As Sir had explained in class, horror is seen as a radical genre due to its nature of being politically and socially subversive. It shows, in an exaggerated manner, that which we repress in every day lives. Our fears, the thoughts we keep ourselves from thinking or the things we restrain ourselves from doing are identified then personified by horror film writers, scaring us with that which the human race, most likely represses on a day to day basis. Horror has a social relevance, Robin Wood would argue, because it shows us what we’ve repressed but in a “safe” way. Horror movies, along with action movies or violent ones, to indulge in our desires to release that which e repress without actually engaging in it and disturbing the balance of normalcy in our lives.
To be honest, I disliked this movie, and very much so. It was a tad too slow paced, graphic (in all the wrong ways) and the story simply lacked depth. Despite all of this, however, it is a great example of what Sir had discussed about what Robin Wood believes is the relevance of horror film in our society today.
At my age, childbirth and motherhood are things I don’t talk about or even think about simply because I am not ready. It actually scares me to think about what Madeline had to go through – a exasperating conception, the loss of her husband, her (initial) miscarriage, a painful childbirth and eventually, a uniquely unsettling period of motherhood coupled with a nosy, untrusting mother-in-law. Every aspect of the movie seemed to horrify me, so much so that I was forced to face what I had repressed as fears of the future. This is where I understood fully what Wood was saying – that horror movies show us what we have repressed but in a “safe” way. Because I could possibly let all these fears of motherhood keep me from starting a family of my own somewhere in the future but having an outlet to face these repressed feelings and to simultaneously assume, hopefully rightly, that it will never be as bad for me as it was for Madeline, i am able to overcome parts of my fears in small but significant ways.
Lastly, I also saw how this film fit Wood’s description of horror as a radical genre. I found it subversive in the way it took what any mother would do for her child to a whole new, disturbing level. We see that her love and need for her child lead her to carrying out the pregnancy despite the miscarriage, allowing the child to hurt her so as to nourish him and even killing to protect and feed her. If we were to talk about this film in terms of exaggerating a reality of life to the most horrifying degree, this would definitely take the cake.