Nine Worlds 2016: ‘Powerless Fathers and Other Mothers: Examining Family-Friendly Horror’

This went well! Already have ideas for next year’s submission(s)… Bibliography at bottom of page, after talk text. Thank you for coming and/or reading.
Last year I started writing for Hammered Horror and was asked to review the Goosebumps film. It was a film that could’ve been better – I doubt even young viewers would’ve been scared by it – and this got me thinking about films and television with horror elements that are also family-friendly and good-quality. It’s difficult to make a scary film that won’t frighten children into trauma and to make a film that engages a wide range of ages, as well as taking into account individual tastes or odd fears – for example, when I was little, I was scared of E.T..

If a horror film is made that’s suitable for children, is that a limiting factor? If we take away some of the founding and common tropes in the horror genre, is it still a horror film? Are there things which frighten adults as much as they do children?

In this talk, I’ll be looking at definitions of horror and what is considered family-friendly, and how those can be combined. I’ll then look at the fundamental fears that children have and how some of these are carried with us into adulthood, and more individual experiences of fear. Fairy tales, which I feel can have a close relationship with horror, will also be discussed. I’ll then move on to look at how we can find fears and fairy tale elements in three films in particular: The Witches, Coraline and Return to Oz.

I hope that by the end of this talk you’ll agree with me that it’s possible to have effective, family-friendly horror and that a good introduction to the fear that cinema can generate can be a positive experience and lead to an interest in more adult horror later in life – as someone who writes for a horror website, I’m all for this.

First, what is horror?

Horror and horrific threats can come from an outside source, which can be natural or supernatural, and from within the self. Horror often comes of something unnatural, either in human behaviour, from our environment or from another dimension or world. In Horror: A Connoisseur’s Guide, Leonard Wolf lists the common threats in horror:

Featured creatures

Remorseless killers or killing machines on the loose

Shifting shapes

Homemade people

Invaders from…

The spawn of hell

Ghosts/malevolent spirits

Evil scientists

Horrid/unnatural children

Comic horror

I’ll be exploring some of these later, but first let’s go through a brief history of horror. Horror is a genre rooted in literature: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, Lewis’s The Monk, Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray – the list goes on.

The first horror film, The Haunted Castle, was made in 1896 by the film pioneer George Melies – while intended to be amusing, the film contains popular horror themes of devils and sadism. Melies’ The Infernal Cauldron, from 1903, also makes use of these themes, as well as unsettling music so that the devil’s comic prancing around becomes sinister.

[Clip from The Infernal Cauldron]

Some of the horror novels I mentioned also got the big screen treatment early on in the development of the horror film: Frankenstein was adapted for the screen in 1910, the first Jekyll and Hyde film was made in 1920 and Nosferatu, one of the most famous adaptations of Dracula despite a few changes due to the studio being unable to obtain the rights to Bram Stoker’s novel, was made in 1922. Horror offered the opportunity to test and experiment with the camera and special effects: one of the most well-known and successful instances of this can be found in the transformation scene in the 1931 film of Jekyll and Hyde, which used contrasting makeup and light filters to exact an on-screen transformation.

The horror genre was well-established by the mid twentieth century and we still remember the names of such horror greats as Lon Chaney Jr., Peter Cushing, Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee. Over a period of twenty years, Hammer Films had a ‘golden age’ of making horror films and the studio itself coined a subgenre: the Hammer Horror.

In the 1950s, horror cinema reflected fears about communism and the possibility of an atomic war. Horror changed in the 1970s due to new censorship changes – sex and gore became much more prevalent in horror films and the occult became a popular trope.  As the world changed, so too did the cinema: at the end of the twentieth century, horror films focused on genetic experiments gone wrong and fears associated with increasingly better technology. New techniques such as found footage, used in the Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, made horror films constantly fresh and newly frightening.

Of course, a lot of the films I’ve mentioned so far aren’t suitable for young viewers. However, that’s not to say that children haven’t experienced the development of the horror genre. For example, the Wicked Queen’s transformation in 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is still frightening today, drawing on horror tropes such as metamorphosis and demonic activity.

[Clip] The Queen’s exclamation of “Look, my hands!” engages the audience and draws them into her transformation, making this moment all the more frightening. Some frightening moments in children’s films are potentially accidental – as I mentioned earlier, I was terrified by E.T.. However, Disney films intentionally create moments of horror – Lampwick’s transformation in Pinnochio, for example, makes use of shadow and music in order to amp up the terror.

