn’t able to work. For technical reasons beyond Buffy and Dawn’s understanding despite Willow’s best efforts.

But even the web couldn’t quell the boredom of a recently bereaved teenage girl under what felt like house arrest. So Dawn did what rebellious teenagers do best and snuck out of the house. She unfortunately doesn’t get far before Buffy notices something is up when she can actually use the home phone. Buffy eventually finds Dawn in Sunnydale’s favourite video rental store named “Rent a Tape”. Where she’s finds her tearing up at the sight of Thelma & Louise, a film their mother had loved dearly and had rented several times even during Dawn’s short time with the family.

After a quick sisterly embrace, Buffy asks: “Should we rent it out? One last time? For mom?”

To which Dawn nods agreeingly. The sisters walk home with the tape in Buffy’s hands. Weary of the looming threat of Glory’s minions at any moment. They arrive home, rewind the tape and prepare for one last viewing of Thelma & Louise. The one thing in the world Joyce Summers loved watching more than the soap opera Passions. As the film plays, Dawn’s struggles to stay focussed. Her mind drifting between memories of her mother and pondering the idea of a means of resurrection knowing what she does of the mystical forces at play within Sunnydale. But she puts these thoughts aside and watches the film one last time as if her mother was in the room.

The next day arrives, and Dawn has a clear idea of what her plans are going to be. She is going to find a way to resurrect her mother. But does she ask Willow and Tara for help? Or does she go digging through Giles’ store? Willow and Tara would likely never help. Not wanting to interfere with the natural order of things and the consequences that would bring. While Giles would try to talk her out of it or tell Buffy if he caught her snooping around his store full of mysterious, magical things. So that left Dawn with one option, the endless world of the web. She starts by searching “RESSURECTION MAGIC” on Boogle. But is only met with discussions around various fantasy novels.

After hours of searching, she finally stumbles upon a promising lead. A thread created by user named M@GIK M@N on a message board dedicated to the teaching of magic, curses and a lot of weird things. The thread describes the summoning of a powerful being known by the name of Srnik. With the powers to give anyone what they desire most.

The thread details the seemingly simple summoning process:

“At night, when the moon has risen”

“Step forth, into its light”

“Sing your favourite song”

“Ring your loudest bell”

“And Srnik shall appear”

So Dawn waits until night arrives to attempt the ritual. But in between this and all her research. Giles has arrived at the Summers’ house to take over from Buffy in looking after Dawn for the evening. Giles knocks on Dawn’s door to check in on her.

“Dawn, it’s me Giles.”

“Buffy’s left some money for us. So we can order in some Chinese food or Pizza if you’d like”

“Chinese sounds great Giles.”

“Alright, well if you need me. You’ll know where I am.”

“Thanks Giles”

Giles returns to the living room. As does Dawn to the computer. Eventually, after what felt like an eternity to her. The moon had finally risen, and with it came the night sky. She opens the window in her bedroom, steps onto the balcony and does what the website asked.

Giles tries to order Chinese food but is met with the weird, high pitched noise that meant Dawn’s computer was using the web. Dawn repeats the process, but nothing seems to happen. Frustrated, she decides to call it a day. Soon both her and Giles fall asleep.

They awake to different dreams. For Giles he is back at Sunnydale High with his beloved Jenny. For Dawn, she is helping Joyce prepare dinner for the eventual arrival of the Scooby Gang. For a moment, both of them are the happiest they’ve ever been. But the mood is cut short when Giles reaches in for a passionate kiss and Dawn a hug only her mother could give. Suddenly they are transported to a mysterious place neither could recognise. Where they were greeted by an unknown figure.

“Hello, I’m deeply sorry to interrupt your dream.”

 

“I believe you’ve used my services in hope of bringing back a loved one.”

 

“But I regret to inform you that I cannot, and will not do that”

 

“I can only provide you with glimpses in whatever your heart desires”

 

“And even then, only for a brief window of time”

 

“I must also recommend that you do not pursue acts of necromancy, resurrection or any form of magic that interferes with the natural order of your world. The consequences would be too severe for your mortal bodies and minds.”

