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Gothic kinship$
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Agnes Andeweg and Sue Zlosnik

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719088605

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719088605.001.0001

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‘Children misbehaving in the walls!’ or, Wes Craven's suburban family values1

‘Children misbehaving in the walls!’ or, Wes Craven's suburban family values1

(p.81) 5 ‘Children misbehaving in the walls!’ or, Wes Craven's suburban family values1
Gothic kinship

Bernice M. Murphy

Manchester University Press

The cult of the happy home as personified by the American suburban nuclear family is scrutinized in Chapter 5 by Bernice Murphy on Wes Craven’s horror films. The American horror film since 1960 has frequently used suburbia as a setting for narratives in which the concepts which allegedly lie at the very heart of the national psyche – the privacy and safety of the home, the sanctity and inherent moral worth of the nuclear family, and the superiority of the capitalist, consumption-driven way of life – are systematically and, at times, gleefully deconstructed. Fictional suburbanites are seldom menaced by a terrible ‘other’ of alien origin: instead, they tend to be violently despatched by one of their own, usually a murderous family member. Murphy analyses how, from the very beginning of his career, Craven’s horror films have depicted brutality and horror at the heart of the modern suburban family.

Keywords:   Horror film, Wes Craven, USA, Suburb, Nuclear family

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