Title: Make America Hate Again: Trump-Era Horror & the Politics of Fear
Collection Editor: Dr Victoria McCollum (Ulster University)
Deadline for Abstracts: September 30, 2017
Summary: Make America Hate Again: Trump-Era Horror and the Politics of Fear explores the intersection of film, politics, and American culture and society through a bold critical analysis of popular horror films/TV produced in the Trump era, such as Green Room (2015); The Witch (2015); Don’t Breathe (2016); The Purge: Election Year (2016); American Gods (2017); American Horror Story (2017); Get Out (2017); and The Handmaid’s Tale (2017). This collection of essays will explore how popular horror scrutinises and unravels the events, anxieties, discourses, dogmas and socio-political conflicts of the Trump years.
Call for Papers: abstracts are requested in and around the following themes (with an aim to explore Trump-era horror and its many forms in recent cinema and television). As opposed to formalising and limiting the genre, narrative texts that cut across typical subgenres recognised in horror will also be considered.
Identified Tropes: America Firstism, Conspiracy-Driven Survivalism, Dubious Authority Figures, Excessive Consumption, Fake News, Femiphobia, Gun-Toting, Home Invasion, ‘Losers’ (Exclusion, Humiliation and Abjection), McCarthyism, New Technology, Orange-Haired Demi-Gods, Paranoid Style, Questionable Consent, Racism, Religious Zealotry, Rituals of Aggression, Rotten Rhetoric, Social Media Horror, White Knights, Xenophobia.
– Horror Films Reimagined à la Trump: The Use and Significance of Trump’s Image in Horror-Centric Social and Cultural Internet Phenomena (Images, Memes, GIFS)
– Resident Evil 7: The Enormous Re-Direction of the Video Game, to the Deep South, Couldn’t Be More Timely
– The Babadook (2014): The Significance of a Horror Film Monster Becoming a Gay Icon in 2017
Rationale: The horror genre has traditionally sunk its teeth into straitened times, spitting out the bloody pieces as politically-conscious allegories. In a recent news article entitled Why Horror Movies Will be the Most Exciting Art Form of the Donald Trump Era, Lakin (2017) recognises the genre’s renewed potential for political engagement, “it’s a reality the horror genre is responding to faster and more successfully than most other art forms today.” As Romano (2016) notes on the renewed and direct connection that current horror (post-2015) has to American politics in a similar article,
They’re a telling glimpse into a long-brewing pot of cultural anxieties that seemed to boil over in 2016 […] This cultural shift toward an overt courting of extremist right-wing ideologies was immediately evident […] Everywhere you looked in horror this year, the cultural anxieties that shaped the global rise of nationalist politics were rampant.
Echoing Romano, film critic and journalist Maler (2017) relatedly concludes his article on the ‘fearful and irrational echoes’ of very recent horror films that one is likely to perceive today in conversations on television, radio, and at home:
Horror has a new flavor in the Trump-era. The genre has adapted itself to the angst of civil conflict, the deception of “alternative facts,” and the threat of nuclear or biological conflict or global warming.
Interestingly, coinciding with horror’s shift and Trump’s rise, is the lean toward conservatism by several of the United States’ major television networks. As Venable (2017) notes in a news article entitled, Trump-Era TV Is Here, With God, Guns and Glory, “we’re talking apple-pie, drive-in theater, yellow-ribbons-round the tree conservatism manifested in two genres: shows about the military and shows about religion.” Indeed, the glory, grit and guts of stories that epitomise a love for ‘God and Country’ make for compelling viewing. Nonetheless, as McCollum (2016) notes on the quick turnaround of similar premeditated and deeply conservative narratives (in film and TV) during the contentious Bush years, horror repeatedly emerges as a counter-narrative in response to such turbulent political climates and thus reopens and reinvigorates an active, contested public sphere.
Make America Hate Again: Trump-Era Horror and the Politics of Fear will offer informed speculation about the possible correlations between very recent culturally meaningful horror films and television shows, and the broader culture within which they have become gravely significant.
Submission Guidelines: abstracts should be 250 words or less, with a 50-word biography. Notifications made by: October 31, 2017. Accepted and completed papers (5000-6000 words with references in Harvard format) due: August 31, 2018. Please send abstracts to the editor at: firstname.lastname@example.org.