There are many clichés seen in horror cinema: the mask-wearing murderer, the doomed babysitter, the possessed child… but no terrifying trope can compare to the mad scientist. Perhaps it’s something to do with the unyielding trust we bestow into our real-life doctors, chemists, and professors, or the comparisons we draw from real-life tales of malpractice and madness from the pages of newspapers…
Whatever the reason, we know that Ph.D.s in power on the big screen have long set hearts racing and palms sweating—and not in a good way.
From the unimaginable evil acts of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the cannibal psychiatrist, to the frankly bizarre behaviour of Mary Mason, the young medical student-turned-illegal-
But what exactly is it about horror movies that get us covering our eyes, but unwilling to look away? “Horror cinema offers its audience rather more than squealy thrills. In focusing on what frightens us and pushing our endurance to the limit – though in a highly controlled and essentially safe manner, it opens a creaking door on the workings of the human mind and the cultural norms of our societies” confirms Dr. Linnie Blake, Head of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK.
“Horror may make us feel – the racing heart, the laughter of relief, the howl of disgust. It also makes us think – about outsiders and deviants, the monster and those made monstrous by the societies in which they live. It enables us, therefore, to consider the beast within us all and the beastly proclivities of the social world.”
Check the infographic out.