Before Dawn or Giles even have a chance to speak. The mysterious figure vanishes from sight, and they both awake from their pleasant experiences. With Giles thinking it was nothing but a weird dream, and Dawn unsure if it was due to the ritual or purely a coincidence. Nonetheless, Dawn is able to find some sense of closure from seeing Joyce as she remembered her for one last time. Instead of the lifeless, pale body she saw in the morgue. Suddenly, loud noises are heard coming from the house’s backdoor. Giles reaches for the phone, but is met by the weird, high pitched noises that meant Dawn’s computer was connected to the web.

To Be Continued …

Exegesis

Initially this fan fiction was centred around the character of Rupert Giles, and him pursuing a way to bring back Jenny Calendar from the dead. However, for anyone who has seen Buffy. They’d know Giles with all his experience as a watcher would likely never pursue anything as drastic as this. However, one could argue against this reasoning by citing the character of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce in Angel. Another former watcher, but one who undergoes a drastic change in personality following the death of a love interest.

So I set out to make a fan fiction centred around the themes of loss and grief. Naturally turning to the episodes of “The Body” and “Forever” for inspiration. Deciding on an episode, arc or chapter which focussed on Dawn’s grieving process for her mother. A character that is often derided amongst fans. Knowing Dawn’s relative uselessness in combatting the threats of Sunnydale, I had to avoid relying on the monster of the week approach earlier seasons had done.

The story starts off in the seemingly normal world of Sunnydale. The inclusion of the internet as a recurring plot device was my way of implementing the narrative beat referred to as “tapping the digital oracle” in Jones (2019). However, I also felt that it was a thematically appropriate plot device given the distance between the Summers sisters in the arc of Buffy, Dawn not having the mentor relationship that Giles and Buffy had, and the somewhat mysterious status the internet had in the late 90s and early 2000s. Joyce Summers’ death on the other hand acts as “the shift” (Jones, 2019) which sets the story in motion. The inclusion of Thelma & Louise alongside the soap opera Passions were small nods to little details about the character (Joyce) that were revealed over the course of the show. Which helped make the fanfiction feel more plausible in the world of Buffy.

Ending the chapter with Dawn having a little bit of closure, instead of pursuing resurrection to the lengths she does in the show’s canon was how I tried to implement the beat of embracing the reversal.

References

Jones, N. (2019). The Collective Journey [Word Document]. Retrieved from https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/bbcswebdav/pid-4933865-dt-content-rid-10660461_4/xid-10660461_4

 

Week 4 – Post Horror & Torture Porn

Rose (2017) defines this modern boom of prestige horror as “Post-Horror.” What does he mean by this term? Find and read some critiques on his definition online and respond to both. Do you think Post-Horror is a valid term or not? Using examples and references explain your position.

With films such as It Comes at Night straying from many of the tropes and conventions audiences are accustomed to seeing from the horror genre. Film critic Steve Rose coined the term “post-horror” in an attempt at defining this shift. According to Rose (2017), post-horror avoids relying on tropes that have become almost synonymous with the genre. Instead of jump scares or the kind of graphic violence which saw a resurgence thanks in part due to horror films released in the early 2000s (Reyes, 2014). Post-horror plays with these expectations (sometimes unintentionally through marketing) and instead explores the horrors humans are capable of. Rather than some titular creature a title such as It Comes at Night would suggest. In this case, the film can be described as an exploration of the anxieties being in a post-apocalyptic world would bring. Whilst the contagion the film’s setting is framed around is undoubtedly an important aspect. The film uses it to develop believable scenarios for the characters to react to (at least by horror film standards) instead of using it as a means of producing endless undead/zombie fodder.

Whilst it isn’t necessarily the most accurate method of gauging public opinion on the subject. Discussion on the popular website Reddit would suggest that many see the term as an attempt at defending these films from criticism and the divisive opinions these films have received from general audiences. With some referring to Rose’s piece as a meaningless and nonsensical take from a “hipster’. While others have cited that some of what is described in Rose’s piece has always been present or important in horror fiction. With the only difference being these recent films managing to find widespread success (at least commercially) when compared with their predecessors (Brown, 2019).

Personally, I can sort of understand where both parties are coming from. If one looks at the user reviews of the above film on review aggregators such as Metacritic. A large number of them express disappointment due to expectations set by the positive critical reception the film garnered prior to release, as well as advertising that would give the impression that the film would be more in line with popular (horror) films of the past (Metacritic, 2017). On one hand you have a significant portion of the audience who feel deceived, and film critics on the other trying to justify why they liked such films.

