The Melodramatic Simulacrum

Bela Lugosi as Dracula
Bela Lugosi as Dracula

Many horror films, especially early horror films, contain elements of melodrama. For example, this photograph of Bela Lugosi as Dracula is in essence a depiction of a corrupt man preying on an innocent woman. What other melodramatic story elements can you identify in the horror movie genre? 


For those of you who read the Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulations, what are some of the ways that fans of the horror genre perpetrate "pure simulacrum?" I suggest browsing some "remixed" horror films on Youtube. 

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Comments: 23
  • #1

    Tamam Musleh (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 09:18)

    Simulacra are things that are repeated/overused and that no longer have an orginal. An example of this would be vampires, vampires are old characters but now a days in the entertainment world movie/show writers have started to create different types of vampires. Buffy the vampire, Twilight, Vampire Diaries, True blood, and etc.. these movies and shows have caused the audience to want to become like the characters, to see more, and are causing that audience to be impetient of whats coming next in the next movie or episode. The actions of these "major fans" of these movies and shows have became extremely overboard to the point where they shape their teeth like vampires, literally suck blood, and try to make theirselves look like the characters whom they wish to be.

  • #2

    Aya Nafei (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 09:24)

    One type of melodrama we might find in horror films is the constant battle between good and evil. For example in the movie The Exorcist , a little girl has been possesed by a demon which makes her the evil in the story. And then we have the good that tries to stop the evil which in that case was a priest who wants to rid the little girl of the demon (the evil) that possessed her.

  • #3

    Asma' (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 10:15)

    There are some elements of the melodrama that share with the horror movies. For example, women repression, empathy, sympathy, identification, stress, repression and fear especially in the horror films that the master narrative of them is playing god and fear from others, these are some elements that melodrama has as well as the horror movies. Melodrama also provokes emotions sometimes by some scenes and maybe by the terrible closure as the end of "The Final Destination " movie.
    " The exorcism of Emily Rose" is one of the Horror movies that represents women repression. This movie shows an innocent woman deceives by a priest man. He persuaded her that he will exorcise the evil spirits from her. After he start reading the bible on her the evil sprites refuse of leaving her and she dies.

    On page 175, there is another element that many horror movies have is the " threat". Threat is a very known theme. There is something stronger try to make them feel afraid and worried. in horror movies as "When a Stranger Call" This movie based on threat to attract the audience

  • #4

    Motaz AlShaer (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 10:19)

    One of the melodramatic story elements that can be identify in horror genre is emotionally overblown situation. “Melodrada is often used to describe an exaggerated, emotionally overblown situation” (172). For example, the scene of Irena in Cat People (1942) she turns into a panther whenever emotionally aroused so when Dr. Judd comes close to her and kiss her she turns into panther and kills him.
    Some ways could make fans of horror genre perpetrate “pure simulacrum”:-
    1- It is the reflection of a basic reality: the image is a good appearance
    2- It masks and perverts a basic reality : it’s an evil appearance
    3- It masks the absence of a basic reality: it plays at being and appearance
    4- It bears no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum: it’s no longer in the order of appearance at all

    Shaun of the Dead (2004) Remix :

  • #5

    Mae Shuaib (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 10:23)

    The film The Grudge is a horror, mysterious and thriller movie displaying the grudge held by an angry person whom found out his wife loved her son’s American teacher through her writings in her diary. Her husband chose to kill her, her son, cat and himself. The dead bodies become spirits, ghosts living in the same home with a curse that never forgives nor forgets and died with sorrow of love for another. The generic forms, melodrama elements in this horror film is “fear of the other”, “messing with nature”(human nature),” control by the other”,” unattainable love” and “living dead”. We see these elements put into use by the ghosts haunting the American couple whom moved to Tokyo into the home of these dead people. The ghosts whether the wife, son or husband reappear in the closet, down the stairs, bathroom and wherever the American couple are seen in the home. Each ghost/spirit chooses to pop up and scare the other showing their anger and hurt. For example, when the wife spirit pops up every time the American girl is seen near her husband at home or in the hospital bed.

