Dominic Lennard's Bad Seeds and Holy Terrors: The Child Villains of Horror PDF

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By Dominic Lennard

ISBN-10: 1438453299

ISBN-13: 9781438453293

Examines the complexities and contradictions that come up whilst the monsters within the video clips are children.

because the Nineteen Fifties, little ones have supplied a few of horror’s most desirable 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 experiences, gender stories, and psychoanalysis, Bad Seeds and Holy Terrors deals the 1st full-length research of those baby monsters. In doing so, the publication highlights horror as a subject matter of research that's specifically pertinent socially and politically, exposing the style as a domain of deep ambivalence toward—and even hatred of—children.

“Deftly equipped, elegantly written, and graced all through with quite a few stills and body blowups, Bad Seeds and Holy Terrors has whatever 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 stories scholarship. Sprightly in its survey throughout key components of cultural nervousness and ready to draw on a spread of lucid examples, Lennard produces refined and intricate prolonged analyses the place precious. A excitement to read.” — Linda Ruth Williams, collage of Southampton, uk

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

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In William Blake’s poem “The Mental Traveller,” the narrator conveys an immense but elusive dread at the spectacle of a frowning baby who parallels the infant Jesus. In Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, a well-meaning governess struggles with the veiled truth of her ward’s delinquency, a trait strikingly posed against his idealized appearance. Similarly, it would be a mistake to view pre–World War II cinematic representations of children as entirely one-note in their affirmation of innocence; as Timothy Shary points out, “[t]he very association of children with innocence had been challenged throughout many films of the 1930s and 1940s, especially as studios developed films about social problems during the Depression” (15).

The Bad Seed pushed aside the more sensitive investigations of childhood and purity offered by the most thoughtful of the juvenile delinquent films. Instead, it revived and relied on the image of the innocent child by brutally contradicting it. In this way, The Bad Seed potently transferred to future depictions of children what Joann Conrad, writing on children in the media, has called the “Janus-faced, good/evil” character (185). According to Conrad, through “the dual image of the innocent angel/monstrous child, adults attempt to segregate ‘good children’ from those ‘bad children’ who dispel the Reaching the Age of Anxiety 33 fantasy of the perfect child” (185).

Rebel begins at the police station’s juvenile division, where we are introduced to young troublemakers Judy (Natalie Wood), Plato (Sal Mineo), and Jim (Dean). On the one hand, Plato’s crime of killing puppies represents delinquency’s corruption of the innocence and fragility of youth; on the other hand, it prefigures the tragic death of Plato, who is such a tender innocent himself. As Murray Pomerance points out, puppies, rather like Plato, are “soft, big-eyed, emotionally evocative, and in a more or less constant bubble of maternal protection” (59).

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

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