Horror is Where the Heart Is: Representations of Home in the Horror Genre

Country: USA

City: Milwaukee

Abstr. due: 01.06.2017

Dates: 01.11.17 — 05.11.17

Area Of Sciences: Arts; Cultural science;

Organizing comittee e-mail: skerns@colum.edu

Organizers: Columbia College Chicago


The horror genre is no stranger to images of home, as even the earliest slasher film, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, interrogates relationships between the maternal, the adult son, and both permanent and temporary home spaces. Carol Clover notes that most horror occurs within a “terrible place,” often a space that represents home, and many horror films further play to fears of how supernatural histories affect one’s home space and its comforts. 

How do our understandings of home shift within the horror genre when “home” might mean a host’s body, a coffin, a sideshow, a hotel, a tent, a mall, or any space that provides security during, say, a zombie apocalypse or vampire attack. What happens to notions of home when it is the site of physical or psychological violence or contamination? This area seeks to engage with the spectrum of these representations of home within the horror genre. 

Papers might explore topics including but not limited to:

• Haunted Houses in horror films
• Psychological states projected onto home spaces
• The womb as horrific home
• Familial relationships in horror
• Cultural differences in the construction of home spaces within the genre
• The hotel or hostel as a transitory home site
• Invasive species as threats to the home
• How the idea of home blurs seemingly well-defined lines or disrupts traditions or constructions of power within homes
• Gendered or racially defined home spaces as liminal spaces within the genre
• Class relationships as they inform home and horror
• How sites become “home” in relationship to horrific events and their aftermath
• How emotions or bodily responses inform relationships between home and screen
• Historical representations of home and how readings of home may shift over time

Conference Web-Site: https://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/cfp/2017/03/19/horror-is-where-the-heart-is-representations-of-home-in-the-horror-genre