Monsters and Racism

I’m interested in examining a few monsters that appear in horror films (ie zombies, ghosts) and how these monsters reflect racist ideologies of marginalized bodies. For example, the zombie emerged in Haiti as a result of the transatlantic slave trade and a reflection of the feeling of enslavement. I want to closer analyze how these monstrous figures are embedded in racist histories (maybe examining 2-3 films).

  • This is a really great topic I'm actually exploring now. For suggestions, I would look at how Frankenstein's monster often represents the Other, especially women. Dracula was full of Eastern European stereotypes and a fear of London being imperialized--like they did to much of the world. The xenophobia and racism I'm exploring are tied to Lovecraft--the "fear of the unknown," which may be helpful to explore. I'd also add, since the topic is films, I'd look at Peel's US (the underprivileged and economically disadvantaged are quite literally in the underground) and The Shape of Water, where a disabled woman, a gay man, and a black woman all connect to the "monster" in some empathetic way because they're underestimated or communicate differently. – Emily Deibler 3 years ago
  • It might also be worth it to bring up Candyman, which explores both racism and classim in complicated and sometimes problematic ways. – Emily Deibler 3 years ago
  • I would also consider addressing the sympathetic monster in The Shape of Water. Most monsters are rooted in racism, but even the simple concept of the other, racist, sexist or otherwise. Even going back to older monsters like Grendel's mother in the Beowulf, and the other to the normative Anglo-Saxon woman implied there. Not really a modern horror film I know but there are several adaptations that stray considerably from the source material to reflect the "horrors" the modern audience would understand. – TabathaCass 3 years ago

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