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Lightning Knight
Feb 24, 2012

Shoot First


Horror! Spooky stuff, too spooky for you maybe. Whether it comes as movies, TV, books, comics, games, you name it, horror is a wide spanning and fascinating genre focused on the scary and the grotesque. Wikipedia defines the horror genre as "a genre of fiction which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle their readers or viewers by inducing feelings of horror and terror." From Edgar Allen Poe to Stephen King, from Stanley Kubrick to Hammer Films, from complex and deep to cash grab shovelware for the Halloween season, horror comes in many varied and exciting forms and is a popular genre.

This thread, however, is to specifically focus on a well-known but not so often talked about dimension of horror: its status as a genre full of social commentary, reflections of social context, and often conservative or reactionary politics with regards to race, gender, class, sexuality, and other issues. Because of the nature of this subforum, we will be focusing specifically on race, gender, and sexuality, and how horror genre pieces (probably mostly film, but other things are welcome!) treat these subjects and portray minorities and their place in society.

Any kind of horror, from fantasy to science fiction to slasher to eldritch Lovecraftian affairs is welcome here. Try to keep it to horror though. While things like psychological or political thrillers sometimes cross the genre lines into horror, they usually aren't quite the same thing. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as an obvious example, is a recent, popular thriller film that has dark themes and interesting gender politics, but isn't really relevant to this thread. Keep it spooky, people.

Note that this also isn't intended to be PYF: Horror Property. It's about the gender, sexual, and race politics of horror genre pieces. If you have some weird, strange, obscure horror film you really, really love and want to share, but it doesn't have any pertinent sociopolitical points and is otherwise only contributing as "look at this weird thing you've never heard of, guys," it probably doesn't belong here. I expect this thread to largely focus on more well known American properties and maybe some classic stuff like Dracula or Frankenstein, but foreign stuff and especially stuff in non-English languages is welcome. Please respect copyright insofar as it applies to forum rules so we don't get in trouble, and remember not to image leech.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7ddq1S0aoU - "Open Letter to Black People in Horror Movies"

Some interesting pieces to spur discussion, regardless of whether or not you agree with them:

EverGreen: The Horror Genre and Social Commentary

The Guardian: Crash and Squirm

ComingSoon: Black (Fear) on Both Sides: Thinking About Race in Horror Films.

Off|Screen: Issues of Gender in the Horror Genre, Part 1, The Final Girl: A Few Thoughts on Feminism and Horror

Taste of Cinema: 15 of the Best Horror Films With Social-Political Subtext

Morbidly Beautiful: Horror Films as Social Commentary

None of these are meant to be authoritative or even reflect my opinion, just to be used as food for thought or discussion prompts.

So, here we have a space to discuss the social and political meaning in horror, whether it's current or historical, and how they relate to race, gender, and sexuality. Discuss away!

Lightning Knight fucked around with this message at Jan 23, 2017 around 11:20

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Darth Walrus
Feb 13, 2012
:gas;


I guess the obvious example would be cosmic horror, given that its founder, H. P. Lovecraft, was notoriously, hysterically racist even by the standards of the time, and it's kind of left an imprint on it and its associated genres - both through the obvious stuff, like African tribes plotting the downfall of Western civilisation, the physical corruption of good, upstanding white people through terrible alien heritages, and monsters like Shub-Niggurath, the Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young, and through more subtle aspects. See, there's a significant argument that much of cosmic horror is born out of specific white-guy anxieties, the idea that 'our' (there's always an assumed 'us') supremacy is an illusion, humanity is a bunch of small, pathetic apes crawling around on a ball of dirt, and our great civilisation is a transitory detail predicated on higher powers never taking notice of us. In this context, an alien-invasion narrative becomes scary for the implied role-reversal - 'we' have gone from coloniser to colonised, our homes, our culture, and even our bodies taken and repurposed by a merciless, unknowable higher power. Note the added layer of racism even in that - when the colonial parallels are more explicit, the 'unknowability' of the invaders tends to be an implied reflection of the vast gap between Western colonial powers and the nations they occupied. This time, we are the untermenschen.

For a modern example, the early works of Laird Barron in particular leaned hard into this anxiety - while he's started to mix it up a little more with his later works, his earlier protagonists were all wealthy, middle-aged, ultra-manly white men raised on a diet of steak and pugilism who found themselves utterly, humiliatingly powerless before the horrors from beyond. should stress here that this doesn't mean that the entire genre is a cesspit of unexamined racism - there's a growing amount of cosmic horror that addresses a great deal of the coded baggage of the whole thing (like Ruthanna Emrys's The Litany of Earth, which re-imagines the sinister fish-people of The Shadow over Innsmouth as yet another of America's downtrodden, demonised minorities), but that doesn't negate the fact that the genre has baggage.

It would be fascinating to look at works that are built so comprehensively around, say, the anxieties of black people or gay people. Horror's really interesting because it's a shared, coded acknowledgement of what a particular group fears, which can be extremely revealing. Any particular suggestions?