[Clip] Lampwick’s shrieks for his mother, grossly transformed into the brays of a donkey, make this moment particularly frightening.

Even the seemingly innocent Winnie the Pooh film from 1967 has a musical number which is oddly chilling.

Family-friendly films are films suitable for all ages, with G and PG (parental guidance) ratings. Focusing on PG films, there should be no nudity with sexual content, violence should be mild and any threat to characters should not be prolonged nor intense. So no sex or gore, which presents something of a challenge to the horror genre as we know it.

While children may laugh at cartoon characters which are “flattened by steamrollers, exploded by sticks of dynamite and sawn apart by whirling saws”, this is when the characters are presented as two-dimensional, essentially immortal beings. Wil E. Coyote will be in the next episode and Daffy Duck will rise again. In order for horror to be effective, we have to care about its characters.

Cinema is an engrossing medium:

“From its inception, cinema lays claim to the child – both on and off screen”. You can see this even in a home setting: if there’s something on the television, children will often stop whatever they’re doing and become engrossed in whatever’s on.

Cinema in general is also one of the best methods of tapping into our fears – while I love horror stories, I believe that horror is made better on the cinema or television screen.  With that in mind, I’m going to have a look at some common fears before moving on look at the fairy tale form and how this ties in with the idea of horror for younger audiences.

In the interwar years, it was recommended to parents that their children be shielded from frightening things. Indeed, it was stated that horror films inflicted a ‘serious wound’ upon children, similar to shell-shock. Fear, advisers said, would cause harm to the child’s mental and physical wellbeing. However, I believe that this does children a disservice – not only is it patronising to assume that children will be totally unable to cope with anything negative in a fictional world, but we also cannot shield children from all difficulties and pretend to them that the world is always good, just and shining. In ‘The Uses of Enchantment’, Bruno Bettelheim argues that it is possible to introduce children to evil and terror, while also teaching them how to master these.

Children have many fears – while we may look back at some of our childhood fears and laugh, as I do at my fear of the advert for Walls Vienetta, at the time they were as real to us as are our adult fears.

“Frightened children could not be ignored. Their fears were legion.”

The common fears in children include transformation, humiliation, abduction, rejection, abandonment, the dark and creepy crawlies. Some of these cross over into adulthood – while we know if we swallow a fruit seed it won’t grow inside us and we know that the man in the moon won’t come down and kidnap our mothers, many of us still share a fear of the dark, of creepy crawlies and of rejection or abandonment. Due to a backlash against employed mothers in the late forties to sixties, “abandonment by the mother was characterised as the child’s greatest fear”. As anticipatory fears emerge after the age of six, mothers were guilt-tripped by the idea that their child might fear their mother wouldn’t come home.

Looking back at the common tropes of horror films, these are easily-tapped fears. Night time is associated with malevolent spirits and supernatural creatures, huge flies and spiders are subjects of well-known horror films and in many slasher films the terror is amped up as we watch the ‘final girl’ face a killer or other threat on her own.

The fear of transformation and, by association, the uncanny, can also be found in many popular horror films – vampires, werewolves and zombies all represent a human transformed into something recognisably human and yet not fully human. The Fly, The Thing and Alien Resurrection all make use of this trope to make a monster even more horrific than a straightforward giant spider.

Humans can be distorted in more subtle ways than the merely physical. The child fears their primary care-giver, usually their mother, becoming angry or showing other negative emotion. If the father, seen from a nuclear perspective as the strong head of the family, somehow loses this perceived power through humiliation, takeover or some other loss, this represents a threat to the child’s stable world.

This leads me on to fairy tales and how these particular issues are explored within them.

Fairy tales are an old literary form of addressing issues and fears that children and indeed adults have. Their tripartite form, where the protagonist often has to face three trials or challenges, is still used today as a basis for many stories and films. Fairy tales were also among the early adaptations to the silver screen – for example, Walt Disney made several short films adapting fairy tales in the early 1920s. Fairy tales, dealing with some of the themes that horrors do, metamorphosis and rejection or abduction, are powerful stories. Many of the most popular stories we know are bowdlerised versions, watered down from the originals and intended to act as moral education or whimsical story with no real content to them, but the sources are easy enough to find and are a far more rewarding read.

