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The Importance Of Horror Films

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Horror is not a highly respected genre in the film industry. Even other not so famous genres like romantic comedies or westerns have numerous films that break the barriers of their respective fandoms and targeted audiences, and have been accepted as good art or cult classics, in fact. There have been certain horror films that do find support among film critics and interpreters of pop culture, however, as a whole horror films are seen as cheesy, goofy entertainment. They thrill audiences with violence and cheap laughs, and it is easy to write them off as jokes. However, there is a benefit to being overlooked, which is that as culture itself gravitates toward different concerns, the expression of those concerns changes within film and other forms of popular culture. In the 1950’s, the horror genre was characterized by a closed narrative that tended to reinforce the values of the traditional family and the government itself. Postmodern horror introduces new aspect to the genre¬–namely disrupting the order of society (primarily through the use of violence and other types of shocking ploy), and, unlike their predecessors, movies from the 1960’s and so forth left their endings open. In Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes (1977), the body count of the “normal” American family, the Carters against the clan of the cannibalistic and incestuous Jupiter’s is high, and the ending is unsatisfying by the separate view of good versus evil. Even though the movie ends with two good characters living, the fear and tragedy remain behind, insurmountable, and viewers are left with the feeling that things have not been and will not be resolved. Violence in the media is a definite hot button issue, and it has been argued that its use in film and television... ... middle of paper ... .... What horror does better than any other genre is to tell the audience that their worries are legitimate. It is transportative, as any art has the ability to be, and cathartic. Audiences are allowed to scream, to laugh, to experience the fears that they may not be fully aware of on a daily basis, brought to light by a certain horror film. In this postmodern world, the fears that feed into the horror genre have grown to encompass far more than they did before, and to move from the closed and comfortable narrative to the far more unsettling open-ended kind. Even though the audience may in some ways feel better for seeing their fears projected onto the screen and made almost comical in their exaggeration, the lack of resolution and the increasing normalcy of horror topics and setting points to an evolution of the genre that makes it more pervasive and harder to ignore.
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