Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Motivational Speaker

I did not quite fully understand the assignment and was a little perplexed by Graff and Birkenstein taking credit for the class discussion methods used in the book and then there is the subtitle alone, Reading for the Conversation. Is this not what people in book clubs have been doing for years? Nevertheless, the information was really helpful and I answered the questions in the book using Stephen King's article, Why We Crave Horror Movies.

 In the article, King may have been responding to those that question the appeal of horror movies, hence the title, as well as those who question the mental stability of those who love watching horror movies. The first sentence of his article states " I thing we're all mentally ill; those of us outside the asylum only hide it a little better". I think King is in agreement with the assertion that those who love horror are unstable - to a certain extent; and the point he goes on to make is that those of us who know how to hide our insanity use horror movies as an outlet to release some of that psychotic aggression as opposed to the loonies in the asylum.

 I also feel that King is acknowledging the insanity by acknowledging the fact that no matter how civilized we think we are, we will always be primal beings by nature, when he state "anti-civilization emotions don't go away and they demand periodic exercise..." Of course one of the ways to exercise those emotions are through horror movies. The motivating factor in King's arguments are the preconceived notions and stereotypes people may have towards horror lovers.


  1. king... i definitely agree. i was a bit confused by the assignment as took me a few times rereading it to understand what we were supposed to be doing! it actually kinda helped me to get my work done :)

  2. oh yea.. i <3 book clubs lol.. nerd right? but i don't read horror! they actually help you to understand & see the book in different perspective.. even in class when we discussed Dracula that was kind of like a book club, it helped to hear other people verbalize what i could not, and to know that other people had similiar ideas to my own

  3. Yes, King's premise that a subconscious sadistic streak lies behind someone's love of horror is a very blanket statement. There are all types of horror films and not all of them are about senseless violence. The Exorcist, which is my pick for best horror film of all time has less to do with blood and more to do with faith and questioning the existence of God. For that reason it transcends the horror genre as a whole. American Psycho, another personal favorite, has a lot of gore but its underlying social commentary on the predatory nature of corporate culture and its ability to inflict pain on society without any accountability makes it several steps above a film like Freddy vs. Jason.

    Also, I too was a little confused about what to make of the Graff/Birkenstein article. It was helpful but it was also annoying at the same time...

  4. Plus, so many of the films based on King's work: Carrie, The Shining, Misery, have such depth and provide so much insight into the human psyche, they go beyond just chopping people up for entertainment...

  5. Good comments, here! The "book club" format is something I like to foster in the classroom; it's more comfortable than some classrooms :-)

    As a teenager, Dawn, I didn't like King's work. But now that I'm older, I agree with you; the real horror in hi stories are the characters :-)

    King, you've answered all the questions well here, but you were supposed to choose one of the 3 readings are suggested or something we have NOT read yet :-/