Wk7M2 Horror & Sci-fi

Today’s discussion is brought to you by Group 12: Andrew Wire, Levi Brown, Shelby Brown

This modules films include:

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1941, dir. Victor Fleming

Dracula 2000, 2000 dir. Patrick Lussier

Let Me In, 2010 dir. Matt Reeves

32 thoughts on “Wk7M2 Horror & Sci-fi

  1. Levi Brown

    Do you think Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is science-fiction, horror or some hybrid? Provide examples.

    All three films deal with duality, one side focusing on the human side (Dr. Jekyll, Mary Heller Van Helsing, Owen) vs. the corrupted side (Mr. Hyde, Dracula, Abby). Comment on why this dichotomy exists in these films.

    When Dracula bites someone he creates a new being (“born of biting not of blood”), if Dracula believes himself to be the true father of Mary yet he bites her near the end of the film, was Mary ever ‘human’ to begin with or is it only once she becomes a vampire (nonhuman) can she then become truly human?

    Is the aforementioned vampiric transformation incest? What does that say about Mary’s status as a human or nonhuman?

    In Let Me In does Abby ever want to become human or has she accepted herself? (even though she displays humanistic moments at times)

    1. Nick Neal

      In order to keep the threat supernatural it needs to be both internal and external. If it is only external than that means that the struggle against it is merely a struggle of power. and thus carries no moral meaning. If the threat is only internal than it risks being about psychology. The duality becomes a skitzophrenia, that unfortunately some viewers are unsympathetic towards.

    2. Renee Schuyten

      I think Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a hybrid. The science fiction part of it is the science that Dr. Jekyll experiments with to create a drug to bring out his evil. He is methodical in his research and experimentation. Mr. Hyde, though, is a monster, a radical other. Although he is not a supernatural being, he is an abnormal , mutant and unnatural.

      1. Nick Neal

        I think a lot of science fiction from the 19th century were actually a mix between scifi and fantasy. This is probably because the two genre’s weren’t as starkly seperated yet.

    3. Parrish Colbert

      I feel the duality of Dr. Jekyll makes it a hybrid, more of a case of man vs. himself.

      I feel the duality of each character shows that they are like everyone, equally filled with good and evil, it’s whether or not they let their evil side corrupt them that defines each character.

  2. Steven Colonero

    Well Dracula came out during the great depression. Many comment on how the film uses that era to exploit the film. You have a rich sophisticated man literately sucking the life out of people less fortunate then him. An obvious metaphor for what was going on at that time with rich individuals ruining peoples lives.

    I think Let me in flirts alot with the lines of animalistic and human tendencies. In the beginning it is as if she is stalking him like pray, but they ultimately have a relationship that is very humanistic with children. I think that is what makes the film so unique as many vampire films only show the animal side of that person and not the human side.

    1. Christophe Freeman

      I agree with your view of Let Me In. This film focuses of the human side of the vampire. We see that the relationships that Abby makes are highlighted more than her monstrous ways. I think this a reflection of the change of times. Dracula was a reflection of how the poor felt in the great depression as victims of the rich while Let Me In shows a relationship between the weak and the monsters because they both need each other.

      1. Chris O'Malley

        Yes the humanism of Abby makes her a greatly different character than Dracula or most vampires. She is an outcast and identifies with bullied and weak characters like Owen. She gets little enjoyment out of her vampirism and treats it like a curse. Most other vampire characters take pleasure in the powers that they possess. Abby is essentially a human trapped in the body of a vampire.

  3. Shelby Brown

    John Belton discusses how horror films is centered around dramatic conflicts around the encounters between monster and so-called normal people.

    Thinking about horror film in todays world, What is really at stake? Do horror films really focus on the same traditional bourgeois values associated with normality. Examples: religious belief, sexuality, the community, and etc.

    1. Christophe Freeman

      I believe they do focus on the same issues associated with normality. Religious beliefs are still being questioned with films about exorcism and devil worshipping. Our community is being questioned with films about paranormal activity and alien life. There are only so many things that can scare individuals and it is the unknown and films can push the unknown without a virtual limit.

    2. Steven Colonero

      I think its interesting now that there has been a recent shift back to the horror ways of the 70s focusing on religion and ghosts, with films like The Conjuring and Paranormal activity and Sinister we still have a fear of the unknown. But I also find it interesting that the film series Saw was so popular and while it was not scary by the traditional sense we would still squirm in our seats watching it. I think those films were unique because the situation they were in was out of their hands, And it made the audience ask themselves what they would do in that situation.I always did when I would watch them. I Think alot of really smart horror films use that technique and while there has definitely been a shift in what scares audiences I think it really comes down to basics and directors are noticing that.

      1. Levi Brown

        Nice comment on peoples’ fear of the unknown. That fear is what makes horror and sci-fi so intriguing to some viewers. I would also mention that adding “based on true events” to a horror film raises some concern as it bases the film’s surreal/supernatural events in our reality.