Plom Bar
Jun 5, 2004

hardest time i ever done

Just earlier today I saw a poem on this exact subject that I think speaks for itself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7ddq1S0aoU

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

You see more and more fourth wall breaking with more recent horror movies, where the token black character is painfully aware of their likely fate and tend to be the more wary member of the group.

Along those lines, you also see this stereotype of black/Latino characters being ironically scared of something mundane (Samuel Jackson playing a guy being incredibly grossed out by blood in Kingsmen,for example). This 'Elephant scared of a mouse' type joke assumes irony in the person being scared by mundane things because the racist assumption that a person of color is more likely to be 'tough/thuggish/etc'.

Not literally horror movies per se, but also observe how viral prank videos gone wrong get when it's a black person doing something, like the video where a guy dressed as a scarecrow to startle people trick or treating at his house. Most families just got startled but when he did it to a black guy the black guy just instantly decked him (them immediately after realized it was just a joke and helped him back up). People laughed at the man's reaction, but I'm sure it was his race, and how people figured it dictated his reaction, that made the video as popular. Would the video have gone as viral had it been a white guy that reacted this way? Maybe, but I don't think people would have thought it was quite as funny.

Another aspect of this is the fact that many people of color get stereotyped as being agressive, intimidating and quick to violence. So it can be reassuring to a white audience when this gets turned on its head, like having a ganbanger act like a huge sissy, or having violent behavior humorously misdirected.

unwantedplatypus
Sep 6, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Plom Bar posted:

Just earlier today I saw a poem on this exact subject that I think speaks for itself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7ddq1S0aoU

Art imitates life

lizardman
Jun 30, 2007

by R. Guyovich


I realize this is the Great Race Space, but thread title does include gender and sex in there so I'll plug one of the most cited texts regarding gender and sex issues in horror movies (with an emphasis on slashers): Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film by Carl J. Clover.

The general thrust of Clover's book is that audiences at first identify with the killer/monster in a horror movie, getting enjoyment at seeing mostly pretty young promiscuous women getting killed, and any discomfort or guilt from doing so is assuaged because at the end, the audience shifts their identification with the surviving, often chaste female protagonist - the "Final Girl" - who often dons a more masculine characterization and destroys the killer/monster, often with a phallic weapon like a machete.

Arguably the most successful high-profile movie to directly deal with these themes is Scream, in which a character submits that one of the "Rules" of horror movies is that you can never have sex and expect to live. At the end of the movie we discover implicitly (I suppose I should mention this is a spoiler for what's now a 20-year-old movie that's been played all the time on TV) that the killer has been trying to guilt-trip the main character, Sidney, into having sex with him specifically so that he can kill her. In spite of the fact that he was successful in bedding her, however, Sidney ain't having it and kills him and goes on to live through three sequels. I think it's also important to note that Scream tries hard to keep audience identification tied to the victims' perspective - there are virtually no POV shots from the killer's perspective, and character deaths are treated as genuine tragedies rather than something cool or fun.

One thing I'll submit (and this might not totally jive with Clover's thesis) is I think in general horror is a feminine (if not frequently feminist) genre. Especially in horror movies with female protagonists (and it's notable that a great many, maybe a majority of them are), the monster is a metaphor for men in general. Horror is about the world being a big scary place where you're just minding your business but malevolent forces are stalking you, pursuing you, giving you unwanted attention, wanting to posses your body, and/or kill or surprise sex you. Contrasting this with what's generally been a more masculine genre like action or adventure, which tend to be about an ascent to greatness, a deliverance from obscurity, foiling a powerful enemy's plans, or otherwise imposing yourself on the world. I think this is the reason female action icons like Sigourney Weaver's Ripley and Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor came from IPs with horror roots (Alien, Terminator).

I'm down for a discussion about race, too, but I think I'll give it its own post. In the meantime, I think this clip is pretty appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCkomafwLZM

Talmonis
Jun 24, 2012
The fairy of forgiveness has removed your red text.

It may be rose colored glasses, but I think the original Alien was pretty great when it comes to defying the trope of "disposable black guy," not to mention having an amazing, non hyper-sexualized woman as the heroine.

John Carpenter's The Thing is another example of competent Black characters not being disposable victims. Childs is even one of the two "survivors."

xthetenth
Dec 30, 2012

Mario wasn't sure if this Jeb guy was a good influence on Yoshi.



lizardman posted:

One thing I'll submit (and this might not totally jive with Clover's thesis) is I think in general horror is a feminine (if not frequently feminist) genre. Especially in horror movies with female protagonists (and it's notable that a great many, maybe a majority of them are), the monster is a metaphor for men in general. Horror is about the world being a big scary place where you're just minding your business but malevolent forces are stalking you, pursuing you, giving you unwanted attention, wanting to posses your body, and/or kill or surprise sex you. Contrasting this with what's generally been a more masculine genre like action or adventure, which tend to be about an ascent to greatness, a deliverance from obscurity, foiling a powerful enemy's plans, or otherwise imposing yourself on the world. I think this is the reason female action icons like Sigourney Weaver's Ripley and Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor came from IPs with horror roots (Alien, Terminator).

