chapter  18
Rich and strange: the yuppie horror film
Pages 14

In this chapter, I shall discuss a group of recent American films that presents a distinct variation of the horror film I call 'yuppie horror'. This group includes, among others, After Hours (1985), Desperate!! Seeking Susan (1985), Something Wild (1986), Fatal Attraction (1987), Bad Irifluence (1991), Pacific Heights (1990), The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (1992), Poison Ivy (1992), Single White Female (1992) and The Temp (1993). Some of these films, to be sure, reveal affinities to other genres: both Something Wild and Desperate!! Seeking Susan, for example, possess elements of screwball comedy - a genre, it is worth noting, that shares with horror the irruption of the irrational into the workaday world. Yet, to a significant extent, all these films retain much of the style and syntax of the horror genre, while substituting a new set of semantic elements. And although it may be argued that some of these movies exhibit only a minimal relation to the horror film, together they form a distinct generic cycle that, instead of expressing the repression and contradictions of bourgeois society generally, as many critics agree is central to the ideology of the genre,l specifically addresses the anxieties of an affluent culture in an era of prolonged recession.