October 31, 2007

Crappy Halloween: Haunted House Films Are Really About the Nightmares of Gentrification

From PopPolitics.com courtesy of Alertnet:

Artemio and I always end up having long discussions about horror films and politics, so he called me up after seeing the haunted house film
Cold Creek Manor. "It's all about gentrification!" he said. "It's a piece of crap, but still ...


Rich city folks move out into the country and find themselves up against nasty poor locals and a ghost in another recent vengeful-spirit film,
Wendigo. The more I thought about this recurrent motif, the more I realized: the modern haunted house film is fundamentally about gentrification. Again and again we see fictional families move into spaces from which others have been violently displaced, and the new arrivals suffer for that violence even if they themselves have done nothing wrong.


The spate of slow-moving zombie films that followed in the wake of "Night of the Living Dead" represent a capitalist nightmare of communist revolution: the brain-dead bloodthirsty working class, desiring nothing but our destruction, rises us up to besiege "us" in our comfortable homes, our malls, our military bases.


This is a really good read, an insanely over-analysis of the underlying messages in monster movies. It's usually a display of classism from the perspective of the elite, where dirty poor peope or "monsters" have good reasons to hate "us" and try to kill "us" but "we're" still the "good guys." I'll never watch a zombie flick in the same light.

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