That is an interesting perspective. Horror as a dark reflection of the world of female sexuality seems to have some mileage, with sex exposing the (particularly female) participants in it to danger. I'm not a huge fan of the genre so I don't have the depth of examples to really try to carry the discussion though. For people with more experience in the genre, do you have a feel for whether it seems intentional that the films are reflecting a kind of societal ranking of how much it makes sense for someone to die or it's more a mirror that society's projected onto?

Tobermory
Mar 31, 2011



Darth Walrus posted:

It would be fascinating to look at works that are built so comprehensively around, say, the anxieties of black people or gay people. Horror's really interesting because it's a shared, coded acknowledgement of what a particular group fears, which can be extremely revealing. Any particular suggestions?

Just off the top of my head, here's some good horror written by black authors:

Fledgling, by Octavia Butler. Really, just read everything by Octavia Butler. I am in awe of her.
Beloved, by Toni Morrison. The best ghost story ever written.
Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor. Post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction. Not recommended for people who need trigger warnings, because this book is _deeply_ upsetting and graphic in all sorts of ways.
The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle. Horror at Red Hook was one of the most outrageously racist things Lovecraft ever wrote. This is the same story, from the perspective of the monster, written by a black man.
Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes by Linda Addison. Horror poetry. She was the first African American to win the Bram Stoker award with this book.
Brown Girl in the Ring, by Nalo Hopkinson. Urban decay, magical realism, and undead.

stone cold
Feb 15, 2014



Thank you for the thread LK~!

One of the things I'm kind of fascinated by in horror films and horror related-media with respect to traditional values is the role of the mother. Starting from Psycho, with that whole complete horror show of a maternal "relationship", somehow, despite the whole extremely conservative Madonna-whore complex going on in so much horror, we occasionally see nuanced portrayals, and it's been getter as time marches on.

For a recent example of a fairly sexist dichotomy, I'd point to a horror movie I actually enjoy: The Woman in Black. Despite the sequence in the middle that rather terrified me, we have two women: Arthur's deceased wife, literally portrayed as an angel, and the titular Woman in Black, Jennet, who was wrongfully declared mentally unfit by her sister, had her child stolen and drowned, hung herself, and became an angry spirit who murders children. There are no shades; either a woman is a perfect, angelic mother, or one who has their children stolen away and becomes so consumed with revenge that she doesn't even care about the return of her son's body.

For more nuanced portrayals, I'd point to this season of American Horror Story and The Babadook. American Horror Story: Roanoke, while having racial undertones that I don't necessarily feel qualified to comment on, is ultimately about the struggle Lee faces in protecting her daughter Flora. Similarly, The Babadook, while having Amelia paralyzed by and ultimately learning to cope with the physical embodiment of her grief, is also a story about Amelia and her love for and difficulty caring for Samuel.

Neither of these women are perfect: Lee, while not convicted for it, has killed people and had substance abuse issues; meanwhile, Amelia externalizes her grief onto her son as she is slowly withdrawing and being taken by the Babadook by screaming at him, neglecting him, and ultimately turning violent. I think that makes them feel more real, and makes the horror part feel that much more horrifying. These are people, and it almost feels somewhat progressive (?) for a very conservative genre. I'm always excited to see newer things in horror, and I loved seeing Adina Porter as Lee.

blackguy32
Oct 1, 2005

This is the Jam of the Year

I always counter with the George Romero zombie films in response to the "black people always die first" thing. The black guy typically survives in those films are is the last one to die.

Also, you should check out the "Get Out" trailer. Not a big fan of Key and Peele, but I might check this out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO_pbtgnmm0

Darth Walrus
Feb 13, 2012
:gas;


lizardman posted:

I realize this is the Great Race Space, but thread title does include gender and sex in there so I'll plug one of the most cited texts regarding gender and sex issues in horror movies (with an emphasis on slashers): Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film by Carl J. Clover.

The general thrust of Clover's book is that audiences at first identify with the killer/monster in a horror movie, getting enjoyment at seeing mostly pretty young promiscuous women getting killed, and any discomfort or guilt from doing so is assuaged because at the end, the audience shifts their identification with the surviving, often chaste female protagonist - the "Final Girl" - who often dons a more masculine characterization and destroys the killer/monster, often with a phallic weapon like a machete.