Disney’s first feature film, Snow White, was extremely successful, even if some of the content of the original fairy tale had such a watered-down treatment as I’ve noted. The addition of the dwarves, too, only further bowdlerises the original tale, but, as I’ve demonstrated, the transformation scene of the queen into a witch is still incredibly frightening.

Well-known fairy tales feature wicked stepmothers or distorted mother figures, and fathers who are either absent or powerless. Cinderella’s wicked stepmother treats her terribly and her father is either dead or powerless to act; Snow White’s stepmother is an evil queen, the most powerful position possible; Hansel and Gretel’s mother or stepmother, depending on iterations of the story, persuades the children’s father to abandon them in the forest. This trope of evil, powerful mother or mother figure and powerless father is widespread and based on what is expected in the nuclear family model. In this model, it is the father who works and protects the child against the dangers of the outside world and the mother who provides nurturing care at home. If the mother fails or is rendered powerless, the child’s life is in jeopardy – if the father is somehow rendered powerless or is absent, the child’s life is not so endangered, at least not immediately.

There are horrific elements in fairy tales – while Charles Perrault’s version of Cinderella is purged of anything grotesque, the sources he used had the stepsisters cutting off parts of their feet in order to fit Cinderella’s shoe, and in the Brothers Grimm version they each have an eye pecked out by birds at the end of the story. The Disney adaptations of fairy tales, while often popular and well-loved, expel the more unpleasant aspects of their source materials.

Bettelheim argues that this bowdlerisation is unwise: it is necessary for children to witness a satisfactory punishment exacted on the wrongdoer. Additionally, children have violent fantasies and ideas, even if they do not wish these to become true. If a child is dissuaded from stories or indeed films with frightening content, they will be made to feel as if on they’re on their own in these thoughts. That is a far more frightening concept.

Bettleheim even points out that there exist fairy tales which tell about the need to be able to feel fear. The Brothers Grimm story, ‘The Fairy Tale of One Who Went Forth To Learn Fear’, illustrates this and presents the idea that fear must be felt in order to become a mature adult. Bettelheim’s support of the frightening fairy tale can be summed up thus:

“The original displeasure of anxiety then turns into the great pleasure of anxiety successfully faced and mastered”

Horror literature can be strongly linked to fairy tales: both have less to do with individuals than with archetypes. We recognise the wicked stepmother, the last girl, the powerless father, the build up to the first big scare. Fairy tales also still feed into many films: variants of the Bluebeard narrative, for example, of an ideal man who turns out to have a dark and unpleasant secret, appears in Psycho, Silence of the Lambs and Scream.

These films are of course unsuitable for children, unlike the films I’m now going to concentrate on. All of these films, I feel, share elements of what I’ve discussed thus far, including, most importantly, fears that are felt by adults and children alike.

Return to Oz

The first film I’m going to look at is 1985’s Return to Oz and I’d like to play you a clip from that.

[Clip]

Return to Oz follows Dorothy Gale, six months after the events of The Wizard of Oz, as she accidentally comes back to Oz and deals with the new, dual threat of Mombi the Witch and the Gnome King. The clip I just played you is from when Dorothy has to steal the powder of life from Mombi in order to exact her escape from her imprisonment by the witch. Mombi, who can wear other women’s heads as easily as she can wear a different dress, keeps this powder and her original head in the same cabinet. Even just watching this short clip, we as an audience can recognise Dorothy’s need to be absolutely quiet – and share her fright when she fails at this. Although Dorothy still succeeds in her task, it suddenly becomes more challenging and thus, perhaps, even more rewarding.

To look at why this scene is so frightening, we need to consider Mombi as a maternal figure. Jean Marsh also plays Nurse Wilson at the beginning of the film, who takes over from Dorothy’s Aunt Em. Aunt Em, while not Dorothy’s birth mother, is as good as and we can therefore count Aunt Em as the natural mother for Dorothy.  The takeover to become a warped maternal figure – taking away Dorothy’s lunch pail, for example, literally taking sustenance from the child – puts the audience on edge so that when we see the same face in the cabinet, we know to expect something bad to happen.

