Horror movies and their influence om society

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HORROR

Is entertainment-horror always meant
to entertain the public, or are different
kinds of horror also used to reflect our
society?
Anneli Spjellok
English C
Study centre Piteå
Mentor Matz Lindberg





Contents

Summary ............................................................................................................ 1
Introduction ........................................................................................................ 2
Material .............................................................................................................. 3
Theory ................................................................................................................ 3
Purpose and Issue ............................................................................................... 3
Method ............................................................................................................... 4
Main text ............................................................................................................ 4
Conclusion .......................................................................................................... 5
Bibliography ....................................................................................................... 7



1


Summary


Heroes and heroines are beautiful, smart and nice people. The bad guys, or
monsters, are often their direct opposites. Although the monster or the villain
chasing the main character, the good always wins over evil. Alternatively, that
the good does not go under. Murderers get caught, psychopaths die a painful
death and real monsters cannot be stopped.







2


Introduction


In the real world
as in dreams,
nothing is quite
what it seems.

---

Life without meaning
cannot be borne.
We find a mission
to which we're sworn
- or answer the call
of Death's dark horn.
Without a gleaning
of purpose in life,
we have no vision,
we live in strife,
- or let blood fall
on a suicide knife.
1






1
(Koontz, Cold Fire, 1991)

3


Material


The material I used is primarily fiction for entertainment because it suited my purposes best.
The books in question are intended for entertainment, that is, to amuse the reader and give a
moment's pleasure. One should keep in mind that it is fiction and that the books doesn´t
represent an open view from the society although there may be an underlying attitude to how
people look at life hidden in the stories.
As far as the authors are concerned, all three are well established authors, which is why I
chose these three in particular. Patricia Cornwell is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which
may explain some of the sharp contrasts between right and wrong found in her book. Dean
Koontz spent his youth working with poverty programs, something that explains his book´s
pragmatic view of life. Nora Roberts is mostly known for her romantic love-stories, but was a
legal secretary before she became a famous writer, where she saw the dark sides in people´s
lives.


Theory


I think it might be a deeper meaning in fictional horror, and that this hidden meaning
strengthens our moral view of what is right or wrong. A hero in a horror novel, always looks
great, is smart and treats others in a positive way, while the villain is ugly, disgusting,
suffering from diseases and treats others badly. In almost all cases, the book ends with the
hero living happily ever after and the bad guy suffering, either by death or by imprisonment.



Purpose and Issue


Dark autumn nights, we sit in an armchair with a good book of horror, and live in the awful
reality it presents. We follow the heroes fight against the evil villain or the terrible monster.
But what is the message we get introduced to?

4

? Does horror contain stories of a moral, or is it just entertainment?
? Are the books we read shaped by of our society's view of crime and punishment?



Method


I have chosen to read books and compare the basis of these. In order to answer my question
about whether terror has a deeper meaning and reveal a community vision, I have therefore
compared the main characters and their traits, villains and monsters, along with their
personality traits and consequences of all the characters' actions.


Main text


The brave doctor Kay Scarpetta investigates the murder of a young woman when a psychotic
murderer begins to stalk her and leaves behind small traces for her to follow. Being a good
person she follows the traces and tries to catch the killer. Her outstanding moral keeps her
going, telling her not to give up and pursuing the chase for the low-life scum that commits
such horrible things (Cornwell, 2004).
Christopher Snow, the young protagonist with an incurable genetic disease, shares that high
standard of moral. While he´s attempting to stop a disaster from affecting his community, as
well as the rest of the world, he realizes that something is out there, something unnatural,
something evil, caused by man. Not even when his attempt to find the truth brings him closer
to an answer he fears, he gives in to fear. Whilst being chased by monsters, all trying to stop
him from finding what lays behind the horror in his city, he keeps his banner high, doing what
is the right thing t do, no matter what it will cost him (Koontz, 1997).
The murderer stalking doctor Scarpetta is ugly, odd, alone and socially retarded. He stalks,
follows and murder innocent people; such as the young, beautiful, likeable girl in the
beginning (Cornwell, 2004). So are Christopher Snows unknown monsters that haunt him. He
searches relentlessly for the truth about the monsters that are unleashed upon the community.

5

Monsters that are spreading something that causes both animals and people to evolve into
something else. Something strange, something different, something dangerous (Koontz,
1997).
Doctor Scarpetta is a beautiful woman, well-educated, and very intelligent. She is famous,
with a (mostly) god reputation, simply the best in her line of work (Cornwell, 2004).
Christopher Snow on the other hand, is certainly intelligent, but an odd young man, only
capable to be outdoors by night, constantly hiding from the sun and its devastating effect on
his body (Koontz, 1997).
In other cases the protagonists are two; a man and a woman. Lil and her best friend Coop are
both intelligent, good-looking and caring (Roberts, 2009). As they grove up, they fall in love
with each other, but break up as Coop leaves to the big city to become a police. Ten years
later he returns to take over his grand-father´s ranch and find that Lil runs a wildlife preserve
for animals that has been hurt ore became orphans at young age, a preserve that also
introduces the animals to the nature after becoming grown enough or in others ways capable
to survive in the wild (Roberts, 2009). Both Lil and Coop fights to do what is right, one by
taking care of animals, and the other by first joining the force and later pleasing his old grand-
parents by taking over their life´s work. After Coop´s return, someone starts to send
disturbing messages in the shape of tortured animals and creepy phone-calls to Lil (Cornwell,
2004). Here the story ends with the evil villain getting killed by the cougar Lil raised, torn
from its sharp teeth, dying a cruel and painful death; whilst Lil and Coop, our heroic couple,
lives happily ever after (Roberts, 2009).
Scarpetta´s enemy, the psychotic killer, is arrested and brought to justice for his heinous
crimes. The book ends with Scarpetta and her fiancé enjoying life together (Cornwell, 2004).
Christopher, however, becomes aware of the atrocious experiments his mother committed
before her death. The city is slowly filled by humans and animals infected with genetically
engineered viruses that change their DNA. Christopher is left at the end of the book to realize
that the only thing he can do is to maintain silence and hope for the best (Koontz, 1997).


Conclusion



6

My theory is that the main characters are good people, if not always beautiful. In two of the
three books the bad guys pay a high price because they behaved badly. What speaks against
my theory is the third book in which monsters are spread even more, despite the hero's
desperate struggle to stop the spreading of them. Nevertheless, the hero survives because he
keeps a low profile, so I guess you could conclude that it pays off to be good. It is
unques...

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Inactive member [2014-01-16]   Horror movies and their influence om society
Mimers Brunn [Online]. https://mimersbrunn.se/article?id=59339 [2024-07-22]

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