Arguably the most successful high-profile movie to directly deal with these themes is Scream, in which a character submits that one of the "Rules" of horror movies is that you can never have sex and expect to live. At the end of the movie we discover implicitly (I suppose I should mention this is a spoiler for what's now a 20-year-old movie that's been played all the time on TV) that the killer has been trying to guilt-trip the main character, Sidney, into having sex with him specifically so that he can kill her. In spite of the fact that he was successful in bedding her, however, Sidney ain't having it and kills him and goes on to live through three sequels. I think it's also important to note that Scream tries hard to keep audience identification tied to the victims' perspective - there are virtually no POV shots from the killer's perspective, and character deaths are treated as genuine tragedies rather than something cool or fun.

One thing I'll submit (and this might not totally jive with Clover's thesis) is I think in general horror is a feminine (if not frequently feminist) genre. Especially in horror movies with female protagonists (and it's notable that a great many, maybe a majority of them are), the monster is a metaphor for men in general. Horror is about the world being a big scary place where you're just minding your business but malevolent forces are stalking you, pursuing you, giving you unwanted attention, wanting to posses your body, and/or kill or surprise sex you. Contrasting this with what's generally been a more masculine genre like action or adventure, which tend to be about an ascent to greatness, a deliverance from obscurity, foiling a powerful enemy's plans, or otherwise imposing yourself on the world. I think this is the reason female action icons like Sigourney Weaver's Ripley and Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor came from IPs with horror roots (Alien, Terminator).

I'm down for a discussion about race, too, but I think I'll give it its own post. In the meantime, I think this clip is pretty appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCkomafwLZM

If you don't mind me returning to the Weird Tales set and those surrounding them, this was apparent even among the male writers who influenced so much of twentieth-century horror and fantasy - specifically, in that few of them other than Lovecraft actually felt comfortable writing horror. Lovecraft liked to go for protagonists much like himself - bookish, passive, and emotionally fragile - and his collaborators and imitators seem to have really struggled with this, excising much of the bleak hopelessness of his stories end turning his antagonists from elemental forces of entropy into big ugly monsters for their square-jawed protagonists to punch. There's often the subtext in Robert E. Howard and August Derleth's Lovecraftian work that they thought Lovecraft himself was a bit of a sissy.

temple
Jul 29, 2006



The 1982 Creepshow was analysed by Rob Ager at Collative Learning. Pretty much the whole short is in this review. I remember seeing this as a kid and subconsciously understanding what it accomplished by othering black people. The voice of the black attendant is the primary demonstration. I can relate because I have felt slightly off around groups of white people, especially when I speak freely. I can detect a sense of otherness about me from them. Its really hard to describe and depending how a person is socialized or presents themselves, you may not notice it. Its called wearing the mask. But what the Creepshow short does is distort the mask and disembodies it.The pleasantness is there but it is inhumane and eventually sinister.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0gWWz5-IiU



I think the thread would be better if it was about movies/media in general than just horror.

Lightning Knight
Feb 24, 2012

Shoot First


temple posted:

I think the thread would be better if it was about movies/media in general than just horror.

I chose horror because the trends in the genre and the ones that become iconic and famous often reflect the social and cultural issues and concerns of their time better than any other genre, because what we fear as a group is very relevant to studying oppression and the concept of the Other.

I also didn't want it to become an unfocused mess of a megathread. If you wanted to talk about some other genre or medium you could always make another thread about it. Race and gender etc. is in every medium and genre, but trying to cover it all in one thread would be too much imo.

MariusLecter
Sep 5, 2009

NI MUERTE NI MIEDO


I often wonder which particular Lovecraftian horror I am as I read through my copy of Necronomicon.

Also, Tales From the Crypt had a really good stories starring black people. Only one I remember by name is Fitting Punishment. https://youtu.be/NK0JuGac0uY

Lol I'd forgotten how prominent the Air Jordan's and basketball ball are.

My favorite though was one where a man comes back from the grave to kill the cops that murdered him. Pulls the dick off one and tears the head off another.

MariusLecter fucked around with this message at Jan 24, 2017 around 04:14

Esme
Nov 4, 2009

hello i am your heart how nice to meet you


Darth Walrus posted:

It would be fascinating to look at works that are built so comprehensively around, say, the anxieties of black people or gay people. Horror's really interesting because it's a shared, coded acknowledgement of what a particular group fears, which can be extremely revealing. Any particular suggestions?

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 is about a young gay man's fear and violent rejection of his burgeoning sexuality.

Editing this article in because it's pretty good: https://www.buzzfeed.com/louispeitz...ga3#.jovwGMLBap. The writer sounds like kind of a dick.

quote:

“Homophobia was skyrocketing and I began to think about our core audience — adolescent boys — and how all of this stuff might be trickling down into their psyches at an age when raging hormones often produce dreams and urges that make them (if only unconsciously) begin to question their own sexuality,” Chaskin wrote. “My thought was that tapping into that angst would give an extra edge to the horror.”

quote:

“When he was backed into a corner about it being a gay movie, he [claimed he] wanted to liberate his gay friends,” Patton said. “He made himself into the hero, which is what he has done all along.”