Mombi’s voice is altered so that it becomes otherworldly – like an angry mother, she is totally and terrifyingly different from the ‘normal’ mother. The attempt to bite Dorothy’s hand, while potentially comic, shows how willing Mombi is to harm Dorothy – although Mombi has imprisoned Dorothy to one day take her head, this is an actual attempt at physical harm on-screen. This willingness to hurt is alien to the ‘normal’ maternal instinct. Camerawork, music and the shrieking heads all add to the fear factor, and Dorothy just manages to escape Mombi’s body. I think the most frightening and otherworldly aspect of this scene is that the headless body hisses animalistically, with no humanity attached other than the physical form – if the body catches Dorothy, as it so nearly does, that is a truly fearful prospect.

There is little fatherly representation in Return to Oz, but the father figures available are interesting. Likely due to his worries about Dorothy’s insomnia, at the film’s beginning Uncle Henry is listless and incapable of work, even if this work is to provide the family with a house in time for winter. The Gnome King, while far more powerful than Mombi, is sedentary and in need of more victims in order to become mobile – he is powerful, but this power can only go so far when he is stuck in one place. The Gnome King is also defeated by an egg, which is the simplest tangible representation of organic creation possible – I could go into some academic waffle on this, but we’d run out of time, so suffice it to say that this is a strong indicator of the Gnome King’s impotence outside his own set parameters.

Dorothy, too, also has moments of powerlessness, when she is taken to the psychiatric hospital, when she is imprisoned in Mombi’s home and when she first meets the Gnome King. In all three of these moments, she is separated from her family or friends: even when saying an unexpected goodbye to Aunt Em, Dorothy’s removal from her family is shown by Nurse Wilson firmly holding her hand. Locked in Mombi’s junk room, she only has an aged chicken for company and finds paintings to remind her of her beloved friends. She breaks down and cries after the Gnome King removes her from her friends and teases her with a brief reunion with the Scarecrow, the first friend she made in Oz. These moments are short-lived and quickly resolved: a ghostly Ozma shows her how to escape the hospital, Jack Pumpkinhead is kept in the same junk room and the Gnome King brings Dorothy’s friends down to her, but they are important moments all the same: we may feel abandoned at times, but help is often just round the corner.

Looking back at the tripartite nature of fairy tales, this series of abandonments makes sense: Dorothy is left alone three times and, after each time, she becomes more resourceful. The first time, she barely manages to escape the hospital; the second, she works out a way of escaping the prison; the third, she works out how to bring back all of her friends and the inhabitants of Oz. The number three is also used in the test the Gnome King sets Dorothy: three of her friends go into his collection of artifacts before she does and each friend is allowed three attempts to work out which artifacts are missing people.

I couldn’t talk about Return to Oz without mentioning the Wheelers and, indeed, showing you a clip of their introduction.

[Clip]

The wheelers are Return to Oz’s equivalent of the flying monkeys: sentient, animalistic and violent monsters. I remember being frightened by them when I was little, as I’m sure every other child was. They are grotesque humanoids, with elongated limbs to make them spider-like and giggling shrieks reminiscent of hyenas. The Wheelers tap into the horror of the uncanny, semi-transformed human, they have human faces but pack mentalities and caw, bird-like, as they prey on Dorothy. Of course, Dorothy quickly escapes from them and later her robot soldier, Tik Tok, fights them off until they are reduced to cowering and whimpering, but I’m sure that anyone who watched Return to Oz when they were younger still feels a chill down their spine at the sound of those squeaky wheels.

Coraline

Moving on to our next film and keeping in mind the fear of the distorted human, here’s a clip from Coraline:

[Clip]

This scene is a pivotal moment in Coraline, where a young girl has to overcome a witch, calling herself the Other Mother, in order to save both her own life and those of her parents. The Other Mother, having been introduced as a better-looking version of Coraline’s real mother, has taken Coraline into her world, fed and clothed her, and created entertaining and beautiful ‘wonders’ for her. However, when Coraline refuses to stay with the Other Mother permanently, having been told this will mean having to sew buttons into her eyes, and challenges the Other Mother, she transforms into an angular, threatening form. Her screech on ‘three’ is, like Mombi’s scream, reminiscent of the warped quality an angry parental voice can have – I remember watching this scene in the cinema and shrinking into my seat. This scene also ties in well with the fairy-tale representation of witches:

“The witch resembles the way in which the pre-oedipal mother appears to the child: all-giving, all-satisfying, as long as he does not insist on doing things his way.”

When Coraline insists on doing things her way and leaving, the Other Mother reveals herself physically as a witch.