With that said, I view post-horror as a valid way to describe this era of horror. However, for a genre that is sometimes cited as the most profitable in film. It’s likely that another term will replace it. As the term “post-horror” would arguably have elitist or gatekeeping connotations if reception on reddit is an indicator of things.

According to Carroll, what is the role of torture in the torture porn franchises Saw and Hostel? Using references, explain this in your own words. How do you think these purposes might relate to the socio-political environment of that time period and such events like 9/11 and the Abu Ghraib torture scandal?

At a glance, one could assume that the graphic violence and themes (often referred to as torture porn) prominent in the Hostel and Saw franchises are simply a means of evoking reactions from viewers. Xavier Aldana Reyes, an academic in both film and literature studies, views torture porn’s purpose in these films differently.

In the case of the original Hostel, Reyes (2014) describes torture porn as a way for the European inhabitants of Hostel’s world to flip the power dynamic on the unsuspecting American tourists. A power dynamic established early in the film as the lead characters (Paxton and Josh) are experiencing Amsterdam’s nightlife for the first time. Where it is made apparent that their trip is in part motivated by the allure of romantic partners and casual sex. This inherently objectifies the women of these countries and gives additional purpose to the activities of the film’s antagonists, the Elite Hunting Club (EHC).

While the EHC’s main purpose is to provide subjects for its members to fulfil their sadistic desires and needs on. Intentionally or unintentionally, this also results in the film’s leads becoming objectified themselves. Taking away the control and rights they have over their bodies. A role reversal of sorts from when Paxton refers to a sex worker as a “fuckin hog”.

In the case of Saw though, its antagonist Jigsaw acts as a sort of moral vigilante or judge throughout the franchise, choosing to put his victims in situations where they must inflict self-harm to live or proceed further in his games. With each body part maimed, amputated or harmed having an association or link with the victim’s perceived wrongdoing. Torture porn is essentially used by Jigsaw as a means of ridding his victims of their supposed sins (Reyes, 2014).

With regards to how these purposes could be related to current events of the time such as the terrorist attacks of September 11. The argument could be made that Hostel exploits the post 9/11 psyche of the western world and uses this inherit fear of foreign others in a similar manner expressed by Reyes (2014, p. 128) when discussing Zac Berman’s Borderland and its reinvention of the hillbilly tradition in horror.

References

Brown, M. (2019, May 15). The problem with ‘post-horror?. Retrieved from https://overland.org.au/2019/05/the-problem-with-post-horror/

Metacritic. (2017). It comes at night – User reviews. Retrieved September 2, 2019, from https://www.metacritic.com/movie/it-comes-at-night/user-reviews

Reyes, X. A. (2014). Torture porn. In Body gothic: Corporeal transgression in contemporary literature and horror film (pp. 122-143). Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

Rose, S. (2017, July 6). How post-horror movies are taking over cinema. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jul/06/post-horror-films-scary-movies-ghost-story-it-comes-at-night

Week 3 – History of Horror

Both Hendrix (2018) and King (2010) take us through the horror history of the 60s 70s and 80s. Using references, explain this process in your own words, then think about the current trends of horror movies in your life time. What kinds of social of political changes in the world during these times do you think can be reflected in the horror you’ve read/watched/heard from that particular era?

While the horror genre as of late is experiencing a resurgence in popularity with the critical and commercial success of films such as the recent adaptation of Stephen King’s It. The genre spent most of the 20th century trying to gain the recognition and legitimacy other genres held within the literary canon. When horror enthusiasts think of a notable era for the genre, the latter half of the 20th century from the 60s and onwards is often cited as somewhat of a golden age. With auteurs such as Dario Argento and authors like Stephen King being prolific throughout the period.

The 60s ushered in a wave of cultural change that came as the result of factors such as the civil rights movement, and ongoing political tension between America and the communist powers of the time. For written forms of horror however, it marked a time when publishers tried their best to shake off the genre’s stigma when trying to market it to the mainstream. Often resorting to cover art that suggested something was from a more accepted genre, or in some cases the absence of the term (horror) itself when describing a story on its cover or blurb (Hendricks, 2018). This perception of the genre arguably extended into filmmaking, as productions of horror films during the 50s and 60s (at least in America) were often conducted in a rushed manner that usually started without even having a completed script (King, 2010).