Esme fucked around with this message at Jan 24, 2017 around 06:20

Look! A Horse!
Feb 10, 2010


MariusLecter posted:

I often wonder which particular Lovecraftian horror I am as I read through my copy of Necronomicon.

Also, Tales From the Crypt had a really good stories starring black people. Only one I remember by name is Fitting Punishment. https://youtu.be/NK0JuGac0uY

Lol I'd forgotten how prominent the Air Jordan's and basketball ball are.

My favorite though was one where a man comes back from the grave to kill the cops that murdered him. Pulls the dick off one and tears the head off another.

thanks for the link, this is great! watching it now.

Any recs for African American written horror? I must admit I can't think of any Black writers in the genre.

Crain
Jun 27, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019

Darth Walrus posted:


Note the added layer of racism even in that - when the colonial parallels are more explicit, the 'unknowability' of the invaders tends to be an implied reflection of the vast gap between Western colonial powers and the nations they occupied. This time, we are the untermenschen.

For a modern example, the early works of Laird Barron in particular leaned hard into this anxiety - while he's started to mix it up a little more with his later works, his earlier protagonists were all wealthy, middle-aged, ultra-manly white men raised on a diet of steak and pugilism who found themselves utterly, humiliatingly powerless before the horrors from beyond. should stress here that this doesn't mean that the entire genre is a cesspit of unexamined racism - there's a growing amount of cosmic horror that addresses a great deal of the coded baggage of the whole thing (like Ruthanna Emrys's The Litany of Earth, which re-imagines the sinister fish-people of The Shadow over Innsmouth as yet another of America's downtrodden, demonised minorities), but that doesn't negate the fact that the genre has baggage.

It would be fascinating to look at works that are built so comprehensively around, say, the anxieties of black people or gay people. Horror's really interesting because it's a shared, coded acknowledgement of what a particular group fears, which can be extremely revealing. Any particular suggestions?

On the topic of what kinds of horror would apply more to different groups, I'd actually like to see the idea flipped. What I mean is: With Lovecraftian/Cosmic horror basically boiling down to White Colonial power reversal, I'd like to see some horror fiction that shows it being received entirely differently by a non-target group.

I can only really think of an example with what you posted about Cosmic horror with modern Black or minority protagonists. A lot of Lovecraft's stories just lose all effect if you make the protagonist something other than a WASPy motherfucker with 16 books about Phrenology on their desk. Like the one story where the main character finds out his great-great-great-great-grand something had married/hosed a great white Human/Ape monster (which, let's be real here is non-veiled language for "Had sex with an African", not an actual ape) and loses his loving mind because his bloodline was now "cursed".

Change that protagonist and it just becomes "Guy does some genealogy research, finds out distant relative was African royalty". The anxiety just doesn't travel.

Now extend that to the more alien driven stories and I think reexamining them or reworking them could make for some good horror, or at least some great fiction.

Look! A Horse!
Feb 10, 2010


this thread inspired me to binge tales from the crypt (it's all on youtube) and the sheer volume of surprise sex/sexual assault is kinda disturbing. especially when it turns out she actually totally wanted it the whole time. mission accomplished wrt creeping me the gently caress out, i guess

Talmonis
Jun 24, 2012
The fairy of forgiveness has removed your red text.

Cosmic horror has always been a touchy subject for me, as it's one of my favorite genres of all time. Lovecraft was absolutely a straight up racist loon, but a lot of his work still stands up if taken straight, as his contemporaries do. I saw Laird Barron mentioned, and haven't noticed any racism unless you're judging the work by Lovecraftian allegories. Who wouldn't be terrified about monsters from the stars treating humanity as a plaything and food supply?

Darth Walrus
Feb 13, 2012
:gas;


Talmonis posted:

Cosmic horror has always been a touchy subject for me, as it's one of my favorite genres of all time. Lovecraft was absolutely a straight up racist loon, but a lot of his work still stands up if taken straight, as his contemporaries do. I saw Laird Barron mentioned, and haven't noticed any racism unless you're judging the work by Lovecraftian allegories. Who wouldn't be terrified about monsters from the stars treating humanity as a plaything and food supply?

I already explained my reason for mentioning Barron. Cosmic horror has a tendency to prey on the fear of the powerful that their power is meaningless. There are few modern cosmic horror writers who make (or made - he's started to diversify in his later books) this theme as explicit as Barron, with his horde of identikit exemplars of rich white machismo brought low by unknowable horrors. The fear factor isn't just in that monsters will eat us, but in that not even men like these are safe.

Talmonis
Jun 24, 2012
The fairy of forgiveness has removed your red text.

Darth Walrus posted:

I already explained my reason for mentioning Barron. Cosmic horror has a tendency to prey on the fear of the powerful that their power is meaningless. There are few modern cosmic horror writers who make (or made - he's started to diversify in his later books) this theme as explicit as Barron, with his horde of identikit exemplars of rich white machismo brought low by unknowable horrors. The fear factor isn't just in that monsters will eat us, but in that not even men like these are safe.

