Activity: Participating in or organising an event types › Participation in conference
Translating Tradition: Domesticating Seasonal Horror through Television
Whether the occasion be Hallowe’en in America or Christmas in Britain, there are times of year when television is more likely to engage with tales of horror, including in series which would not normally incorporate the supernatural. These eruptions of the abnormal at particular points of the calendar derive from social events which served to mark out the passing of the year in pre-television times. While elements of these social events remain, television’s seasonal horror serves to domesticate these engagements with the supernatural, reducing the engagement with the social implications of these events and focusing them on the personal. This follows from the previous domestication of these elements from public events to domestic ones in the Nineteenth Century, as part of the ongoing move of entertainment and ritual from public to private, from social storytelling, to reading magazine stories within the family, to watching them on television. The domestication and move to the private is not simply in the place of reception of these stories, but seasonal horror also concentrates on narratives with domestic settings, bringing the social horror firmly into the home. However, this domestication also drives the narratives away from the engagement with social and community concerns, domesticating the supernatural narrative not only in the sense of bringing it into the home, but also in the sense of rendering it safe to have in the home.