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It has been argued that George Romeros Night of the Living Dead reworked the tra ditional narrative

formula of the horror genre, normality is threatened by a mons ter, by suggesting that normality itself was monstrous and that the audiences rela tionship to the monster was increasingly ambivalent. (Wood, An Introduction to t he American Horror Film, 175-76). Critically discuss this statement with consider ation for how this transition from Hollywood Gothic to Modern Horror affected th e vampire film. Close reference to at least two vampire films is required. George Romero has taken the natural need to feed and consume and made it appear deadly. In the Narrative of the modern horror film normality is created through conformity. Therefore people who intentionally deviate away from these social no rms are deemed abnormal. This essay will critically discuss Robin Woods (1996) st atement which claims that normality is threatened by a monster and by suggesting t hat normality its self is monstrous. This notion will also be considered in rela tion to how the Hollywood genre has transformed from the Hollywood Gothic to the Modern vampire. Night of the living Dead by George Romero, 1968. this is a clea r example of how horror and the signifier of the Gothic has changed in location and time, which emphasise the fact that the world around us is increasingly mons trous. The essay will also look at the statement in close reference of two vampi re films. Blacula directed by William Crain (1972) and Son of Dracula 1958, by Robert Soidmak. Robin Wood, discuss how the notion of the monster threatens the normal world. He specifically links his argument to the instability of domestic life and the ima ge of the home which is no longer safe. Audiences have become ambivalent to the monster because the horror genre has transformed the monster into a more sympa thic or noble character. Shaw, (2001:) agrees with Wood, because he believes tha t there is a clear subconscious link between the between the monster and the Pr otagonist in terms of human emotions and their needs. Waller,2003, disagrees by claiming that the monster is less threatening in comparison to normality. He ar gues that society is easy to invade, due to it already being dysfunctional and c orrupt. The Hollywood gothic genre has changed from the old and unknown, remote surroundings of the Transylvainian countryside to the modern and familiar setti ngs of the suburban landscape of America. As Williams (2003;89) suggests the Got hic has changed in location and time. In relation to Woods statement, the gothic has been inhabited in American society allowing for normality to become monstr ous. In close reference to the two films; Blacula,1972 and Son of Dracula 1958, the transition from Hollywood gothic to the modern vampire films. The modern world has inherited the gothic, this means that the vampire does not need to travel fr om old world to new world. According to Huges (2003;89) Horror is neither what i t used to be nor where it used to be (Botting, in William [2003]). The stereotypi cal vampire in the Hollywood genre is predominately Caucasian male, affluent an d seemingly handsome. Bela Logosi was the first Dracula that insinuated a deep s ense of eroticsm in his appearance. The forties and early fifties continued with the horror narrative were the damsel in distress would be saved and the creatur e destroyed. By the fifties this notion of the threat of the other is continued in the fifties, in films such as Paul Landres The Return of Dracula, 1958. The va mpire in this film shows how even through death the vampire still survives throu gh its victims, this suggests that the monster is an allusive part of the human pysche. The audiences reaction to the transformation of the gothic is that we ca n see ourselves in the monster. Which has led to a fundamental fascination with the monstrous, alien or other. Wood, 1996, also claims that the monstrous is a s hadow of our fears (188). During the sixties the horror narrative rapidly became more complex, and the aud iences attitude towards the monster became ambivalent. We suddenly see a sympath etic, and noble vampire emerge in the late sixties and early seventies. Blacula, 1972 represents an alternative image of the vampire on one hand we see creature of the dark, out to destroy and on the other a noble gentleman who wished to bra ke free his people from slavery. The Horror genre regularly introduces its audie nces to a new form of threat one that has originated from within society its sel