    Simulation threatens the difference between “true” and “false”, between “real” and “imaginary” (168). This simulation is used when fans choose to copy and remake in remix of horror films from characters disguise and act for example, vampires and the love story or revenge behind them. Vampires half human/monstrous tend to have care and to hurt the humans. For example, Twilight is a fantasy, romantic and drama film portraying a human girl fallen in strongly love for the vampire who cares for her truly not just to suck her blood. But the problem is unattainable love because a vampire cannot truly be in love with a human easily. The vampire is corrupt through his nature to suck blood but he tends to seduce and love the girl. In the sequels of the film we see their relationship between the same vampire and same girl love grows enormously.

  • #6

    Yara Masri (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 10:27)

    A horror movie has to have a good story supported by elements to complete it.
    One element of a melodrama can be a scene of scary looking character attacking its prey and then its shadow appears on the wall and it starts shrinking little by little. Another one is the sound of a door or a broken window closing slowly , and also a scene of a tree without leaves standing alone in a graveyard.And finally a scene of red eyes sparkling in the dark.

  • #7

    Rawnaq abu laban (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 10:31)

    Simulacrum means the truth, and in my opinion directors horror movies rely on truth, real life, humans memory and imagination.
    So horror movies have a significant effect on viewers, it affects their feelings and behavior. For example, most of horror movies containing murder and if we want to see the impact on viewers we will find that there is a lot of murder cases that have been in the real world in the form of a tradition for horror movies. So (fans imitate movies without realizing what they are doing). And an examples of horror movies that containing murders "Saw, The dead silent, MAMA, Halloween night, etc.

  • #8

    Shazza Zeitawi (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 10:59)

    The role of the "evil kid" was played in the "Orphan" movie, where a little girl pretends to play the role of an innocent girl aged 9, but actually happens to be 33 years old due to a hormone disorder that stunted her physical growth throughout the years. She has killed many innocent people due to her jealousy as well as for men rejecting her sexual advances. In the movie, she seemed
    an inocent young girl that is calm and sweet due to her
    makeup, false teeth, and body wrappings that she had on, which showed us that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

  • #9

    Saja Surkhi (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:06)

    I think that fans of Horror are perpetrate in pure simulacrum because they see in it what they want to see, as it uses simulation and this term is explained by the writer as “To simulate is to feign to have what one hasn’t “ that means producers can create the world (unreal ) that they want to create and then show it to people , who engage , and deal with it as it is real . Moreover, this simulation can include any theme , or icon is exists , the writer goes beyond and said that the simulation enters to the religion world and more he said :”the idea of the apparition of god in the mirror of images “ in the horror movies case we can see this quotation obvious as there’s always someone who has the total power and can do whatever he wants , and destroy , or kill as he has the infinite power , so there’s this image of imitating God. So, people are linked to this kind of movies as it lets them be in a (fake , unreal ) world that gives them images of what they can’t see, or imagine.

  • #10

    Nadim Alayaseh (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:15)

    Horror movies

  • #11

    Tala zeitawi (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:23)

    The greatest horror movies of all are perhaps those which leave you wondering. One such film is The Awakening. A young women who is heartbroken by the death of her fiancé tries to disprove the supernatural with rational explanations and scientific methods, cameras , tape recorders traps. She believes the dead cannot haunt you. – She is invited to a boarding school, where a ghost child has been sighted, a boy dies under mysterious circumstances. Having wrapped up her work there, disproving the existence of this ghost child, she leaves. On her way out she has a frightening spectral encounter which defies all of her rational beliefs and she sets out on a heartbreaking journey to explore the unbelievable.

  • #12

    Dina Khaled (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:30)

    What other melodramatic story elements can you identify in the horror movie genre?
    The elements if Melodrama story are; Plot, irony, character, theme, Points of view, Symbol. the Melodramatic stories are often interested in human interaction which is often accompanied by singing and music. The different stories of horror films exploiting fear of the unknown things or things that are not known or obtainable in this world, and so these unknown things are shown by various forms and manifestations of multiple things. Unknown on things is the main reason of fear which is more or less rooted by the unconscious viewers, Melodramatic stories in horror movies sometimes presenting; religious stories , legends, superstition and folklore. Melodrama is life everyday and when it used in Horror films you see that It represents the image of the other self, whether he has fear inside him or courage. However, most of people doesn't like to watch Horror because watching a Horror is letting them discover their own fear in life.
    After this you can know what should the elements of Melodramatic story in the Horror movies genre should be; emotions(stress, sympathy and empathy, angry, incite, encourage) Melodramatic story must has the power to let people feel the story that is shown to them to live with the idea of the story''Melodrama has never lost it's power to make grown people cry''(p.172), another element that should be which is let the viewers response to every happening case or situation in movie whether the reponse would be anxiety, loss or hope the Horror movie must be Emotional continuity by the melodramatic story ...

