You’ve been working hard this semester, and I thought it would be a good break to have a little Halloween fun. Here’s how:

Read the following quotations about how terror works:


There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it.

–Alfred Hitchcock


All terror is “rhetorical,” for terror tries to be persuasive. It tries to convince a public to think and feel one thing rather than another. But surrounding the rhetoric of terror comes another rhetoric: a rhetoric of response, of process, elaboration and reaction.

–Robert Appelbaum


I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud.

–Stephen King


The 3 types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it’s when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It’s when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there…

–Stephen King


According to Aristotle, pity and fear are the natural human response to spectacles of pain and suffering—-especially to the sort of suffering that can strike anybody at any time. Aristotle goes on to say that tragedy effects “the catharsis of these emotions”—-in effect arrousing pity and fear only to purge them, as when we exit a scary movie feeling relieved or exhilarated.

–David L. Simpson


Now, find a video clip from a horror movie and use the ideas quoted above to discuss how terror works in your chosen clip—i.e., what makes it scary. Your exploration should be at least 200 words long. Alternatively, you could find a video clip from a horror movie parody and explain how the parody undermines the terror of the work parodied; again, your exploration should be at least 200 words long.

By midnight Sunday, post a link to the video clip and your ~200 word exploration to the Rhetoric of Terror G+ page.

No weekly reflection this week.