• Emma Vestby Jensen
  • Cecilie Emilie Bjørn Nielsen
4. semester, Engelsk, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The genre of horror has captivated humankind for centuries, giving rise to various subgenres, one of them being the cosmic horror genre, closely associated with H.P. Lovecraft. This study seeks to explore the distinct characteristics of the genres, horror and cosmic horror, specifically centering on the way in which cosmic horror has kept its relevance and how its interconnectedness with the philosophies of cosmicism and existentialism play into this relevance. The exploration will be conducted through a comparative analysis of four selected works: Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Stephen King’s The Mist, and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. In order to analyze these works, a brief definition of the gothic genre is provided, emphasizing the sublime as a stock feature. Thereafter, the basic elements of the horror genre are outlined, centering on its changeable nature, the characteristics of its monsters, and its ability in terms of building suspense. Following this, cosmic horror is defined with a specific focus on the genre’s main elements, with an additional introduction to its appertaining philosophy, cosmicism. Lastly, the philosophy of existentialism is presented through the perspectives of Søren Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger, and Jean-Paul Sartre, underlining the existential emotion of dread, and its contrast with fear. By applying these theories to the comparative analysis of the selected works, it is evident that dread is established in both the characters and the audience through a depiction of eerie atmospheres, different, but sublime settings, and, lastly, the incomprehensible monsters that ultimately disrupt the natural order of each fictional world. Horror and cosmic horror rely immensely on suspenseful build-up, hence the accumulation of tension serves as a valuable element for evoking an effect within an audience, as well as continuing to guide the response of the reader/viewer in the desired direction. As cosmic horror aims to instill psychological and existential terrors in both characters and audience, the philosophy of existentialism proves to be intricately connected to the genre. Hence, the theories of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Sartre demonstrate their relevance in connection with fictions of cosmic horror, as these perspectives validate an ideal alignment between the genre and the philosophy. In working with horror, and cosmic horror, a discussion of the paradoxical nature of the genre and its continuing relevance is also found essential, since several scholars have attempted to find a solution to the paradox, focusing on why horror remains both relevant and appealing regardless of the terror it induces. However, rather than resolving this ambiguity of horror, the true allure possibly lies within its paradox, as an attempt at answering the immense fascination and appeal of the genre.
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2023
Antal sider124
ID: 532306411