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Bad Seeds and Holy Terrors: The Child Villains of Horror Film


Lennard, D, Bad Seeds and Holy Terrors: The Child Villains of Horror Film, SUNY Press, Albany, NY, USA, pp. 195. ISBN 978-1-4384-5329-3 (2014) [Authored Research Book]

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Copyright 2014 State University of New York

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Despite their absence as viewers, children tum up a great deal in horror films. Steered diligently from the shadier shelves of video stores and libraries by watchful protectors, how could children know that they haunt iconic classics like The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1976) as well as marginal B pictures like Beware! Children at Play (1989) or Whisper (2007)? As mainstay villains of a type of film produced and consumed largely behind their backs, children are oblivious to the true weight and hyperbole of their representation on film, to the fantastical expressions of unease they inspire. With unquestioning zeal, adults reiterate and reinscribe their role as custodians of the child's proper knowledge, often with a resolution that sees childhood besieged by sex and violence everywhere. Children are unaware of what a burden they present because we are of a mind to plead ignorance ourselves-forever reconstructing a child to be, above all, protected. As in an obsessive ritual, we assure and reassure ourselves with visions of the innocent child: the little wonder, the beautiful victim, the curie-pie rebel whose diminutive insurrections come more as flattery of our power than a challenge to it. Over the last sixty years, however, the horror film has played out the most stunning tantrums of mistrust. It has offered a unique domain where, with a nervous I-can'thelp- but-look daring, adults raise the dust ruffle of the cinema curtain to discover the child they have always feared.

Item Details

Item Type:Authored Research Book
Keywords:cinema, horror film, children, media
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Cultural studies
Research Field:Screen and media culture
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:The media
UTAS Author:Lennard, D (Dr Dominic Lennard)
ID Code:98223
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:Academic Division
Deposited On:2015-02-06
Last Modified:2017-10-30

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