Monday, October 12, 2009

Modern Day Villains?

At the end of Sarah Trencansky's article "Final Girls and Terrible Youth: Transgression in 1980s Slasher Horror", she discusses how the villains of the slasher films changed from the 1980s to the 1990s:

"Each decade embraces the monsters that speak to it: If the villains of popular late 1990s slashers are embraced by the adolescents of today, perhaps it is because, in a culture of sudden random violence, exemplified in school shootings that originate from one of their own, a villain that looks just like them makes sense."

This observation got me thinking about some of the films that have been released in the past few years and the villains that have become popular. And while I'm not a huge fan of the "thriller" genre or the slasher film, it isn't difficult to notice the trends.

For example, many action films that have been released have focused on large scale disasters being the antagonist. While large scale atrocities have been occurring ever since the beginning of time, our current culture appears to have become fixated on them. In a way, these events appear to signal the rumored 'end of the world', and create chaos wherever they are unleashed. Real life examples of these disasters include Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the tsunamis that hit parts of Asia in 2004. One could even argue that the panicked "bird flu" epidemic, and now the swine flu epidemic are also considered global disasters. Also adding to cultural focus on natural disasters is the issue of global warming, which predicts the future augmentation of these events occurring.

Some recent films that have fed into a collective fear of disaster and impending world doom include The Day After Tomorrow (natural disaster), 28 Days Later (epidemic disaster) and even Wall-E (environmental disaster). While these kinds of films have been popular since the beginning of the film industry, it appears that contemporary movies have focused more on these issues while sending out a warning message to the audience. So, while these films aren't necessarily considered slasher films, they demonstrate Trencansky's point of the evolving of films due to changing cultural context.


  1. ive really noticed that a lot of the "scary" movies that have recently come out have to do with natural disasters and there is always the ultimate virus that takes over everyone in the world. It will be interesting to see the effect of the movie 2012..will it be too much for people?

  2. I feel like all of this started with our entrance into the new millenium and the Y2K scare and was heightened by the surprise attack during 9/11. I think we should consider current events and how that affects movie genres.