Author ORCID Identifier

http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9674-237X

Degree Year

2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Comparative Literature

Advisor(s)

Claire Solomon
Patrick O'Connor

Committee Member(s)

Sergio Gutiérrez Negrón

Keywords

Horror, Film criticism, Comparative literature, Cinema studies, Political theory, Gramsci, Ranciere, Wes Craven, Capitalism, Narrative, Horror film, 2008 Financial Crisis, Marxism, Cultural studies, Get Out, Halloween, The Crazies, Politics of Film

Abstract

Across the world, capitalist and neoliberal economic policies have trapped communities in chaotic cycles of boom and bust. bell hooks writes about this chaos of connected systems of economic and social domination, “this is what the worship of death looks like.” The aim of this project is to explore points of formal association between popular horror media, or narratives of fear, and the politically unconscious beliefs, dreams, and knowledges of subaltern classes that live and tell stories under a social order that demands either complicity or silence. These narratives of fear demonstrate how certain political discourses are, and have been, culturally unspeakable as collective experiences of trauma and violence. From Argentina, to South Korea, to Japan, studying narratives of fear gives us a point of access to the cultural process of integrating and narrating the previously unspeakable. These examples foreshadow dynamics discernible in modern Western narratives of fear, and thus I propose that the deeply traumatic class violence that underlies neoliberal order is emerging from a condition of unspeakability on a massive scale. To support these claims, I focus my analysis on conventions and tropes of modern horror media, in both narrative and formal terms. Works discussed include Halloween, the Scream franchise, World War Z (the novel), Get Out, Train to Busan and more. Bringing these works, in conversation with ideas from Jameson, Ranciere, and Gramsci, into a Crenshawian intersectional framework, this project presents a hopeful vision of class consciousness by reading horror in a new way.

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