  • #13

    Eliaa (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:33)

    What make a movie successful is the elements they use, specially Horror movies, what are the most important elements that any Horror movie should have?
    of course, MUSIC! is one of the important things for Horror,,
    Every element complete another, such as music alone does not work, music with shadows of a knife/gun/man and quick scenes of scary faces that comes suddenly on the screen,,also silence and suddenly shouting, footsteps..
    and of course, a door/window that closes or opens slowly.
    "Melodramas about feeling of more accurately, about provoking emotions, perhaps more intense than what called for by the story being told" P.172
    So all Horror movies are about the reaction of the audience, their aim is to make us be scared and frightened.

  • #14

    nadimalayaseh (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:36)

    Horror is one of the most famous genres that includes melodrama elements in its movie scenes. It also known as a body genre where bodies of men and vampires are used to make the movie looks bloody and spiritual. Both melodrama and horror have a strong physical response, e.g fear, tears, , sexual arousal, and respectively. The use of melodrama in such a horror film make a sense in any film. Designing a specific soundtrack involving dialogue, and instrumentals, music and sound effects. Melody might be associated with particular characters or places and is commonly used to enhance a desired emotional effect and insure feelings in support of the story. Different types of musical accompaniment are conventional in particular genres: "sweeping strings are often used in romantic melodramas", for example, while scary music is used in a scene it supports the meaning and the scary situation. Sounds of heart-beats increase the stress of the audience when they watch a crime scene. Both terms Simulation and Simulacrum can be realized in Horror movies. Because the image in similar to what people believe or want to see and might be like it but it in the same time different than what is true or real.

  • #15

    Eliaa (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:39)

    An example of a horror movie that scared me, "The Ring 1 & 2" scary scenes for a woman covered her face with tall hair. A video tape that has a recorded video for this woman, and anyone who watches that tape is cursed, and in the end he dies.

  • #16

    Eliaa (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:44)

    "Melodrama demands. For Melodrama to work, an audience must be told what to feel and when to feel it; viewers must be hooked and reeled in. narrative movement must be unstoppable and not allow any questions to be asked." p.176

  • #17

    Dima Akel (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 12:05)

    The 1990 movie "Ghost" is a thriller, horror and romantic movie. Oh and tragedy-- i forgot the part where the lover boy dies. In the movie there is a ghost that haunts a girl and her boyfriend. This ghost happens to be the girl's ex husband who just dies, therefore he cannot bear the idea of her being with someone else other than him. So he goes after them until he finally kills her boyfriend and makes the girl's life miserable. This is a confusing movie because throughout the whole movie the girl is terrified from this ghost who isnt even real! I mean how can you possibly be afraid of something that does not exist? So a spirit that does not even exist ends up ruining the girl's life.

    this could also be part of the melodramatic element that we mentioned in class which is the "corrupt men attacking virtuous woman". And in this case, it is the ghost attacking his ex-girlfriend. Maybe he didnt mean to directly attack her in the movie but he sure killed her love, terrified the hell out of her and ruined her life- so its worse than just attacking!

  • #18

    Lama Sub-Laban (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 12:18)

    “Caution and exploitation are two of melodrama's main attributes.” (Chapter 5, the stories told by film, P.176) these two main attributes are used in Case 39 movie, a 2009 horror movie that uses lots of melodrama types, such as Caution and exploitation and the use of the threat element. The movie talks about a Social worker Emily Jenkins (Renée Zellweger) who is assigned to investigate the family of ten year-old Lilith Sullivan (Jodelle Ferland). She Ends up saving Lilith from her parent who were then thrown in the mental institution, and Lilith moves to live with Emily, where then she discovered that the girl is not as innocent as she really thinks. Lilith turns out to be a devil that Emily has to keep caution from because she have to save herself, and she has to find a way to kill Lilith with. And also Lilith took advantage (exploitation) of Emily when she used her to get rid of her parents. The movie Ends with a very big threat element that was shown when Emily was driving the car at a high speed, hoping to bring fear to Lilith (the little devil) but instead, Lilith tries to trap Emily in her childhood painful memory but Emily fights back and soon Lilith became afraid, this fast fearful ride ends up when Emily drives the car off a pier. The car sank same, and the movie ends up with Emily leaving Lilith sinking in the car. At the end I would like to use the book in saying that: “Melodrama must create a world a world of threat, not only to its characters but to its audience, before it resolves itself” (Chapter 5, the stories told by film, P.175)

  • #19

    Philip Rahn Hopper (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 12:31)

    Alright then. Some of you have made some really interesting comments that reflect an attempt to grapple with the assigned reading. Others here seem to be repeating vague generalities about personal feelings that do not really bear on that reading. I hope we can get to this blog in class. In any event, further comments will not be considered part of this week's response.

