Example Of A Film That Follows The Romance Formula Plot Stereotypes in Teen Horror Movies

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Stereotypes in Teen Horror Movies

If you enjoy watching teen horror movies, you must have heard things like “the African-American boy always dies” or “couples having sex are murdered.” Like the movies shout out (1996), Urban legend (1998), I know what you did last summer (1997), or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) reinforce these ideas with their formulaic storylines and negative characterization. Most teen horror movies adhere to a certain pattern. Some of these patterns are rooted in stereotypes.

Stereotypes are standardized and simplified concepts of groups based on certain preconceptions. We use stereotypes to try to make immediate sense of our world. Most people do not have the time to get intimate with all members of society. To bridge this knowledge gap, we use stereotypes to fill in the blanks in our heads. Although many stereotypes are used pejoratively, some stereotypes portray groups in society in a positive light. For example, French people are considered romantic, women are good listeners, and gay men have a good sense of fashion.

Although stereotypes can be used as a way to communicate with audiences, when used in an inappropriate context, the results can be negative. The primary harm arising from stereotyping is that it leads to discrimination and prejudice. The rule of survival in teen horror movies is to understand the stereotype, and conform to the formula. By developing this idea, the audience can accept that the reality in these movies can be applied to reality in everyday life. Stereotypes in teen horror movies are usually negative. Common stereotypes that appear in movies are often about racial and ethnic minorities, women, gender and sexual orientation, the elderly, and the disabled.

For example, women who dress up in horror movies are usually an easy target for a killer. A woman who boldly presents her sexuality is considered cheap. These films drive the audience’s opinion, forcing them to think of these women as second-class citizens. The women did not fit the formula of the movie, so the audience felt less respect for them. Without the audience’s sympathy, it’s easy for filmmakers to eliminate characters. When applied to a real world scenario, these stereotypes can turn into prejudice. A woman who chooses to wear minimal clothing will be considered inappropriate, and may receive unpleasant reactions from society. Wearing these clothes is no longer a fashion preference, but rather a character statement.

Other stereotypes seen in these movies are that jocks and cheerleaders are usually poorly behaved, and they are often the first to die. African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics are also on the death toll list. Gay people and those who are obese also cannot avoid being outed. Survivors are usually Caucasian men or women who are good-looking, not disorganized, and strong enough to take on challenge after challenge. Surviving teen horror movies is never an easy task.

Although teen horror movies are plagued with negative stereotypes, there was actually something positive about it. Positive stereotypes, such as, the heroine in the story is always strong and resilient to attacks and the leading Caucasian male served as a knight who would do anything to save his friends and the heroine.

Stereotypes are inevitable in movies, but there’s always something we can do about it. Maintaining balance is key when portraying characters in teen horror movies to achieve a more realistic feel. Innovation and fair portrayals are rare in the film industry, but that doesn’t mean audiences will reject any kind of effort to tip the scales in the right direction. Film makers should keep this in mind to avoid further degradation of certain groups in our society.

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