Considering the powerful mother, powerless father idea, this Other Mother is so powerful that she has created a small world for Coraline. She has even created Coraline’s Other Father out of a pumpkin – when he’s no longer needed, he begins to transform back to his vegetable state. This dynamic between the Other Parents is also present between Coraline’s real parents: Mel reassures Charlie by telling him that the publishers for their garden catalogue will at least like her chapters and Charlie responds to Coraline’s request to go outside by asking what “the boss” – i.e., Mel – has said.

The Other Father’s powerlessness is evident from his introduction: he is played by his own piano, although at the time this is for comic effect. Later, this piano attempts to silence him after he provides the first real shock of horror in the film, by pulling his own face out of shape in order to emphasise his words. The Other Father perfectly demonstrates the ‘unfortunate ineffectuality’ of fairy tale fathers – we don’t blame him as we don’t blame these fathers, since their impotence is due to superior powers. The Other Father is even part of Coraline’s first challenge, although he does manage to break free and hand her the item she needs to find.

Coraline also addresses a common fear that both adults and children share:

“A feeling of uncanniness … can come in the fear of losing one’s eyes.” Despite the gingerbread house world that Coraline enters, we are still immediately on our guard – and rightly so – when the Other Inhabitants of this world all have buttons for eyes. Babies are so often presented with faces, during feeding, cuddling and other nurturing, that we grow up with a strong interest in faces. We are hardwired to find faces in abstract objects, wisps of cloud and shadows. So a face with eyes replaced by shiny black buttons is bound to make us feel uncomfortable.

Like Dorothy, Coraline must go through a series of challenges, again in the tripartite structure, before her final face-down with the Other Mother. The distorted humanoid form comes back to haunt us in the challenges of the Other Spink and Forcible, turned into taffy and wrapped in a giant sweet wrapper, and Other Bobinksy, now not even human, but made of rats which make him move in a crawling, inhuman fashion. Coraline’s loss of her parents ties in to the fear of abandonment and we see her cry herself to sleep, surrounded by pillow representations of her parents, before we also see her rise, like Dorothy, to the challenge set by the Other Mother.

Coraline, like Return to Oz, also has moments of comedy to prevent the tone from becoming too dark and dreary. Coraline’s allies, the cat and Other Wybie, stay around long enough for her to be fortified by their presence before she has to face the Other Mother, by then further transformed into a monstrous spider-form, on her own. The abandonment fear is also mirrored by the Other Mother: “don’t leave me,” she shrieks, “I’ll die without you.” While her inhuman screams are frightening, the words are even more so as they call attention to the fact that all children must, one day, grow up and leave their parents. As Bettelheim writes,

“As an inescapable step in their child’s development towards true maturity, [parents] must seem for a time to have turned into bad parents”

Coraline’s emerging maturity is assisted by leaving behind the warped, screeching Other Mother and going back to her real parents. At the tulip-planting party she hosts, she and her mother get on better, she is friendly with the real Wybie and she is polite to the neighbours she had previously thought little of. The film’s ending indicates that she has begun to grow up in a healthy way, rather than staying in a world of mango milkshake and a possessive Other Mother.

The Witches

Alternative mother figures abound in The Witches and the maternal relationship is distorted to the ultimate degree. In this adaptation of Roald Dah’s children’s story, Luke Eversham and his grandmother travel to an English seaside hotel and end up foiling a plot to turn all the children of England into mice. I’d like to play you a clip of what I think is the most frightening moment in the film.

[Clip]

The horror of this moment may not be seen as so important in comparison to the general grotesqueness and plotting of the witches. However, the meaning behind this moment makes the horror even more powerful. In the middle of chasing down Luke, who has heard every word of her plan, the Grand High Witch puts an innocent baby in harm’s way in order to bring Luke out into the open to be caught. The Grand High Witch is already frightening: far more grotesque than the other witches, she is vulture-like, another semi-transformed human; she is also an extremely powerful, seemingly unstoppable figure. That she pushes a baby away from her towards certain death is the ultimate rejection of maternal instinct: this is a female figure who is fine with ending an innocent life in order to get what she desires. The delight of the other witches as they watch the pram careering towards the cliff edge serves to confirm this absolute rejection of basic humanity.