  • #20

    Sabi Abu-Swelim (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 12:31)

    “Warm Bodies” is a horror, romance movie that offers the viewers to look at some of the melodramatic story elements that usually do exist and can be identified in the horror movie genre. As a short synopsis, in a post-apocalyptic USA, the survivors live in a city surrounded by walls that separate them from the living dead. After a highly unusual zombie named R saves a still-living girl from an attack, the two form a relationship that sets in motion events that might transform the entire lifeless world. R saves Julie from the other zombies and hides her in the plane where he lives. Along the days, they develop a weird relationship and become friends. When a group of zombies led by R's friend M finds Julie, R protects her. Soon the zombies including R change their emotions and are capable to dream.
    Basically, this movie applies some of the melodramatic story elements in a way that provokes your emotion since melodrama, and melodramatic movies are “the central cinematic form that creates empathy and identification” (Page, 172). It is about “feeling or, more accurately, about provoking emotions” Page, 172). Also, the movie applies another important melodramatic element which as Robert Kolker puts it, “Melodrama must create a world of threat, not only to its characters but to its audience” (175). In this particular aspect, Warm Bodies which is filled with threat and desire of his own creates the threat constantly, especially when the R takes the girl to make her stay with him right among the other zombies.
    Last but not least, one of the most vivid melodramatic elements in this movie is that “Women save men emotionally, just as men save women physically” (182).
    Fans of the horror genre perpetrate “pure simulacrum” as one way of practicing reception and negotiation. According to Robert Kolker, “our gaze is so woven that a two- or three- way pattern is formed in which we are given pride and the illusion of ownership of the narrative space. Things happen for our eyes, and as our eyes entangled with the gazes of the character in the film, we feel part of events, an element of the narrative” (Page, 43)

  • #21

    Hayat Hamdan (Tuesday, 11 February 2014 15:33)

    Horror movies aim to create fear, panic and scary audience through many ways of show scene with the use of sound. It provoke the audience feelings of horror and fear and make him live into the unreal word which is the world of movies. we can't deny that we don't like to watch horror movies although we knew its fake and not real. but people like to see horrifying things. As for the text of Simulacra and Simulation, Baudrillard states that "Simulacrum is true". I see that simulations doesn't mean to hide the truth of bring us a fals image, because it create another truth than the real one. It makes us believe of such a non- existent things, which can be exist only in our imagination. The text gives us the example of Disneyland the imaginary world of simulation. "Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest of is real, when in fact all of Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but in order of the hyperreal and of simulation" (p172). The author tries to say that Disneyland create the alternative reality which is so much different from our reality.

    Example of Horror Film is : The Gravedancers

  • #22

    Saja Surkhi (Tuesday, 18 February 2014 11:24)

    The host film, besides it is an amazing film from a lot of sides , such as the script , the shooting , the action , the characters. Also it’s a film that has the horror theme and that was shown in a way that is related to horror films but isn’t in that classical way. Such as we find that the aspect of living dead is shown in the film but in the way that to complete the story ,for example when the monster hold the girl we thought that she’s dead but she’s wasn’t , and that let the story going on in a reality form in somehow. Another aspect we find it in all horror films is playing with nature , and this is clearly shown in the film but in a way that is organized with the story , I mean that the monster destroyed nature but in a way suits the coming up scenes suits to solve the plot , which is to find . Moreover the power of the monster it was a clear aspect in the film and it isn’t in the way the monster kill people , or eat them and that’s it ! No! in the film we find that the monster reserve the casualties in a place under ground to eat them later, and that was the link that lead to solve the plot point . “Melodrama is often used to describe and exaggerated , emotionally overblown situation “ ( p.172) and that was shown in the film we see that there were an exaggeration in showing the monster , which let us engage to the film in our emotions and sometimes react as if it was reality , like when screamed and laughed and felt sad in some scenes.

  • #23

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