The Animal in Horror and/or Sci Fi.

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Topic 1: The animal in horror and/or sci fi.

Piranha 3D (2010)

The piranha hunt in packs. The first bite draws blood, blood draws the pack. (Mr. Goodman – Piranha 3D)

It is no doubt that humankind have always thought themselves to be on top of the food chain. It is all about the survival of the fittest and although the humankind may not be able to out-run, out-swim or over-power certain animals in the animal kingdom they are able to invent devices which may assist them in being on the “top”. There is always a fear that the hunter would be the hunted. This fear is reflected in movies involving animals because most horror movies involving animals include a reversal of the power relations between human and animal. (Scholtmeijer, 1992) This essay will analyse the human-animal relationship as well the representation of animals in the movie Piranha 3D. Piranha 3D is a movie about prehistoric man-eating fishes which were set free by a sudden underwater tremor, bringing together a group of strangers in a fight for survival. The movie reflects on the struggle that humankind have in maintaining the dominant upper hand in the role of the hunter and hunted.

Horror movies are created to invoke an unsettling emotions of fear and disgust from the audience. Many film makers opt for the shock factor though means of the unknown. This is why horror movies often interlink with other genres such as thriller, fantasy and science fiction (Carrol, 1990: 15). Ideally, to create a horror movie the film will touch on the audiences weakness, such as nightmares, fears, disgust and terrors of the unknown. In a general sense, the human race often fears what it lacks knowledge of. Although in a general sense, horror movies are associate with serial killers, supernaturalm surrealism and so on, these elements are often associated with the intrusion of the evil forces and the fight between good and evil (Ibis : 25). To effectively have an effect on the audience, the horror movie would then have elements of ones everyday world.

Animals have often been used in horror movies, perhaps due its supernatural characteristics. We think we know these animals but there are so much more that needs to be known. The familiarity yet the potential of the animal still being alien to us threatens us as being on top of the food chain. The human race often tries to keep the balance of the master and the mastered, when this balance is tilted the human race often even with our differences find a way to come together to overcome this power struggle. An example would be Stephen Kings “Cujo” (1983), the animal-monster in the movie is a rabid St.Benard who terrorises an advertising executives wife and son, causing them to be trapped in their car, hungry and dehydrated for days at a time. The advertising executive husband, even though angry with his wife's infidelity worried when she did not return any of his calls, travel back from his meeting to finally rescue his family. The movie closes with all three of them huddling together, forgiving each others shortcomings and reuniting as a family.

Animals in horror movie often have the purpose of being very explicit rather than visual. The human nature often is curious of what is placed at “the other side”. Animal horror movies are more often than note, packed with vivid visual effects that are either curious in nature or gory. The challenge is usually placed on the human “victims” to confront and eliminate these animal monsters. If the metaphor of animals in horror movies a representation of a disruption of human social events, then the struggle and triumph that is portrayed in these movies shows the stubbornness of the human race to give in to these disruptions. The socio-political theory of animals in horror can be shown in many ways, the most common would be a fear of a disruption on ones environment. This can be a fear of a war invasion, an evolution in the animal species or the human race losing it's place as...
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