I felt that was more of a jab at macho mentalities than anything untoward.

Darth Walrus
Feb 13, 2012
:gas;


Talmonis posted:

I felt that was more of a jab at macho mentalities than anything untoward.

Maybe that'd be a reasonable guess the first few times, but it crops up so often in his early work that it seems more like an unquestioned default character, like Lovecraft's sensitive, bookish loners. As I recall, he only started writing other sorts of characters because someone asked when he would, and he went 'wait, poo poo, good point, maybe I should do that'. I mean, I really don't want to get too much on his case here, because he listened to criticism and improved his work like a good writer should, but his early stories really are a striking example of one of the unquestioned assumptions in so much cosmic horror.

atelier morgan
Mar 11, 2003

im too gay for this


Lipstick Apathy

lizardman posted:

One thing I'll submit (and this might not totally jive with Clover's thesis) is I think in general horror is a feminine (if not frequently feminist) genre. Especially in horror movies with female protagonists (and it's notable that a great many, maybe a majority of them are), the monster is a metaphor for men in general. Horror is about the world being a big scary place where you're just minding your business but malevolent forces are stalking you, pursuing you, giving you unwanted attention, wanting to posses your body, and/or kill or surprise sex you. Contrasting this with what's generally been a more masculine genre like action or adventure, which tend to be about an ascent to greatness, a deliverance from obscurity, foiling a powerful enemy's plans, or otherwise imposing yourself on the world. I think this is the reason female action icons like Sigourney Weaver's Ripley and Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor came from IPs with horror roots (Alien, Terminator).

A really interesting book on this subject of the femininity of horror films was Barbara Creed's The Monstrous-Feminine, which I would recommend to anybody interested in the subject who is either much smarter than I or has a lot of time to read it very carefully, because it is a drat difficult read

buglord
Jul 31, 2010



Buglord

Talmonis posted:

It may be rose colored glasses, but I think the original Alien was pretty great when it comes to defying the trope of "disposable black guy," not to mention having an amazing, non hyper-sexualized woman as the heroine.

I watched this for the first time last year and I was pretty impressed with how well it held up.

Duckbox
Sep 7, 2007



Supposedly, Ripley was first written as male and then they went ahead and cast a woman. She's a great character, but it's interesting to note that a lot of her lack of baggage comes from the fact that she's a character who is female, rather than a "female character." The sequels (well, Aliens at least, I haven't seen the other two) put a lot more emphasis on her femaleness, which had good aspects and not so good ones (I get a little sick of the whole "Mama Bear" thing), but in the first movie, at least, she's really just a person in a bad situation and her gender is pretty incidental.

Fidel Castronaut
Dec 25, 2004

Houston, we're Havana problem.


UberJew posted:

A really interesting book on this subject of the femininity of horror films was Barbara Creed's The Monstrous-Feminine, which I would recommend to anybody interested in the subject who is either much smarter than I or has a lot of time to read it very carefully, because it is a drat difficult read

Seconding Creed and Clover and adding Attack of the Leading Ladies: Gender, Sexuality, and Spectatorship in Classic Horror Cinema by Rhona Berenstein and The Dread of Difference which collects a lot of academic essays on gender and horror. Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters by Judith/Jack Halberstam is also good.

In regards to race and horror, Candyman is a really important film that has had a lot written on it with regards to race and horror. It's packed with anxieties about miscegenation, themes of gentrification, and so much more! I'd also add that zombies, originating in Haitian voodoo, need to be included in any conversation on race and horror. The early zombie movies all took place in Haiti, or something that was obviously standing in for Haiti, and involved slave-style zombies, typically with white zombie masters. Colonialism is baked into zombie media.

Great Metal Jesus
Jun 11, 2007

Got no use for psychiatry
I can talk to the voices
in my head for free
Mood swings like an axe
Into those around me
My tongue is a double agent


Fidel Castronaut posted:

In regards to race and horror, Candyman is a really important film that has had a lot written on it with regards to race and horror. It's packed with anxieties about miscegenation, themes of gentrification, and so much more!

I had never heard this before! I know what I'm watching this weekend.

Sharkie
Feb 4, 2013

Something looks fishy.



Thanks for everyone posting here, I love horror and like other people have pointed out, it's become ( probably has been for a while) a genre that's inherently concerned with sex an gender. I'd like to briefly recommend a book and a movie:

Pretend We're Dead by Annalee Newitz is a wide-ranging book that focuses primarily on capitalism in horror, but she does touch on Lovecraft's obsession with miscegenation. She does, I think, a good job of exploring how his obsession is an amalgam of fear and desire; for example in The Shadow Over Innsmouth, the humans breeding with the Deep Ones ( fish monsters) are depraved and monstrous, but by the end of the story, the protagonist realizes he's part fish monster too, and he loks forward to literally living forever in a millennia old beautiful undersea kingdom.

