Horror movies during the Trump years

W MAGAZINE has a very good article running: Why horror movies will be the best art during the Trump Administration..

Author Max Lackin writes in part,

Get Out subverts the home invasion genre’s classics like Friday the 13th and Scream—here, the menace is what’s already residing inside the white suburban house—while going further. Its first scene, of a young black man out at night alone walking through suburbia, goes from a feeling of unease to something deeply sinister with the appearance of a car that stalks him. “When this man anxiously looks for a way out, the scene grows discordantly disturbing because you may, as I did, flash on Trayvon Martin,” wrote Manhola Dargis in the New York Times.

And more..

“Social thriller” is Peele’s nomenclature, but it’s a good descriptor of the swell of recent films that wear horror’s cowl loosely, masking their progressive messaging just beneath genre makeup. The class commentary of The Purge franchise is more emphatic, but heavy-handedness doesn’t make its point any less true. Set in a near future in which a national holiday of state-sanctioned anarchy has yielded record-low crime and a one-percent unemployment rate, it’s a dystopia masquerading as utopia, thanks to a few hours of cathartic bloodletting—and a warning about where a few missteps could land us. The first installment came out in 2013, when the heft of the monthly unemployment rate carried weight.

IT FOLLOWS was also a societal commentary.. the overriding sense of dread came less from the invisible sexual monster but more the poverty and desolation in Detroit..

While I’d agree that GET OUT was social commentary, I am not sure it is truly about Trump.. same with PURGE ELECTION YEAR, this was released before Trump’s win. That said, the movies seem relevant ..

One point that seems to be missed–and one I stress all of the time, hence my study of horror movies–horror has always been social commentary. FRIDAY THE 13th was not just about teenage dreams being slashed, but actually the religious right that rose during the Reagan years.. Other films, like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, were all about race relations..  and even the SAW films were a response to the torture and warfare of the post 9/11 years..

Movies have gone there before..and they will again. To be truly effective they need to have somewhat concealed.. somewhat overt. A mixture of both succeeds on all audience levels.

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