the horrors that linger

Black Horror, Film, genre, Horror, movie, response

self-titled

It’s interesting how horror works as a genre when combined with Black characters. Of course Black characters matter in terms of representing the population on a surface level, but presenting Black characters in horror stories, amidst our already horrific past, elicits a much deeper sense of dread when played out on screens. Horror by itself is already rooted in reality somewhat—everyone has seen a creepy doll like Annabelle or been spooked by the cemeteries that appear in several horror stories. I think what separates, and perhaps elevates, Black horror from general, superficially scary stories is the deep knowledge that the things typically depicted in Black horror were once (and still are) very, very real.

Related imageEve’s Bayou (1997) dir. Kasi Lemmons

What made me think about this, in particular, was Terence Taylor’s “Wet Pain”, which may not even be ‘typical’ horror with evil spirits and possession, depending on one’s interpretation of…

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What makes it “horror”?

genre, horror

The Angry Scholar

I’ve been thinking about genre lately. In different fields and different media, genre means different things. There are literary genres, cinematic genres (and of course a lot of overlap between these), folkloric genres… And whatever else it means, “genre” means, ultimately, expectations. Rightly or wrongly, if something is labeled, sorted, slotted into a certain genre, that can tell you certain things about that thing. Things aren’t just things: they are certain kinds of things. Things!

As both a folklorist and a horror fan, genre has certain valences for me that it may not for others. I’ve written about folkloric genres before. In film and literature and other media, I think of the horror genre as pointing to a pleasant type of dread. (It’s only pleasant, I suppose, if you share my particular interests.) It probably wouldn’t be pleasant, of course, if the kind of thing I associate…

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