There is a lack of father figures in The Witches: both of Luke’s parents die at the beginning of the film and his grandmother, like Dorothy’s Aunt Em, efficiently fills the gap of a loving mother. Luke’s acquaintance Bruno, who is turned into a mouse by the Grand High Witch, has a mother who is terrified of mice and a father rendered speechless and incapable at the knowledge that his son is forever changed. In these parents, we see the mirrored horror of transformation, exacted on their beloved child. We also see an example of the fear of rejection: Bruno’s mother is terrified of mice and it takes more than one attempt to get her to accept her transformed son. Bruno’s mother’s fear of mice is interesting – it adds to the light moments of the film, but it also throws up the idea that children know better what to fear than adults do. Mice as pests are dirty and unwelcome in the home, but, in this world, to have a fear of them when there are witches hungry for your blood seems silly.

It is also worth noting that Luke’s mouse form is particularly cute, to reduce the idea that mice are the thing to be scared of.

Luke’s transformation, too, is far less gruesome than Bruno’s horrific, drawn-out one, ensuring that we don’t strongly associate a moment of horror and fearful repulsion with our brave protagonist.

The ending of The Witches as Dahl wrote it shows the boy-turned-mouse and his grandmother discussing their future: they work out that they both have roughly seven or eight years left to live and decide to spend that time travelling the world, turning the remaining witches to mice and eventually intend to die together. Dahl clearly trusted children to understand how this was a beautiful ending to the story, but this ending is changed in the film. The two still plan on travelling to eradicate the world’s witches, but Luke is turned back into a human by a good witch. This bowdlerisation of the story into a happy ending, I feel, leaves the audience slightly confused and even disappointed. Like Perrault’s Cinderella adaptation, the story is diluted in its final scene and children watching the film no longer have a clear bad versus good in the form of witches versus humans. While real life is rarely this black and white, the happy ending feels stuck-on and artificial, unlike the woven-in endings of Coraline and Return to Oz.

Conclusion

In mentioning this easy happy ending, I’d like to quickly turn my attention back to Goosebumps, which I mentioned at the beginning of my talk and I’d like to go into a little further detail before wrapping this up.

Goosebumps, the book series and later television series, was an ideal dose of horror for children and young adults: a nasty situation, children dealing with it and there often being a large twist in the tale. Goosebumps the film, however, threw this format out of the window, opting instead for late teenagers and adults to deal with the threat. The plot, that all the monsters from the Goosebumps books are unleashed, is an interesting idea, but with clean-looking, CGI monsters and Jack Black’s miscasting as R.L. Stine, the film doesn’t do well and fails to raise a scare or a laugh from its audience. The film has no younger protagonists that young audience members can identify with and therefore any form of threat from a computerised werewolf or other monster makes little impression, if any.

Return to Oz, Coraline and The Witches all have young protagonists that children in the audience can identify with. They all play on common fears and, I believe, support the idea that

“In the scary book or film we get to experience the blessed nightmare, the one from which we can wake at will.”

Or, in the words of Travis Knight, head of Coraline’s animation studio Laika: “You can’t have joy without a little pain.”

All three of these films are successful as family-friendly films and, I think, can all be seen as horror films with happy, satisfactory endings. They make use of the fears we have as children and as adults: abandonment, warped people and a parental figure powerless against another all feature strongly. While some people may argue that children shouldn’t be exposed to these fears on-screen, as I have argued the alternative is potentially more damaging to the child.

“In seeking to protect children, we harm them the most.” While as adults we expect Dorothy to escape and are certain that Luke will succeed in his takedown of the witches, the clips that I have shown you certainly send a chill through me. We may grow up with a couple of sleepless nights, but it is my view that these safe, celluloid horrors can contribute to us becoming well-rounded adults, knowing how to deal with real-world problems – and sharing a collective shudder at Return to Oz’s Wheelers.

Bibliography

Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

Joanna Bourke, Fear: A Cultural History

Vicky LeBeau, Childhood and Cinema

Nicholas Royle, The Uncanny

Leonard Wolf, Horror: A Connoisseur’s Guide to Literature and Film

Jack Zipes, Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales, Children and the Culture Industry

Jack Zipes, The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films

Empire magazine (September 2016 issue)

http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/593800/

http://www.bbfc.co.uk/what-classification/pg

http://screenrant.com/best-horror-movies-1970s/?view=all

http://www.bbfc.co.uk/education-resources/student-guide/bbfc-history/1970s

http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/lists/10-great-silent-horror-films

http://www.livescience.com/13434-phobias-fears-acrophobia-heights-agoraphobia-arachnophobia.html

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