The Decline of the American Horror Film

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Decline of American Horror Films
American horror films have undergone several series of change in the past 50 years. The claim most often directed against modern horror is that it is somehow "sick". Some viewers declare its preoccupation with violence and sexuality is excessive and politically incorrect. However, the horror films of the 1960's redefined and distinguished American horror with racial undertones as in Romero's "Night of The Living Dead," and indirectly addressing social and family problems as in Hitchcock's "Psycho." To most critics, these were the dying reels of horror. The thrasher and serial killer flicks of the 1980's would steer the genre towards male chauvinism and the degrading concept of shaping horror into a new form of comedy. Today's horror genre has been transformed by 1980's thrasher films, Japanese influence with the use of computer generated imagery (CGI), and the lack of innovative directors.

American horror films during the 1960's revolutionized the entire genre. According to Andrew Tudor, prior to the 1960's, horror had maintained a series of relatively straightforward distinctions between "self and other". There was some sense of faith in authority and in the possibility of a survival or escape. Therefore, many of these films had a general tendency to resolve narrative conflicts. In the 1960's however, these features started to disappear. It became easy to relate to the "evil" characters. The loss of faith in authorities and the possibilities of any hope gave rise to horror narratives in which quarrels and problems are rarely resolved. Instead, conflict seems to move unavoidably towards complete social or personal breakdown (Tudor 68-74). Handfuls of horror films encompassing attacking a social problem come to mind from the 1960's. George A. Romero's, "Night of the Living Dead" (1968), left the audience pondering civil rights. The male protagonist throughout the movie, Ben, is an African American whose death in the end is...
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