Horror Mid-Term My Definition Term Paper

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Horror Mid-Term

My definition of horror has been reinforced through the various readings and films shown in the class. I have been able to learn more about how horror affects people at a psychological level and how horror is subjective. Regarding the construct of horror, I believe the artifice of horror can be replicated, but only if the events are represented in a straightforward realistic manner. I feel that the depiction of horrible events or circumstances, when told from an artistic perspective such as the House is Black, lose their effectiveness because it transforms the horrific into something beautiful. However, if a film integrates horrific real world perspectives into it, such as poverty and crime in Candyman, the audience becomes more sympathetic towards the characters and their condition.

Question 2.

In "Das Unheimlich (the Uncanny)," Sigmund Freud proposes that there is a correlation between the creation of horror in literature and psychology. While Freud's analysis is intended to focus on literature, it can also be applied to the constructs of horror in film. Among three of the most interesting elements in Freud's essay are the relationship the uncanny has with aesthetics, the concept of double or the doppelganger, and the importance of a common reality in the creation of the uncanny.

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One of the first elements Freud discussed is the uncanny's relationship with the uncanny. Just as beautiful is defined based upon how it arouses feelings of "a positive nature; and with the circumstances and the objects that call them forth," the uncanny can be defined in terms of the unease, including "repulsion and distress," it arouses. Moreover, because what is beautiful cannot be defined definitively because of its subjectivity, neither can horror or the uncanny. What is uncanny or horrifying to one person may not elicit the same response in another. This concept is important to consider when viewing horror films because it will affect how individual viewers react to what is being shown on screen.

Term Paper on Horror Mid-Term My Definition of Horror Has Assignment

Another interesting point Freud makes in his essay is the function of doubling or of a doppelganger. This concept is important within the realm of the uncanny because it allows for the transformation of something that is familiar into something that is unfamiliar. Without doubling, there uncanny cannot be defined. Doubling allows for something that was once considered good or safe to become bad or evil under certain circumstances. The impact doubling has on an individual is also subjective, however, Freud contends that many of the things that create fear and arouse feelings of unease are rooted in an individual's psyche, possibly passed down from generation to generation through literature and other psychological influencers such as parents.

The third uncanny element to be considered is the importance of creating a common reality. In "The Uncanny," Freud writes, "We adapt our judgment to the imaginary reality imposed on us by the writer…[and when] the writer pretends to move in the world of common reality…he accepts & #8230;all the conditions operating to produce uncanny feelings in real life." It is important for the writer, or in the case of film, the director, to create a reality that the reader/audience can relate to. If the audience cannot relate to what is being depicted on screen on or a page, they are detached from the action and thus, it may be harder for them to determine what is uncanny if they are unfamiliar with a reality or environment as a whole; if the alternate reality itself arouses feelings of the uncanny, then what the writer/director intended to arouse feelings of the uncanny may be lost.

Question 3.

During the course of the semester, we have watched several films that have aimed at eliciting feelings of horror and terror. Of these films, the most inspiring and influential films are those that highlight the destructive nature of humans and those films that emphasize the depravity of man. Of the films that are fictional, White Dog, Cruising, and Candyman emphasize the destructive and depraved nature of men. White Dog does a good job of demonstrating the nature vs. nurture dynamic. In this film, a white German shepherd has been trained to specifically target and kill black men and women by a white man. This film redefines concepts of horror because it demonstrates that man's hate has no boundaries. Not only are individuals raised to be prejudiced against certain people, but the film also demonstrates that hate can be taught to even the most innocent of creatures, those that do not differentiate between races naturally or instinctively. Cruising and Candyman arouse feelings of horror due to way society is depicted in each respective film. Cruising focuses on a police investigation that aims to catch a serial murderer that is targeting gay men who are into BDSM. This film was especially impactful not only because of the serial murders, but also because of its depiction of gay culture, as well as the film's realistic depiction of everyday life. Cruising was especially horrifying because of how it depicted the treatment of gays; in the film, two gay men are taken advantage of by two police officers from Precinct 6 simply because the police have the power, not the authority, to do so. Additionally, the serial murders in the film were horrifying because of their realism; to a certain extent, the murderers modus operandi (MO) paralleled real-life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's behavior, who was actively killing gay men he picked up in bars around the same time the film was made. Candyman is similarly horrifying because of how the social implications of poverty and race are depicted in the film. In the film, Candyman is associated with poverty and crime because of his haunting grounds at Cabrini-Green, one of Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods. The film not only highlights the dangers and horrors of living at the projects realistically, but it also manages to demonstrate how blacks were treated at different periods in history as the Candyman was the son of a slave who was killed for falling in love with a white woman. These three films are successful in depicting horror because of the realistic elements that are intertwined into their narratives. Many times, the scariest and most horrifying things on this earth are the people that inhabit it.

Question 4.

Of the readings we covered in class, the true crime passages were the most horrifying; especially impacting were the cases of Dr. H.H. Holmes in Chicago; Joseph Mumfre, the alleged Ax-Man of New Orleans; and Theodore Edward Coneys of Denver. Dr. H.H. Holmes' case is terrifying because of the circumstances under which the crimes occurred and because of Dr. Holmes' character as a person. In the reading, Dr. Holmes is described as presenting himself as a personable and charming man who was actually a devious murderer who took advantage of the influx of visitors to Chicago during the 1893 World's Fair. As if Holmes being a depraved murderer and con artist was not enough, he went as far as constructing a building specifically to torture and kill people using various methods. Holmes' case is frightening because it demonstrates the lengths people will go to in order to kill others. Furthermore, Holmes' case plays upon Freud's elements of the uncanny because of the duality of his nature. Holmes' case is especially effective in terms of horror films because it integrates Freud's uncanny with real-life events. Likewise, the axman murders of New Orleans are equally terrifying because of the nature of the crimes, and because of the reactions of the victims especially of Mrs. Cortimiglia, who accused her neighbors of being the axman because she simply did not like them. The axman murders are especially terrifying because Mumfre attacked anyone he had the opportunity to. He attacked indiscriminately and violently. Moreover, this case is terrifying because the authorities were never able to capture the Axman of New Orleans, but only investigated Mumfre after he was shot and killed, concluding that his release from jail coincided with the murders. This case would do well in horror films because of the ambiguity that remains after the fact. Furthermore, this case plays upon people's anxieties in a post-war era, which heighten the horror created by the murders. Lastly, Coneys' case arouses feelings of horror because it plays upon people's fears of an intruder being in their homes. In this case, Coneys broke into Peter Phillips home while Phillips' wife was in hospital, and begin living in the attic. He then proceeded to murder Phillips when he was caught in the house, at which point, he hid in the attic again. Once again, this case plays upon Freud's concept of doubling. Phillips believes he is safe in his home when in actuality, Coneys lies in wait, hiding in the recesses of his home, taking advantage of Phillips' absence and solitude. A 2008 incident in Japan where a woman lived in a man's home for a year without him noticing further accentuates the terrifying effect of this story. These three… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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