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Examines the complexities and contradictions that arise when the monsters in the movies are children.
Since the 1950s, children have provided some of horror’s most effective and enduring villains, from dainty psychopath Rhoda Penmark of The Bad Seed (1956) and spectacularly possessed Regan MacNeil of The Exorcist (1973) to psychic ghost-girl Samara of The Ring (2002) and adopted terror Esther of Orphan (2009). Using a variety of critical approaches, including those of cinema studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and psychoanalysis, Bad Seeds and Holy Terrors offers the first full-length study of these child monsters. In doing so, the book highlights horror as a topic of analysis that is especially pertinent socially and politically, exposing the genre as a site of deep ambivalence toward—and even hatred of—children.
“This is impeccably well researched and presented. It holds its own at the top of film studies scholarship. Sprightly in its survey across key areas of cultural anxiety and able to draw on a range of lucid examples, Lennard produces sophisticated and complex extended analyses where necessary. A pleasure to read.” — Linda Ruth Williams, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Dominic Lennard is Associate Lecturer in the Centre for University Pathways and Partnerships at the University of Tasmania, Australia.