Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Scott Liu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dardenne, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kim Golombisky, Ph.D.


slasher, film, movies, villain, cross-over


This qualitative thesis examines levels of pessimism as they relate to modern and postmodern horror cinema. Beyond assumed differences in levels of pessimism between the two genres, the study also examines implicit and explicit moralization of these categories. Specifically, the study questions if postmodern horror cinema's characteristic increase in pessimism is simply a change in the genre's convention, yet a change that is irrespective of either genre's capabilities to moralize. First, the study singularly examines the conventions of each genre as it relates to levels of pessimism. Second, the study discusses works that bridge the two genres. And third, the study speculates on the future of pessimism in postmodern horror cinema, specifically examining the genre's increased reliance on a combination of narrative and documentary techniques. In addition, this study uses content analysis as its methodological framework, whereby representative works of horror cinema (the data) are subjected to in-depth personal reading and textual analysis given the levels of pessimism between the two genres (the coding) via text immersion. Nonetheless, this study should be viewed more as a guided and informed exploration of certain characteristics regarding the genres and less of a defense since the data will not be quantified.