Of course fear/desire is practically the formula re: all concerns about miscegination, but Ithink this jealousy over being connected to some historical yet thriving culture is particular aspect of it, especially when talking about people who have no real historical/ancestral roots other than "whiteness."

Anyways, find and watch Lyle, dir. Stewart Thorndike ( she's a lady btw). It's basically a reinterpretation/response to Rosemary's baby, but it's different enough in plot and tone that it's not a remake. A lesbian couple moves into a creepy new apartment, and one woman gets left home alone raising their toddler while her wife is out working on her career - then the child dies under mysterious circumstances. Not only is it just a good, solid horror movie, it's great because it's a feminist film with a lesbian couple that doesn't like, wear those themes on its sleeve. Not that there's anything wrong with that! But it's nice that its just "ok these women are together, deal with it, moving on." It's also nice that it has a range of women characters in a horror movie that's aren't just the few stereotypes we all know. It was available online for free at some point, not sure if it's still up, but it's worth checking out!

Daddy Marbles
Nov 8, 2009


I love horror movies, and I've always kind lamented the fact that there aren't that many horror films starring POCs in the West. While I was reading a synopsis for Get Out (which I haven't seen yet because movies are apparently $16 now and this is a little rich my blood), I was reminded of a German indie film I happened to watch on Netflix a few years back. While it probably technically fits more readily in the science-fiction category and is pretty slow paced, the general thematic explores privilege and how malignant capitalism can affect bodily autonomy in way that is pretty conceptually horrifying.

The plot is essentially that, in the future, old, rich white people can pay to swap bodies with young, fit people. They have full control of these bodies during the day, but the actual owners regain control for four hours at night. These young people are all refugees from third-world countries who sell their bodies to some nebulous company to ensure their families back home are monetarily taken care of. They basically live in tiny cells when they're not exercising or being groomed so they can be paraded in front of prospective "buyers." Here they are undressed and inspected, all while a salesperson boasts the advantages of having a black body to protect against rising global temperatures and drops hints about the "specimen's" excellent libido wink, wink. So the main couple decides to go through with the process after briefly debating whether it's ethical to do so. You kind of get the sense that they see taking over someone else's body as more an impropriety rather than a human rights violation. But whatever, they want to be fitter and sexier than they ever were in their youth and live another 50 years, so they kind of hold on to the idea that these refugees technically volunteered to do this and that they're helping their families (while completely ignoring the fact that the alternative is living in abject poverty, so they're more or less coerced into doing this ). So, at some point, during the four hours the previous owners are given back their consciousness, they decide that this arrangement doesn't suit them anymore and some poo poo goes down.

The film isn't great, but it's pretty interesting. It's also notable for being another one of those movies that only shows white people on the cover image, despite having black protagonists in 90% of the scenes. Just look at the image that was on Netflix versus the film's actual protagonists.





I'm not even sure the young woman in the first image even appears in the movie.

Nessa
Dec 15, 2008



Fidel Castronaut posted:

Seconding Creed and Clover and adding Attack of the Leading Ladies: Gender, Sexuality, and Spectatorship in Classic Horror Cinema by Rhona Berenstein and The Dread of Difference which collects a lot of academic essays on gender and horror. Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters by Judith/Jack Halberstam is also good.

In regards to race and horror, Candyman is a really important film that has had a lot written on it with regards to race and horror. It's packed with anxieties about miscegenation, themes of gentrification, and so much more! I'd also add that zombies, originating in Haitian voodoo, need to be included in any conversation on race and horror. The early zombie movies all took place in Haiti, or something that was obviously standing in for Haiti, and involved slave-style zombies, typically with white zombie masters. Colonialism is baked into zombie media.

I picked up Candyman on Bluray the other day. I haven't seen it yet, but have heard a lot about it. Looking forward to watching it tomorrow!

Horror has always been a favourite genre of mine, so this is a cool thread!

Shbobdb
Dec 16, 2010

by Smythe


Have you guys ever thought that maybe the black actor dies first because he isn't a very good actor so they want to minimize his screen time to ensure he can have a good career?

Also, why doesn't Hollywood produce good actors?

Koalas March
May 21, 2007



Shbobdb posted:

Have you guys ever thought that maybe the black actor dies first because he isn't a very good actor so they want to minimize his screen time to ensure he can have a good career?

Also, why doesn't Hollywood produce good actors?

I'm going ask before I explain this (or start throwing down probs\bans), is this a thing you actually believe?

Which do you think is more likely..

Black actors are just so bad in the scheme of things that black actors are cast to die first..

Or..Due many the many facets of white supremacy black actors are not offered the same kinds of roles that white actors are, therefore are often relegated to "one-off" characters that are killed before they're offered the opportunity to be portrayed as human beings.

