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The Importance Of Aesthetic Distance In American Horror Movies

696 words - 3 pages

The Importance of Aesthetic Distance in American Horror Movies

What then do we make of American horror movies? In the canon of horror pictures they almost always come second in respect to foreign horror movies and any American horror film that is considered to be artful is the one with the most aesthetic distance. Upscale slashers like Johnathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs (1991) or David Fincher's Seven (1995) are both gruesome and bloody borrowing many of the same shock techniques as their lower budget counterparts (for example, Russell Mulchahy's Sevenish thriller Resurrection (1999)), both focus on the body and its violation, either through sexual means or violent means, and ...view middle of the document...

The psychobabble that Donald Pleasance spouts is simply that Myers is "pure evil," and there are some vague connections made between Myers witnessing his sister engaging in premarital sexual activity and his slaughtering tendencies. Director John Carpenter then gets to have a killer who seems like a force of nature, yet is still explainable within the realm of psychology.

Carpenter also gives his audience a sense of aesthetic distance through his numerous in-jokes and references to other horror films. Obviously casting Jamie Lee Curtis, a scream queen whose mother (Janet Leigh from Psycho) is the original scream queen, is a nod toward the audience. Additionally with a character named Loomis, after a character in the classic Psycho(1960) and showing clips of horror movies like Howard Hawks' The Thing (1951), Carpenter has created a world that exists primarily in the realm of reality. This world is realistic enough so that the audience can relate and associate with the characters, but also has enough of the self-referentialism to always keep the...

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