By Dominic Lennard
Examines the complexities and contradictions that come up while the monsters within the video clips are children.
because the Nineteen Fifties, kids have supplied a few of horror’s optimal and enduring villains, from dainty psychopath Rhoda Penmark of The undesirable Seed (1956) and spectacularly possessed Regan MacNeil of The Exorcist (1973) to psychic ghost-girl Samara of The Ring (2002) and followed terror Esther of Orphan (2009). utilizing a number of severe ways, together with these of cinema experiences, cultural stories, gender experiences, and psychoanalysis, Bad Seeds and Holy Terrors deals the 1st full-length learn of those baby monsters. In doing so, the booklet highlights horror as an issue of research that's specially pertinent socially and politically, exposing the style as a website of deep ambivalence toward—and even hatred of—children.
“Deftly geared up, elegantly written, and graced all through with various stills and body blowups, Bad Seeds and Holy Terrors has anything to supply either the lay reader and the scholar.” — CHOICE
“This is impeccably good researched and offered. It holds its personal on the best of movie reviews scholarship. Sprightly in its survey throughout key parts of cultural anxiousness and ready to draw on a spread of lucid examples, Lennard produces subtle and complicated prolonged analyses the place beneficial. A excitement to read.” — Linda Ruth Williams, collage of Southampton, uk
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Additional info for Bad Seeds and Holy Terrors: The Child Villains of Horror Film
As perhaps the most enduring and recognizable profile for the child villain, the posh brat has traveled far into other genres, demonstrating the force of children as impertinent representatives of socioeconomic power. Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), the bullying, platinum-haired schoolyard nemesis of Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) in the celebrated series of books and films, draws on the spotless and intolerably stately characterizations developed in horror, pompously announcing his privilege in film after film, particularly in contrast to Harry’s hard-up chum Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint).
Structuring the audience’s identification more closely around adult authority, one of the most significant films to engage with the unease and increasing visibility of juvenile delinquency was Richard Brooks’s adapta- Reaching the Age of Anxiety 23 tion of Evan Hunter’s novel Blackboard Jungle, which follows the struggle of soft-spoken English teacher Richard Dadier (Glenn Ford) to engage the volatile teenagers of North Manual, an inner-city boys’ school. The film opens with an intertitle that makes explicit reference to the public concern over juvenile delinquency, noting its disturbing extension into an otherwise admirably well-meaning school system.
Christine sets about quizzing a journalist friend on the ins and outs of child criminality. She seeks especially to confirm killer kids as the products of bad parenting (cases of nurture over nature), thereby ruling out her doted-on daughter. Yet, to her horror, the friend informs her that there also exists a type of criminal who was “born evil,” irrespective of upbringing and social influence, and impervious to rehabilitation: the kind 40 Bad Seeds and Holy Terrors of “bad seed” whom Rhoda so stunningly appears to exemplify.