MasterBlog: Social Fear in the Horror Genre

“Horror” – what a shapeshifter of a word. We use “horror” to describe a film genre that we associate with Freudian fear and fantasy, buckets of blood, an exaggerated picture of the dark; and yet we can also call race-based state violence a “horror,” or watch a TV special about the “horrors” of Black Americans forced to live in rat-infested ghettos. This week I found myself really interested in the multi-faceted uses and interpretations of horror – how do we reconcile the human anxieties we represent with fictionalized atrocities, vs. the real atrocities of human life that manifest in deep fissures of anxiety in society?

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Witch, Please! New “American Horror Story: Coven” Teaser Trailer

Hey! Who’s excited for American Horror Story: Coven this November? It’s gonna be a tasty Thanksgiving indeed. Look, there’s me in the corner, happy as a clam and gnawing at my TV screen trying to get to the sweet flesh of Jessica Lange’s well-tended jowls.

I am very interested in this teaser trailer. Loving the sterile Shack O’ Horrors which seems to be this season’s prime setting. What exactly is going on in this scene? Girls stuck to the walls? What does it all mean?

Some thoughts:
1. The Salem witches were actually just weird teens who swallowed all the magnets.
2. Female students in a supernatural boarding school are finding any means necessary to access the peepholes to the boys’ showers.
3. The snozberries taste like snozberries!
4. Little girls learn to levitate and ruin all the furniture. They become trapped in enchanted flypaper.

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You know, way back when, I REFUSED to watch the AHS franchise because of how badly I hate Ryan Murphy. I could not, in good conscience, support the man who raised beautiful children and then systematically traumatized them until they found creative ways to kill themselves (I’m talking about Nip/Tuck and Glee, calm down). I was worried that AHS would follow the same formula – brilliant beginning, disappointing ending bathed in fire.

However, Murphy and Co. found the secret formula: a mini-series! Now, continuity, which is Ryan’s worst enemy, no longer has to be a thing. The characters, tone, and story can completely change between seasons. So thank you, Ryan Murphy! Thank you for bringing true horror back to American television, and experimenting like a crazy person, and generally GOING THERE with every new season. Last year’s AHS: Asylum was one of the finest shows to exist so far this decade, thanks to its unrelenting tension and the dynamic duo of Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson.


This time, we get not only Lange and Paulz, but also Kathy Bates AND the domestic-violence double-team of Evan Peters and Emma Roberts! It’s gonna be such a wild ride. Normally I’m not really into witch stories, because they end up being woman-demonizing eye-rolly pieces of shit, but I’m optimistic here. This stellar cast would never let me down.

If you’re interested in the real-life inspiration behind Kathy Bates’ character this season, check out this gut-churning Wiki article. It’s bound to get you pumped for the goings-on of Coven, and not-so-pumped to eat your lunch.