Author: Bryce Carlisle

Politics and the Rise of the Ultra-Violent Horror Film in the 2000s

    “Horror films don’t create fear, they release it.” -Wes Craven        Catharsis through entertainment is a uniquely human practice. We are the only species that intentionally create drama as a method of release. Stemming from the Greek word katharsis, it means “purgation” or “cleansing.” This idea was expounded upon by Greek philosopher Aristotle in his great work on drama, Poetics. In it, he asserts that the sole purpose of drama itself is to arouse emotions in the audience (specifically pity and fear), and purge these emotions, thus making the viewers emotionally stronger. If we are to follow this thread of logic, then the more intense the emotions the drama raises, the greater feeling of catharsis the audience is left with; and the more stressed an audience is the more intense the art has to be to arouse emotion.        The horror film may be the best contemporary example of art we flock to for catharsis. Present since the silent film era, it’s clear that Americans have an insatiable appetite …

Bryce Carlisle is a Oakland University student and screenwriter set to graduate in 2022 with a major in screenwriting and a minor in philosophy.