      2. Evan Halleck

        Saw is a great example of a genre hybrid. The film is definitely a suspense thriller but because the suspense is so high that it scares us making it a horror movie in my eyes. Your comment about movies trends coming back it really makes me wonder which horror sub genres will continue and which will vanish. I wonder if found footage horror films ( blare witch, Paranormal activity) will still be as popular in ten years as they are now or are they popular just because they are a new style of films.

        1. Chris O'Malley

          Found footage horror films will likely not be as popular in the future. They have become popular as home video making technology has become more common. But the novelty of found footage films seems to be waning. They are extremely cheap to produce so they’ll likely be around in the future but I’d be surprised if they retained the same popularity.

          1. Steven Colonero

            Ya I agree, I think when we have five paranomral activity movies we have reached our limit. Plus they are not making nearly as much money as they once were. But I would not be surprised if in say 10 years they come back again. I mean its been that longs since the Blair Witch Project.

      3. Nick Neal

        Do you think maybe there’s a split between supernatural horror films where the bad guys are supernatural beings, and realist horror films where the bad guys are just really clever murderers?

      4. Benjamin Romang

        I agree that part of what makes a film scary is the audiences ability to relate to the characters and the situation. Asking what you would do in a situation puts you in the film in a way, making you more attached to the character. I think unsuccessful horror films are the ones that the audience can say “why did they do that? that was stupid, I wouldn’t have done that.” I think part of what makes the unknown so scary is taking away the audiences ability to know how to react themselves to the situation.

    3. Renee Schuyten

      I’ve not watched a lot (any if I can help it!) horror films, but it seems the scariest films are the realist horror films that Nick mentions – the really sick and twisted, I won’t call them clever, murderers. I can laugh a bit at the vampire movie because I choose not to believe in it, but the psycho who picks the woman up at a bar (sexuality) and then brings her home and chops her up, or snatches a kid (community) – these issues are much more relevant to me today. Horror films today can focus on the same normal values, they just find new ways to do it. The “other” looks like anyone on the street.

      1. Kendrick Branch

        I agree, Renee. A horror film certainly takes on a different meaning when the “other” is a familiar being. Some of the most interesting horror films I’ve seen adapt ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s concept of the “self” and the “other” coexisting. They bring the threat of the ‘other’ into the ‘self,’ making the being (usually human) a threat to himself. At the point in a film when this is revealed, the sources that blurred these lines of consciousness turn out to be an exaggerated case of a natural reaction. Making a viewer fear themselves in a way.

    4. Parrish Colbert

      i think all the themes of horror now are recycled. as the equipment and effects get better for films they can just make more believable recreations.

    5. Benjamin Romang

      I think the same issues are relevant today. I think there is a change is what defines the monster however. Today we are seeing more films in which the monster is not supernatural, but human. Films like Saw and Silence of the Lambs give us monster versions of mankind, which I think are more successful in horrifying audiences because of the reality behind these things. you may not believe in ghosts or aliens, but an insane murderer is a reality everyone can be afraid of.

  4. Allison Hudson

    I think Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a Sci-Fi film. Belton says that Sci-Fi uses science and reasoning to try to deal with problems. The narrative is usually focused around some experiment or scientific happening that causes catastrophic events. Dr. Jekyll is experimenting with animals in order to repress the evil within. When he tries the potion himself, it brings out his evil side (nonhuman) that quarrels with his good side (human). Though some could see him as a psychotic or schizophrenic character, which is more prevalent in horror, the potion is what ultimately brings about his transformation into a “monster.” This dichotomy exists because it helps create fear. If one can be human one moment and a monster the next, it creates an uneasy, nervous feeling within the audience. The films suggest that it is possible all humans have a nonhuman side to them that can be brought out under the right circumstances aka being bitten by a vampire or taking a drug.

  5. Alexandra Freda

    Do you think Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is science-fiction, horror or some hybrid? Provide examples.

    It is a hybrid film in my opinion. For example, Belton discusses the idea of “Oh no!” and “What if?” Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde does both. It poses the question of what if this event really was possible, but then when it is it becomes horrific. It explores the boundary between human and non human which both genres do, and provides a dramatic conflict between self and monster, a concept evident in classical Hollywood horror and science fiction films.

    All three films deal with duality, one side focusing on the human side (Dr. Jekyll, Mary Heller Van Helsing, Owen) vs. the corrupted side (Mr. Hyde, Dracula, Abby). Comment on why this dichotomy exists in these films.

    There are borderline figures in all of these films because horror and science fiction almost always involve human to non human characters that usually undergo or are privy to a transformation of the self that can become heroic, monumental, and horrific. In the horror film usually actual humans are threatened by non humans or humans that border the line between human and animal, something that is a common theme in all three films. Psychologically humans struggle with relationships between one another but also with the self and dealing with our more basic, animalistic, or raw elements of the self associated with nature. The idea of losing control of the self (as in Jekyl’s transformation, Dracula and Abby’s need for blood, a cannabalistic reference). The taboo and that which is abject and rebels against societal norms is what makes the horror in all three of these films. Blood or the consumption of bodily fluids is considered to be most abject, it rebels against social order, food and dietary norms, and sexual norms.

