chapter  3
23 Pages

Cinema as an emotional commodity

The horror genre and the commodification of fear
ByDaniel Gilon

An examination of the American movie industry in recent decades reveals the tremendous success of the horror genre. The genre includes big-budget productions, and its films earn major profits and are made by prestigious directors and actors. In the first decades of the American movie industry, films were often based on pre-existing cultural sources, such as the gothic novel. Although that creation of fictional fearful experiences as part of cultural works can be traced back to as early as ancient Greece, the first clear case of the commodification of fear and horror can be seen in gothic novels. The development of the horror genre throughout the years was based on the movie industry's success in producing different emotional experiences for different target audiences. The studios aimed to understand the audience taste based on hearing the opinions of the actual viewers and not just the mogul's intuitions.