Shbobdb
Dec 16, 2010

by Smythe


The latter but it results in the same thing.

That's why there is a dearth of minority talent in Hollywood.

Hence my second question.

Moridin920
Nov 15, 2007
ASK ME ABOUT BEING A USEFUL IDIOT


How is anyone gonna get good if they aren't given the roles?

I bet you there are good black actors in this country but Hollywood isn't pursuing them because they just don't want to Hollywood doesn't really produce good actors, they just get people who are already good at acting or people who have connections bc their uncle works for such and such studio. Or people who aren't even acting they're just being themselves in a role (many if not most actors are just this latter thing nowadays).

I bet you there are plenty of good actors in this country they could find if they really wanted to.

From a purely "drat that's racist" viewpoint, they probably think more black actors = less ticket sales.

Moridin920 fucked around with this message at Mar 31, 2017 around 16:09

Shbobdb
Dec 16, 2010

by Smythe


Moridin920 posted:

From a purely "drat that's racist" viewpoint, they probably think more black actors = less ticket sales.

It's absolutely this.

Moridin920 posted:

How is anyone gonna get good if they aren't given the roles?

I bet you there are good black actors in this country but Hollywood isn't pursuing them because they just don't want to Hollywood doesn't really produce good actors, they just get people who are already good at acting or people who have connections bc their uncle works for such and such studio. Or people who aren't even acting they're just being themselves in a role (many if not most actors are just this latter thing nowadays).

I bet you there are plenty of good actors in this country they could find if they really wanted to.

There totally are. It's part of white privilege where whiteness is the default. Everybody can empathize with a white man. Plus, if a white man succeeds it's because he's good at what he does.

It's a hosed up system.

Mans
Sep 14, 2011

We have the dimension of an empire.


how many movies did kill the black guy first because i'm thinking Blacula and or two zombie flicks but i honestly can't recal the black guy being to first to bite it on a typical Jason, Krueger or Michael Miers flick.

Darth Walrus
Feb 13, 2012
:gas;


Mans posted:

how many movies did kill the black guy first because i'm thinking Blacula and or two zombie flicks but i honestly can't recal the black guy being to first to bite it on a typical Jason, Krueger or Michael Miers flick.

TVTropes may not be good for many things, but this sort of question is one of them.

Emacs Headroom
Aug 2, 2003



blackguy32 posted:

I always counter with the George Romero zombie films in response to the "black people always die first" thing. The black guy typically survives in those films are is the last one to die.

I haven't seen it since I was a kid, but I think I remember "The People Under the Stairs" being a good counter-example as well.

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ATP5G1
Jun 22, 2005


Fun Shoe

Shbobdb posted:

That's why there is a dearth of minority talent in Hollywood.

Uh, no. There definitely is not. But they go completely unused, and when they are given parts they're smaller, they're paid less, and studios don't devote as much money to their marketing budget. They're set up to fail, and if they fail the studios take it as proof that POC can't carry movies. Meanwhile, White actors get third, fourth, and fifth chances before they see it hurt their careers.

Do you think Viola Davis just magically learned how to act in the past few years? Or is it that she's always been there, being awesome, and nobody bothered to give her parts? Do you think John Cho hasn't been the leading man for a billion romantic comedies because he's been turning them down? Or that studios are not setting up entire olde-timey musical La La Land-like franchises around Elijah Kelley because he just doesn't have the skill or charisma?

There is a reason that many Asian-Americans looking to get big in entertainment decide to go overseas. There's nothing for them here. And if you want to see large concentrations of raw acting talent then go watch some so-called "black" movies--i.e. ones with all-Black casts--because they're basically stacked with actors who have the charisma, looks, and skills that would've provided them the opportunity to be gigantic movie stars if they were only White. For example, The Best Man Holiday. The Best Man Holiday is one of those Sappy Feel-Good Romantic Comedy Christmas Movies in the line of Love Actually, except the average level of acting talent and potential star power of everyone in it is miles higher. When you watch it, two things will probably strike you: (1) this movie strikes all the perfect Sappy Feel-Good Romantic Comedy Christmas Movie notes that should've made it as popular, if not more popular, than Love Actually, and (2) the fact that Matt Damon earns more and gets more parts than anyone in that movie is proof in of itself that Hollywood is racist as hell (and I actually like Matt Damon).

One of the reasons a lot of people are incredibly stoked for Black Panther. It is extremely rare that a Black director and a Black cast gets the kind of production and marketing budget you'll see in "mainstream" movies, especially for a movie that's not centered on, like, slavery or the Civil Rights movement. And the dearth of parts offered to Black people in these sorts of blockbusters means a wealth of people to choose from for the parts, so the degree of acting and directing talent going into this movie is just ridiculous. Especially for something that's "just" a superhero movie.

I know this all gets way off topic from horror movies, but I want to really push back hard against the idea that POC entertainers just aren't good enough. They're good, but you don't know about them.

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