    In Let Me In does Abby ever want to become human or has she accepted herself? (even though she displays humanistic moments at times)

    I was kind of surprised to see this film on this list for this module honestly because it is a remake of the Swedish Let the Right One In. Abby learned how to adapt with her situation by having helpers throughout her vampiric life, including Owen in the end. I think that the movie is particularly tragic in a way because you know every helper Abby has in the end dies and leaves her, restarting the cycle, ultimately knowing Owen and Abby’s fate in the scheme of the film. Abby is an anti-hero, she is an abject monstrous creature, but her capability of understanding good and bad is enough to at least instill in her a great loyalty (Owen) that inevitably saves his life. It is particularly interesting to note that horror comes from the Romantic tradition that plays off of emotions and irrationalities in humans, so combining horror and romance together as a genre is ultimately very affective in Let Me In/Let The Right One In.

    1. Nick Neal

      I think Dr. Jekle and Mr. Hyde is a “science fantasy” in that it has a lot of sciency things in it, but ultimately the potions seem more mystical than natural.

  6. Angelo Lima

    I noticed in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde this was the first time that I had not seen a realistic facial or body transformation for the main character like in the movies such as Van Helsing and The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. I guess the reason is because of the minimal CGI that was available at the time the director wanted to strive for more on the style of the personality of the character. On the other hand, Let Me In deals more of the possession of someones body and soul other than someones personality changing, but it could be interchangeable depending on what the person is referring to.

    1. Evan Halleck

      I am nopt certain but I bet at the time when Dr. Jekyl came out that was state of the art. We are now used to such realistic effects that we sometimes forget how revolutionary older effects were even though they look very cheesy to us now.

      1. Parrish Colbert

        Exactly, I feel what’s important now is how advanced the effects and make-up is and your mind making each scene real. As movie effects get fancier we start to grow desensitized to how film used to be.

  7. Angelo Lima

    Dracula 2000 reminds me of the same film and character style used in the film Spawn not just because of the cult following that both films have received in the past, but the way each director shows emphasis towards the main character. The film also makes me think of the direction that Hollywood is trying to go with the style of filmaking to make everything big, sly and cool for the audiences viewing pleasure .

    1. Steven Colonero

      I can definitely see what your saying with making them slick and cool. I think thats why I hated that movie so much was the fact it was so over the top and really exploited the Dracula story in the worst possible way.

  8. Clark Faust

    In response to the first question, I believe that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a hybrid of horror and sci-fi. It has elements of both. It has many of the classic horror themes such as experiment gone wrong creating a monster. It dips into sci-fi because it taps into that big “What if?” question inherit with all sci-fi films. What if a person can have two personalities, and one of them being evil? I believe that these two genres bleed into each other quite often. Many great sci-fi films are also considered to be horrifying too. So, it is not odd nor groundbreaking that the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is both horror and sci-fi.

  9. Evan Halleck

    Do you think Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is science-fiction, horror or some hybrid? Provide examples.
    Well at the time and even now for that matter I would say that it is a hybrid. Science fiction can be horror as well (alien). The film is a horror movie that has science fiction in the story line. It is definitely a hybrid in my opinion because it is both horror and sci fi. When ever he transforms in to Hyde that is science fiction in my eyes. I really do think that any movie that involves science at all and fiction makes it a science fiction movie. I do not beleive that it has to be aliens or robots. I think it could be as simple as a movie that has fictional elements that don’t exist in the real world. As far as horror being defined I think it is a very broad genre because there are so many different types of horror movies. Ones that are formulaic and have a killed or ones that are very suspenseful and you are scared for the character. This also brings up the topic of when do crossing genres occurs. A lot of horror movies slip in to the thriller genre as well. So all this being said I believe that movies can be hybrid or even super hybrid genres and I also think that most movies are hybrids rather than classified under one specific genre.

    In Let Me In does Abby ever want to become human or has she accepted herself? (even though she displays humanistic moments at times)

    From what is shown in the movie I feel that she accepts her self for being a vampire. She definitely acts and portrays very humanistic elements but the vibe that I get from her character is that she has accepted she is a vampire and has faced the fact that she will never be human . Although she loves the boy I think she liked being a vampire as well.

  10. Kendrick Branch

    In Let Me In does Abby ever want to become human or has she accepted herself? (even though she displays humanistic moments at times)

    I think Abby is only humanistic. All of her displays of human qualities seem to be natural, out of a humanistic quality to interact, but partially out of pity. Her craving makes her like an animal, yet she does not age, like a machine. Belton suggests that what it means to be human is rooted in what it means to be a man or woman, but these two young characters have a sort of sexual ambiguity that obscures a viewer’s judgement of her.

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