Abstract

The relationship between children and horror is fraught with tension, with children typically assumed to be vulnerable, impressionable, and in need of protection from horrific media lest they become “corrupted” by it. Despite this, a number of horror films intended specifically for the child demographic have been made since the 1980s. This article situates the children’s horror subgenre in a generic and industrial context and addresses the key issues that its existence raises: the development of children’s horror as a subgenre in Hollywood; how children’s horror films, which, due to their target audience, must be inherently “less scary” than adult horror films, mediate their content, and negotiate issues of censorship in order to be recognizably of the horror genre while remaining “child-friendly”; and what pleasures the subgenre might serve its audience. The discussion concludes with analysis of the theme of “acceptance” in relation to the films ParaNorman (2012), Frankenweenie (2012), and Hotel Transylvania (2012): acceptance of monsters, of other people, and of the consumption of the horror genre as a valid children’s pastime.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1542-4251
Print ISSN
0149-1830
Pages
pp. 22-37
Launched on MUSE
2016-08-18
Open Access
No
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