The Aesthetics of Horror Films: A Santayanan Perspective (Hardcover)

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The Aesthetics of Horror Films: A Santayanan Perspective By Forrest Adam Sopuck Cover Image


This book analyzes the nature and functions of horror films from the vantage of a theoretical reconstruction of George Santayana's account of beauty. This neo-Santayanan framework forms the conceptual backdrop for a new model of horror's aesthetic enjoyment, the nature of which is detailed through the examination of plot, cinematic, and visual devices distinctive of the popular genre. According to this model, the audience derives pleasure from the films through confronting the aversive scenarios they communicate and rationalizing a denial of their personal applicability. The films then come to embody these acts of self-assertion and intellectual overcoming and become objects of pride. How horror films can acquire necropolitical functions within the context of abusive systems of power is also clarified. These functions, which exploit the power of anti-tragedy, downward social comparison, or vicarious emotion, work to remediate aggressive, ascetic, or revolutionary impulses in ways that are not injurious to the status quo. This book champions horror as a source of self-empowerment and unmitigated beauty, but also attests to the potential social harms of the genre.

About the Author

Forrest Adam Sopuck was awarded his Ph.D. in philosophy at McMaster University in 2015. His areas of specialization are early modern philosophy (with an emphasis on 18th century Scottish philosophy and Kant), philosophy of mind (with an emphasis on the philosophy of perception), and early 20th century philosophy (especially Santayana). His current work explores how Santayana's philosophical views contribute to contemporary metaphysical debates surrounding non-mereological composition, individuation, substance, colour, and metaphysical fundamentality.
Product Details
ISBN: 9783030843458
ISBN-10: 3030843459
Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
Publication Date: September 25th, 2021
Pages: 131
Language: English