(Un)common Horrors

No. 2 - Year 12 - 06/2022

University of Zadar | ISSN 1847-7755 | SIC.JOURNAL.CONTACT@GMAIL.COM


A theoretical and practical introduction to the topic of horror genre, and its popularity and persistence as an art form, can tentatively be summarized through Stephen King’s famous statement about horror movies, where King argues that if regular movies are the dreams of the mass culture, then horror movies are its nightmares. An analytical unraveling of this premise surpasses the addressed media and contexts, while simultaneously fragmenting into a multitude of discourses, ranging between scholarly readings of a particular storyline, the evaluation of social and cultural implications these plots bring with them, the narrative improvements, regardless of the media/platforms articulating the genre, as well as many other critical approaches that the phenomenon allows for. It is within this extremely wide range of possibilities that this issue of [sic] seeks to position itself, and in doing so, open a debate concerning at least some of the problems relating to the common or uncommon nature of the genre. The aim of this issue is therefore not focused on what could be observed as a customary and specialized approach to the genre, where a particularity or a phenomenon is being addressed through a myriad of methodologies, but it instead wants to target the unexplored and uncustomary readings of new or already analyzed topics. ...

Literature and Culture
Carina Stopenski, Chatham University, USA:

This paper discusses affect and body horror through the lens of abjection, specifically how we react to viscera and extremes of the body. Body horror’s usage of female protagonists creates a dichotomous space of both feminism and anti-feminism, agency and oppression. In this paper, the character archetype of the female mutilator is proposed as a foil to the final girl trope, one who takes back her power through explicit gore and violence. Using three key filmic texts (Nicholas Pesce’s The Eyes of My Mother, Richard Bates Jr.’s Excision, and Lucky McKee’s May), this paper approaches the concepts of abjection and the monstrous feminine as they converge at the feminine grotesque in order for the female mutilator to actualize her identity. Keywords: affect, abjection, horror studies, film studies, body genresAs a generic entity, horror forces us to evaluate the way terror impacts our bodies. The subgenres of horror propose a variety of emotional responses: unease, shock, disgust, anxiety. ...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.12.lc.1
Literature and Culture
Scott Pearce, Deakin University, Australia:

This paper examines the role of narrativization as a form of improvised trauma treatment in the first six seasons of AMC’s The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead explores a modern America that has been decimated by a traumatic event. This event, a zombie apocalypse, results in the permanent loss of infrastructure and social services. What remains in this unpredictable landscape for survivors is a reliance on Christian narratives, expressed through pious characters and burial rituals that strive to provide meaning and purpose in the new world. Survivors perform burial rituals to preserve a connection to the pre-apocalyptic world and to narrativize trauma, both personal and collective. This paper contends that The Walking Dead uses the context of cultural trauma not to reflect on or critique nationalist agendas and ideologies but to identify the past as a robust repository for the future.Keywords: The Walking Dead, trauma, narrative, emplotment, Christianity, burial

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.12.lc.4
Literature and Culture
Doro Wiese, Radboud University, The Netherlands:

Central to this essay is the feature film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night by the Iranian-American director Ana Lily Amirpour. The director binds viewers to a vampire’s point of view – one that expresses both female desire and feminist anger – by using film-specific stylistic devices such as the depth of field, framing, lighting, sound, and location. The film embraces feelings of anger and rage when confronted with patriarchal domination and violence, and turns these feelings into liberatory tools that give rise to both feminist analysis and agency. And while gender oppression is rejected violently, the film also establishes a community of care that amends, escapes, reveals, and resists patriarchal and capitalist oppression.Keywords: feminist rage, sexual and gender-specific violence, film-specific stylistic devices, depth of field, framing, and lighting, vampire technologyIn her debut feature film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, the Iranian-American director Ana Lily Amirpour plays ...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.12.lc.3
Literary Translation
Mazen Maarouf and Jan Ruk:

Kuću u kojoj privremeno boravim, u Alpama, čuva gotovo slijep pas. Na lijevom oku ima tumor ružičastocrvene boje. Tumor visi, poput divovske suze, i vidi se kako vene pulsiraju u njemu. Zahvaća mu oba oka, a ukloniti ga kirurškim zahvatom bilo bi beskorisno. Pas će potpuno izgubiti vid. Pitanje je dana. Osim toga, star je. Kad mu priđeš jedva može ustati. Ipak, trudi se. Zaista se uvijek jako trudi. Uspijeva ustati tek nakon što si ga već iz sažaljenja pomilovao, odšetao i stigao do ulaznih vrata kuće. Kad zatvarajući vrata zirneš prema njemu, pogled kao da mu govori „ne ostavljaj me ovdje” ili „povedi me sa sobom u kuću” ili „sakrij me u svoju sobu”. Radi se o pogledu koji ima više od jednog značenja. Ne možeš odrediti što točno znači, kao i s pogledima svih drugih pasa. Mislim pritom na pse koji dobro vide, koji skaču i laju i igraju se s djecom. Međutim, ovdje nema djece. Ja sam najmlađi stanar, mlađi čak i od psa. Ponaša se prema meni kao da sam dijete. Umorno maše repom i pretvara...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.12.lt.4
Literary Translation
Patricia Esteban Erlés and Gordana Matić:

Probudila nas je vatra. Sestra i ja užasnute smo ugledale bakinu kuću lutaka kako gori u kutu naše sobe. Nekako smo jastucima uspjele ugušiti požar pa poput dvaju uznemirenih divova provirile unutra. Plamenovi su zacrnjeli šarene tapete, a ostaci namještaja stršili su kao kostur pougljenjene ptice. Kašljale smo sve do stuba. Prazne oči ogledala zrcalile su samo trag od pepela koji je lebdio u zraku, pa smo malim prstom razvalile vrata spavaonica na drugom katu, strepeći od onog najgoreg. Usamljena porculanska stanarka, udovica otkad joj je suprug sestri nespretno ispao iz ruku, visjela je s lustera svoje spavaonice. *Češljat ću te kad god me to budeš tražila, govorila je ružna blizanka lijepoj, prihvaćajući ulogu služavke osuđene na sjenu. Lijepa je blizanka voljela slušati pseći dah svoje sestre, znati da je budna u olujnim noćima i da bdije nad njezinim mirnim snom. Zabranjujem ti da spavaš, govorila bi joj, ne smiješ zaspati prije mene, a ako dođe čudovište, neka prvo pojede tebe, i...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.12.lt.2
Literature and Culture
Tijana Parezanović, Alfa BK University, Serbia:

Since the very first appearance of eighteenth-century Gothic tales, horror narratives have had a lot to say about space, that is, of how human protagonists interact with their surroundings, and how the environment reflects and affects their feelings, anxieties and preoccupations. This seemingly unusual but rather strong connection was in the early days transposed onto the American continent, where it went on to become one of the red threads of literary and cultural imagination, transcending a single horror narrative and recurring in a series of them, evolving as the genre evolved through changing social and historical circumstances. However, not many larger-scope academic publications have appropriately addressed this intricate aspect of the American cultural imagination. This is precisely what Marko Lukić’s Geography of Horror: Spaces, Hauntings and the American Imagination offers: a reconsideration of the history of American fiction through the prism of the genre and with firm theore...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.12.lc.6