f. The repressed emotions or fears have become apart of the Gothic according to Hug es (2003;88). Unlike Dracula,1932, were the monster is hidden behind a screen of charisma and seduction. Unlike Bram Stokers Dracula were the night encapsulated the most monstrous beginnings, day light has also become a threat as well. Wood has devised a formula that explains how the uprising of repressed emotions thr eaten the normal world. He claims that the repressed emotions with in an individ ual are monstrous. These psychological feelings drive people to rebel. This is e xemplified in Night of the living dead , 1968, when the young girl devours her p arents. This scene is iconic as it represents the theme of degeneracy that runs through out the narrative. The concept of the monster in the Night of the livin g dead, 1968 is constructed by bring the audiences everyday fears to life. The success of Night of the living dead emphasises the collective fear of the de struction of law and order. The representation of canabalism in the film also signifies the threat to the human race, were only the fittest survive. Another s ubject that Night of the living dead brings to light is the brutality of racism in America. Images presented at the end of the film reflect the tension between white and black races. Romero claimed that using a Black actor to play the lead part was not intentional however he agrees that there are politic issues addre ssed in this film (ZombieMainia Documentary, 2008). Wood argues that Modern Horror mirrors the oppressed uprising. Within his argume nt he also states that the horror movie is an attack on the bougies family. George Romeros Night of the living dead , 1968, places ordinary people (reflecting the family) in a situation that turns them into monsters. This Juxtapose the monster s outside the house that they are trying to escape from. The similarity in both these monstrous images is that the two have to kill in order to survive. The familiar image in the media when Night of the living dead was released just after the civil rights movement, reflected the tensions between the two races w ith in the narrative, suggesting that society is monstrous. Benjamin (Duane Jone s) symbolises an image of the black oppression for audiences watching , it would have been a shock to see a African American playing the lead role especially at such a tender time in politics. Benjamins need for survival which relates to th e Black struggle in America. The audience identify with Benjamin despite his app earance, because of his relentlessness to survive. In contrast to the Zombies wh o are relentless in their mission to feed. Modern horror has brought to light th e similarities of the monster compared to humane attributes. This reflects how t he audience is increasingly ambivalent to these psychotic killers. Furthermore the landscape of the Night of the living dead takes the theme of th e gothic and brings it into the modern world. In the first scenes with Johnny an d Barbra we see a remote location almost uninhabited, and this is similar to the location of Bram Stokers Dracula. However, the setting is in the rural parts of America, compared to the Carpathian mountains of Transylvainia. Which means tha t Romero has used elements of the gothic and established them with in the famili ar location of America. For American audiences this is increasingly disturbing b ecause of the identification with the familiar surroundings. In the Son of Dracu la, 1958, Kay lingers through the dark woods to find Count Alucard. The woods ar e not far from American civilisation, when the counts coffin emerges from the sw amp, Kay anxiously waits for him. Stacy Abbott (2007;65) states how the mis en s cene of this Hollywood gothic contains signifiers of both worlds. Abbott says: In addition to their ambivalent representation of time and place, each of these f ilms contain Signifier of the modern while continuing to present the vampire as existing outside of the modern ,in much the same way that the films to be both s et in the present and past .Abbott (2007;65) These two examples of how the Gothic has change in location, are a metaphor for how America harbours the monstrous with its society. Shaw, 2001 references to W oods book stating Normality comes in conflict with the monstrous, and it is the re lationship between normality and the monster that constitutes the essential subj ect of the horror film (Wood, 1986;73 from Shaw,(2001:3). The difference between the living and the dead is also at the essence of the Hor ror genre. Kay and Franks relationship is under threat when Count Alucard provid

es Kay with a solution to her desire for immortality. In this narrative the thre at is to the monogamous heterosexual couple. Wood considers the three variables , normality, the monster and the relationship between the two(174). Count Alucard poses a threat the to normal relationship of the conservative heterosexual coup le. Although it can be argued that within this relationship there are tendencie s for monstrous impulses. For example Kay gives up her mortality to join the un dead with Count Alucard. Kays deal with Alucard transforms her into a monster. Shaw (2001) comments on the thin line between humanity and the monster, insinuat ing that the link between the two is our fascination with the monster. He says th e problem is to explain how we are both attracted to and repulsed by, the monstr ous threat that such a force embodies. Waller (2003), provides a counter argument to Wood, suggesting that the monstrou s can easily invade the normal world. Waller refers to The return of Count Yorga , he says In presenting this attack Kelljean emphasises the frightening fate of t he victims, who fall prey to a force that easily overruns their comfortable worl d. In addition to this statement, an attack on normality is not so prominent when the creature is invited in by the victim. For example in Blacula, 1972, Tina is easily seduced by Blacula and despite his potential threat to her life, she dis arms her self when she is around him. In Blacula the Hollywood genre has change to occomodate a more complex and exotic vampire. Blacula still carries a sense o f charisma like Count Alucard but his revengeful caricature is more sadistic. Al though the audience my become ambivalent to Manuwaldes (the name Blacula gave him self) character because of his concern with the slave trade. In the beginning of the narrative he would be identified as a similar character to Martin Lurther King. In comparison to Todd Brownings film Dracula, 1931, LA can be seen as a culture w hich is positioned outside the familiar setting to the typical white aristocrat ic society- seen in the Hollywood Gothic films. There is a clear difference bet ween the old and new. The old world is seen as merely a myth to the citizens of LA. The most distinct power that the vampire has over its victims is their naive ty towards its existence. Abbott (2007;62) refer to Van Helsings statement, he s ays the strength of the vampire is that people will not believe in him. This also correlates to the constant battle between the location also changes from the ol d Gothic woods to the urban surroundings of the city. This transition form old t o new presents how the Gothic has changed in time. Unlike Count Alucard, none of the main characters are associated with upper class manners or traditions. Blac ula is an example of the gothic which has entered into the subculutres of Ameri ca. This representation has changed the normative identities of the white male protagonist in the Vampire film. Furthermore, this transition has also changed the relationship of the heterosexu al couple. For example in the Film Blacula, 1972, there is clear difference betw een the romantic relationship between Manuwalde and Tina and the connection betw een Kay and Alucard. Manuwalde gives Tina a choice to join him where as Kay int entionally wishes to become the udead, which Reynold Humphries calls (2002;9) plea sures and the death drive. The audience becomes increasingly ambivalent towards Manuwalde because he courts Tina with respect, although his appearance seems le es appealing with excessive hair companied by a queer costume that is similar Be la Logosis Dracula,1931. In conclusion, unlike the Vampire in Dracula, 1931, the monster is not foreign or unknown, its one of us which allows the audience to become ambivalent towards the monster. For instance in the Night of the living dead Barbra witnesses her brother Johnny as a Zombie which alters the characters and audiences perspectiv e of the monster. According to Trevor Fencott, Zombies look like us but its ok fo r us to Kill, (Fencott, from ZombieMania, 2008). Modern horror films have transformed the notion of fear and images that threaten the natural order of things. Films like George Romeos Night of the living dead

