chapter  7
17 Pages

Realist Horror

The Classical Approach Plato attacked tragic poetry for confusing people who took it to be more vivid than reality itself. It was crucial for Aristotle to show that we recognize and evaluate tragedies as imitations (mimeseis), in which plot represents action and characters represent people. Carroll's The Philosophy of Horror, like Aristotle's Poetics, examines a genre that seems to rely upon our direct, problematic interest in fearful violence. Again like Aristotle, Carroll argues that this genre evokes a distinct aesthetic response built upon a somewhat distanced intellectual interest in plot. We enjoy tracking the suspenseful narrative, and so we put up with the revulsion that Carroll calls "art -horror. " 5 Art -horror is a distanced emotional response to a representation: though monsters in horror are repellent and scary, they do not threaten us directly, and we are protected by knowing they are in fact impossible. They fascinate us because they violate our conceptual categories, arousing in us a strong desire to know something unknowable.