Halloween and the evolution of the horror genre
October 25, 2018
October is prime time for the release of horror films, and the horror genre has been strikingly successful at the box office over the past couple of years, particularly during the Halloween season.
As we approach Halloween, Virginia Tech cinema studies expert Stephen Prince is available to discuss how Hollywood horror has been constantly embraced from decade to decade as the genre evolves and adapts to society’s greatest fears.
“Horror is the one genre that speaks most deeply and intimately to individuals’ experience of the world and the dilemmas inherent in being alive, thus remaining forever fresh and relevant. Being alive is fraught with danger and uncertainty, and all living things end in death. Horror films are uniquely powerful in their portrayal of this inevitable situation.”
“These films have adapted to society’s fears over time by becoming crueler, more aggressive, and savage in their assault on audiences.”
“As the genre has progressed through time, critics and general audiences come to view horror films quite differently. While critics tend to look for artful elements, general audiences often prefer the intense emotional and physical experiences that horror films can induce.”
Stephen Prince is a professor of cinema studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech. His areas of expertise include cinema studies, cinema history, and film criticism and history. Prince has authored 15 published books on cinema.
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