2Fer#7 - Kendall

Shilo Kendall
English 3 

Horror in a Nutshell 

Blood. Screaming. Gore. What comes to mind? Horror, specifically horror movies. Horror is a very disturbing and strange genre of movies. Movies such as Silence of the Lambs and American Psycho are all based on serial killers, and others such as The Exorcist and  The Omen are all based on Satan. These topics are taboo and make it uncomfortable to watch with the amount of detail some movies go into, such as in Henry. The genre focuses on the fears of people and puts them into the movie in order to get a reaction. Horror movies reflect the major fears of the parents living during the times the movies were produced. 

In the early 80s, a popular book that came to light during that time was Michelle Remembers. It was a book written by Michelle’s psychiatrist about Michelle’s experience being a child in a satanic cult. She talks about how she felt and what they did to her. She didn’t just start to remember, but expressed it in  movements as if she was possessed. Through this, people started to become terrified of satanism. It produced the idea “about Satanic cults abducting, sexually abusing, and murdering American children.”(PEOPLE) People then started to fear satanism and become extremely cautious around other people who weren’t the same as them. It made people paranoid and worried that something would happen to them or their children. It also created a front for what satanism actually was. With this common idea, the movie, Children of the Corn, which was produced in 1984 at the beginning of the “Satanic Panic”. It is about a small town surrounded by a corn field. The town is controlled by a cult of children who sacrifice adults to an evil spirit that lives in the corn. Children of the Corn earned $14,568,989 in America at the time it was out (IMdb). This movie brought in the fears of Satan and its involvement with children to the front, which was a terrifying thing for many adults and was a common paranoia about their children getting involved with the devil. This movie hit the terrors of every American during the time period. 

 Starting in the 60s into the 70s, a group of people started to form. They fought for social change, peace, and protested war. This movement was the hippie movement. Due to their laid-back lifestyle and difference in political beliefs to most of the people at the time, they were feared by parents.They didn’t want their children to become involved with the movement. Hippies did a lot of drugs, along with living in communes and not having a normal job or no job at all. Parents didn’t want this for their children. A popular movie towards the middle of the hippie movement was Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This movie earned $30,568,000 in the USA when it was out. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a movie about a group of hippies that are traveling across Texas in order to see one of their friend’s childhood homes. They then run into a hitchhiker that marks their car, which then leads to their deaths from that man’s psychotic family. This movie took every fear that parents had about hippies an put it into a movie. Having the people who are hippies in their mid 20s pick of a hitchhiker, along with be extremely laid back the whole movie shows parents how their children could end up as the people in the movie, possibly ending with their children dying, further evoking fear into the people of America. 

In the early 2000s, the topic of teaching abstinence started to come up more frequently as a bad way of teaching sex education to teenagers across the country. Abstinence teaching is when the teacher does teach the facts about sex and how to be safe, but also to avoid sex in general till you are married. Most parents prefer this method since to them it helps them believe that their children will not have sex till they are older due to the fear of pregnancy and adultery. It Follows was a movie that came out somewhat recently in 2014. It earned $14,367,301 in the US by 2015 (IMdb). It is a based around the idea of having premarital sex. The movie starts with a couple who have sex in a car. The woman then wakes up, the man apologizes for what he has done to her, and then he leaves. A spirit then follows her around till it is close enough to kill her. The only way to pass it on is through having sex with someone else. This movie focuses on the fear of sex and how once a person has it, there is no way of stopping them from doing it again, which is contributes to the fears of parents. The idea of sex has always terrified parents when it comes to their children. This movie makes sex the forefront and can instill more fear into the parents. 

If parents would stop to think about it they would realize that the movements in the societies they are living in are not a threat to their children. When making horror movies, filmmakers should pick the themes that scare parents because it makes the movie richer and more suspenseful. With this, if horror movies did not focus on the fears of parents they would not make an impact. 

Work cited:

1. Shewan, Dan. “Conviction of Things Not Seen: The Uniquely American Myth of Satanic Cults.” Pacific Standard, 8 Sept. 2015, psmag.com/social-justice/make-a-cross-with-your-fingers-its-the-satanic-panic.
2. “Children of the Corn (1984).” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/title/tt0087050/?ref_=nv_sr_2.
3. “The Hippie Movement 1960-1970's.” The Hippie Movement, 30 Apr. 2015, blogs.stockton.edu/hippiemovement/.
4. “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/title/tt0072271/?ref_=nv_sr_1.
5. Kotz, Deborah. “A Debate About Teaching Abstinence.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2007/12/19/a-debate-about-teaching-abstinence.
6. “It Follows (2014).” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/title/tt3235888/?ref_=nv_sr_1.
7. “A Canadian Woman's Bizarre Childhood Memories of Satan Shock Shrinks and Priests.” PEOPLE.com, people.com/archive/a-canadian-womans-bizarre-childhood-memories-of-satan-shock-shrinks-and-priests-vol-14-no-9/ .