Horror Origins Research Paper

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Comparisons of Psychosis and Split Personalities
The occurrences and opinions of murder have long been apart of many topics in our every day lives. It is found in our music, literature, and media especially. Killings have been found in many genres, including mystery, popular, and horror. The genre of horror is especially where this topic delves deep into. Two books that exemplify senseless, horrific killings are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson and Psycho by Robert Bloch. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Psycho share similar themes of psychosis acted out through brutal, serialized killings to purge the character own sense of guilt and shame.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a novel published in 1886 in the United Kingdom. It is about a friendly doctor, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and his other malevolent personality, Mr. Edward Hyde. The story tells about how Dr. Jekyll takes a potion that turns him into Mr. Hyde during the night. “Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde demonstrates that “good” and “evil” can exist within a single person” (Nuckols). While he is Mr. Hyde, his conscience is guilt free and he brutishly kills people. In the day time though, that man is Dr. Jekyll. He is accepted by society, and is very friendly and humble. However, as he starts to take more of this potion he concocted, his personalities start becoming more uncontrollable. As he starts to become more unpredictable, he starts killing even more civilians. Eventually it becomes so bad that Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde becomes a recluse and then kills himself. Some of Dr. Jekyll’s friends find his body dead on the ground in his laboratory, with a letter that explained the whole incident with the irregular transformations and the power of his incomplete potion. The novel ends with this.

Psycho is a novel published in 1959 in the United States. It tells about a man, Norman Bates, and his secluded life running a lonely motel with his puritanical mother. Norman’s mother was very jealous of every girl Norman would ever talk to or date. Whenever Norman approached a woman, she killed them. One day when multiple people were at the recluse motel, a psychiatrist finds out that Mrs. Bates is actually dead and has been for some time. They conclude that Norman has turned into his mother, and he has developed an alternate personality to keep his mother’s presence around him. His mother’s dead corpse is stuffed and placed in the bottom of the cellar at Bates’ Motel. Then Norman is institutionalized and actually becomes his mother a few days later.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s effects on pop culture, media, and other forms of literature are monumental. There have been many other books and novels that share similar roots of dual and split personalities published after Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. “Robert Louis Stevenson, one of the most popular prose writers of his time, opened a gateway into the combination of the mystery novel and the psychiatric case-study” (Lamb). It is easy to tell that the authors of these newer books got their inspirations from Robert Louis Stevenson’s old, Scottish, classic novella. As with most popular books, new or old, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was turned into a video production. The movie was successful in many ways because many other films or television broadcasts were created that were based off of either the movie or the direct book. From there on, it was a sequence of events. Many parodies were created, as well as many television episodes dedicated one episode that reflected upon the original Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. “By my own observations and experiences, the Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome should be a recognised disease” (Johnson). The idea of this novel is so widespread and recognized that people who recognize unique personality disorders relating to that of Dr. Jekyll want to create a whole new syndrome that is characterized by the personality of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Psycho has not left its mark on popular culture...
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