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Phrases are coined; terms are invented; metaphors are employed. The invention of language always carries a blasphemous tone, be it comical, opportunistic or hypothetical. The invention is devoid of linguistic validation though the effect is unavoidably semantic. The neologism exercises language as the utility that its design describes. It is said that there has already been a word invented for everything that needs to be said. By the same token, some new things that need to be said need new words invented for them.

In August 1979, the first issue of the American magazine Fangoria was released. It is a bi monthly magazine devoted to horror movies. The title speaks volumes: gore, fantasy, phantasmagoria, fans. It simultaneously expands a multiplicity of cross references and contracts them into a referential construct. This semantic effect strangely echoes the relationship between the emergence of Fangoria and the development of the contemporary horror film, whereby an ever growing cult journal expands and contracts a critical voice for a mutant market that of the contemporary film: a genre about genre; a displaced audience , a shortcircuiting entertainment.

Another word is invented. More pretentious in tone and more theoretical in intention: 'Horrality' horror, textuality, morality, hilarity. In the same way that Fangoria celebrates the re birth of the Horror genre, 'Horrality' celebrates the precise nature of what constitutes the films of this re birth as texts. As neologisms, both words do not so much 'mean' something as they do describe a specific historical juncture, a cultural phase that is as fixed as the semantic accuracy of the words. -- Phil Brophy http://media-arts.rmit.edu.au/Phil_Brophy/Horrality.html


From the late 1970's to mid-1980's the horror genre was dominated by the slasher film, triggered in large part by the mega-successes of Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980). The early-1980's saw a welcome shift away from the tired and simplistic emotional responses, narrative conventions and repetitive camera strategies of the slasher film. Philip Brophy in his perceptive 1983 essay "Horrality -the Textuality of Contemporary Horror Films" discusses a cycle of films instrumental in signalling this shift away from the slasher film: the "body-horror" film. [1] To define this film he coined the term "horrality," meant to encompass "horror, textuality, morality, and hilarity." According to Brophy these films are marked by an increased viscerality and pleasure in defilement of the human body, with the body gruesomely deformed on-camera without the aid of editing, such as the stomach bursting scene in Alien (1979), the exploding head in Scanners (1981), and the bone crunching, body extending human-to-monster transformations in The Howling (1981), An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Beast Within (1982) and The Thing (1982). --Donato Totaro http://www.horschamp.qc.ca/new_offscreen/goregag.html

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