“Disability in Popular Horror: A New Trend?”

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Raphael Raphael


Disability, Disability Studies, Film, Horror


Since its inception, film has always been fascinated with disability, although we don’t usually like to mention it. (I have written elsewhere how imagining the disabled body and the experience of having a disability has helped shape the medium of film, in ways largely overlooked or disavowed.) As a genre, horror (which might be the most popular kind of film at the moment) has always been especially interested in disability; the threat of becoming disabled or the threat of being attacked by a character with a visible disability or disfigurement have long been dependable narrative devices.  Even when a disabled character is presented as sympathetic, the very experience of having a disability is traditionally imagined as itself a source of terror.  For example, in Wait until Dark (1967), we are invited to vicariously experience being a young, sightless Audrey Hepburn faced with threats made horrific precisely by her inability to see.

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