The 70s would see the beginning of America’s attempt at curbing the global drug trade with what is now known as the war on drugs, as well as the growing involvement of the west in the conflict taking place in French Indochina. Figures synonymous with horror’s modern era would also finally make mainstream debuts. With Stephen King releasing Carrie in 1974 and John Carpenter releasing the seminal slasher film Halloween in 1978. Films such as The Omen and The Exorcist would carry inherit religious undertones with them through their subject matter and arguably draw inspiration from the gothic romance genre mentioned in Hendricks (2018).

During the 80s, the trend of graphic horror films that started in the 70s with Halloween and Ridley Scott’s Alien would continue with films such as Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street. The trend coincided with a time when audiences around the world were accustomed to seeing the harsh realities of war or reports of grisly murders on their television sets. Growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s, horror films varied from ones which centred around the ideas of urban myths or folk legends such as Candyman and The Blair Witch Project, adaptations of existing Japanese horror properties, the attempted revivals of both The Omen and Exorcist franchises, and the torture porn genre popularised by franchises such as the Saw franchise.

Throughout the history of horror though, whether it’s from the early 60s or present time. Whether it was premarital sex, hysteria from serial killers on the loose, or even fears associated with atomic radiation. It wouldn’t be an unpopular opinion to say that horror films gave viewers a glimpse into the views of that society.

References

 

Hendrix, G. (2018). Prologue. In Paperbacks from hell: The twisted history of ’70s and ’80s horror fiction. Philadelphia, PA: Quirk Books.

King, S. (2010). Danse Macabre. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Week 2 – Cosmicism

What is the philosophy of cosmicism? and how is it used to convey a sense of dread in both The Shadow over Innsmouth and The Void 

The philosophy of cosmicism (sometimes referred to as cosmic horror) is one that cannot be disassociated from the work of H.P Lovecraft and of those influenced by them. According to Stableford (2006), cosmic horror deals with concepts such as the insignificance and naivety of humankind. In Steven Kostanki and Jeremy Gillespie’s horror film The Void and Lovecraft’s own The Shadow over Innsmouth, these ideas are explored and used to help convey a sense of dread felt by the characters of these worlds. According to Miriam-Webster’s online dictionary, dread refers to either the fear one can have of an event which will occur, or the more archaic use of the term which refers to the reverence one can hold towards someone or something (Miriam-Webster, n.d). The Void arguably presents dread under both definitions through the expected trappings associated with the horror genre, in addition to the motivations behind the actions of the film’s occult figures.

While monsters are a hallmark of the horror genre, the appearance of the creatures in The Void do not adhere to the fixed laws of nature referenced in Stableford (2006). Instead, they evoke imagery associated with creatures from works of fiction such as William Home Hodgson’s The Hog, films such as John Carpenter’s The Thing and video games such as those belonging to id Software’s Doom franchise. Creatures in works of fiction such as these are often presented as having aspects of their appearance that are either derived from, or reminiscent of something that is within the realm of possibility from our knowledge of the world. On the other hand, these creatures often exhibit physical features which suggest that they are either from another world or are inherently dangerous due to our unfamiliarity with their appearances.

The creatures in The Void exhibit humanoid features in part due to them being human corpses which have been reanimated and transformed. For the characters of The Void, the mere existence of these creatures brings into question what little they may actually know about the world they live in. For Daniel Carter and Allison Fraser, this knowledge gives an ounce of justification to the actions of their friend Richard. Who cheats death and is the leader of a mysterious cult which engages in questionable activities to say the least. This knowledge would also lead to dread in the form of the possibility that Richard may actually be right, and that there is a way to bring back loved ones who have since passed (significant because Daniel and Alison had recently lost a child). Which would mean that they would have to follow a path similar to Richard’s. In The Shadow over Innsmouth, its central characters or creatures are described as sentient, humanoid beings with an appearance that is reminiscent of fish. Additionally, the knowledge of the deep ones’ existence and assimilation within the world conveys a central tenet of cosmicism discussed in Stableford (2006). Where the human consciousness is conveniently or wilfully blind to the realities of the world.

 

References

Miriam Webster. (n.d.). Definition of dread. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dread

Stableford, B. (2007). The cosmic horror. In Icons of horror and the supernatural: An encyclopedia of our worst nightmares (pp. 65-92). Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Publishing Group.