, 1972, has transformed normal human urges such as eating and consuming ad prese nted this as a deadly ad relentless killer. The reason why this plot is particu larly horrific is because these monsters reflect in some way natural human urges . In comparison to classic Hollywood Gothic which looks at the foreignness and u nfamiliarity of the monster for example in Brownings, Dracula, 1931. Dracula,, represents the undead travelling into the modern world and feeding off the blood of young women. Bela Lougsi has a sense of charm in his performance which suggests that the mons ter is hidden behind this representation of the attractive gentlemen. There is a sense that American society itself harbours depictions of the monstrous. Over the years the representation of the Vampire has changed from the charming to the sadistic. The Vampire has infiltrated the modern world and undermined modern sc ience. The need to believe in the Vampire seems desperately important has Van He lsing states. Not only this, as the Vampire narrative forties ad fifties, the v ampire becomes more resistant to the methods that are known to kill him. In Land res, The return of Dracula, 1958, Dracula swears he will not die but live throug h Rachel Mayberry, when he is gone. Wood, express how horror is a manifestation of our sub conscience fears which means it is more disturbing and threatening wh en the dead wont stay dead ( as quoted in the trailer for Night of the living dead, 1968). Waller presents a value argment that the image of the monster signifies some abnormal behaviours in Humans, Kay in Son of Dracula for example presents a dark represent of the female protagonist. Waller also suggests that the Monste r is not particularly threatening. This also suggests that there is a thin lie b etween humanity ad the monster as Graham indicates. In addition to this I the fi nal scenes of Blacula, Mauwalde is despair over Tinas death, and walks to the sun and dies. Delivering a tragic ending to a very unconventional relationship. Alt hough it is this relationship between the monster ad the human that obscures the notion of danger and also questions which one is truly the monster. Bibliography Journals Shaw, D. (2001) Power, Horror and Ambivalence in Film Philosophy special edition o n Horror. Volume 1 (December 2010). Books Abbott. S,(2007) From Hollywood Gothic to Hammer Horror; The Modern Evolution of Dracula from Celluloid Vampires; Life after death University of Texas Press, USA. Abbott. S,(2007)The Seventies ;The Vampire Decade from Celluloid Vampires; Life a fter death University of Texas Press, USA. Huges, Smith, William (2003) Empire and the Gothic; politics of the Genre Huges (2 003)A Singular invasion; revisiting Bram Stokers Dracula 88-. Palgrave Macmillan. Humphries. R, (2002) Classic Horror; Figures in a Gothic Landscape from The Amer ican Horror Film. Edinburgh, University Press. Graham, L,E.(2002) Whos monstrosity ?who humanity?; Montrosity , genealogy and r epresentation from Representations of the post/human; monsters, aliens and other s in popular culture. Manchester University Press. UK. Waller, G,A (1986) The Invasion of America from Waller, G.A, The living and the Un dead; from stokers Dracula to Romeros Dawn of the Dead pp. 233-271, Urban universi ty of Illinois. USA

Wood, R. (1996) An introduction to the American Horror in Grant, K.B (1996) Essay s on the Horror film; Planks of reason The scarecrow Press, Inc. Lanham, MD. , &L ondon. UK

Films; Son of Draculas, 1974 Soidmak, R, USA. Dracula, 1931, Browning, T. USA Blacula,1972, Crain. W. USA Night of the Living Dead, Romero. G, 1972, USA Zombiemania Documentary, 2008, Davis, D. USA The return of Dracula, 1958, Paul Landres, USA. Land of the Dead, Romeo, 1979, USA