While director Matt Reeves may have described the most recent Batman movie, The Batman (2022), as “almost a horror film,” horror as an aesthetic mood or idiom pervades representations of the character and his world across cinematic history. The stylistically and tonally diverse cinematic projects of Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher, and Christopher Nolan and now, Matt Reeves, have deployed some quintessential tropes of horror filmmaking in the course of envisioning the caped crusader and his adventures. Batman has served as a convenient and uniquely ingenious cultural device that allowed directors to crystallize the social and political horrors of their times on the cinematic scape. This list consists of the Top 10 Horror moments in the cinematic history of Batman. The scenes are ranked in order of least to most horrifying, with no. 10 being a semi-comical scene that draws on horror aesthetics, and no. 1 being an out-and-out jump-scare moment.
“Once upon a time, there was a girl, and the girl had a shadow.”
-Red (Lupita Nyong’o), Us (2019)
We live in a haunted house. The founding of the American nation began with a moment of sweeping amnesia about its defining structure—settler colonialism, a form of colonization that replaces the original population of the colonized territory with a new society of settlers. From depopulation to the reservation system, the residential school system to the plantation system, settler colonialism as an ongoing process depends upon a constant flow of physical and cultural violence. Colonization is as horrific as humanity gets—genocide, desecration, pox-blankets, rape, humiliation—and it is the way nations are born. It is an ongoing horror made invisible by its persistence. And yet since the inception of film, the horror genre has, perhaps sneakily, participated in, portrayed, and resisted settler colonialism, ensuring at the very least that it remains visible. Horror movies invite us to rethink the roles that fear, guilt, shame, and history play in the way we conceive of the United States as a nation founded through settler colonialism. They unveil the American experience as based on genocide and exploitation and force us to consider horror as a genre about marginalization and erasure. The ghosts in these films are “never innocent: the unhallowed dead of the modern project drag in the pathos of their loss and the violence of the force that made them, their sheets and chains.” Most importantly, they force us to see them—the shadows of our sins. Read more
Seemingly normal, yet subtly menacing surroundings, anticipations of looming evil, the creeping notion of something or someone being not quite right – perhaps you … A new heyday of sophisticated horror, led by the likes of The Babadook, The Witch, Midsommar and Get Out, brings back a cinematic conception which not only predated the horror genre but helped incite it. The uncanny is rising to new screen prominence. Even before Freud wrote his eponymous essay about it in 1919, movie theaters had already begun to capitalize on its captivation. Uncanniness or Unheimlichkeit shaped a number of early European movies which are psychologically twisted and phantasmagoric. Unheimlich is a weird, complex perception, not simply a milder touch of fear. To be unheimlich something has to appear basically nice, comfortable and familiar while at the same time feeling a bit off. Better than listening to explanations of the uncanny is the experience of it. This list takes a closer look at the cinematic roots of the uncanny. Read more
Consider this your Thanksgiving PSA! If your family is anything like ours, you probably spend hours cooking up a scrumptious meal for the family only to watch it be consumed in less than twenty minutes. So should you be looking for an excuse not to cook, I thought I would share 8 food moments in horror that are guaranteed to stop hunger in its tracks. Granted, you may vomit, but that’s a risk you run in viewing these disturbing and unforgettable scenes.
My selection criterion was highly scientific. If it made me gag, it made the list. Did I miss any? Shoot us a comment and let us know which food moment in horror still traumatizes you!
Now more than ever, we’ve been living in a horror film, as the isolation of seven plus months of lockdown has forced us into a reality mediated almost entirely by screens. For those of us working remotely, days are spent on computers and in video meetings. We socialize through phones and laptops too: Zoom birthday parties, FaceTime calls with friends, and confessional Instagram stories. Every person I interact with is as far away or near as every other. They’re all talking heads inside the same digital squares, as known to me as actors on TV.
It’s strange to live through a time of so much illness and death when daily experience has become so nonphysical. The virus, of course, isn’t virtual at all. Unlike the supernatural transmissions in tech horror films, where a haunting is passed from one form of cursed media to another, Covid-19 spreads through bodily proximity. So, we aren’t living in a tech horror film exactly, but our dependence on digital technologies sets us up to appreciate the genre anew.