Emotion: Cognition, Threat and Self-Reflection
DOI link for Emotion: Cognition, Threat and Self-Reflection
Emotion: Cognition, Threat and Self-Reflection book
I have, thus far, considered images of abjection in ways that do not rely on psychoanalytic inscriptions of the subject and I have made a case for their understanding as representational triggers of fearful disgust. However, focusing on individual images is not enough to entertain how Horror involves cognitively complex emotions such as dread, which can be incited via actions and situations that demand a specific viewing involvement or via specific scenes that make use of cinematic elements that are not strictly image-driven. Think, for example, of the use of editing, rhythm and music in the seminal shower murder in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). Although I open with a more general survey of the ways in which Horror makes us feel – the emotions that surround the moment of mutilation – the body in distress within the specific context of Horror will concern me later in this book. The current chapter, then, seeks to extend my previous contentions on the role of images of abjection and the import of threat and corporeal attack by also analysing the implications of a genre that often seeks to involve the viewers in morally and ethically complex ways. In a sense, the affect that images of violence may have on viewers can be undermined, overwritten or emphasised by moral implications connected to viewer interpellation. Horror, as a genre that has often been criticised for its titillating exploitation of violence, can play with viewer emotion in order to excite concurrent feelings of shame and guilt and, thus, increase the impact of a given action, situation or image.