Disability in Horror Month 2017 is a new social movement within the horror community, conceived by Popcorn Horror, which aims to support disabled horror creators, examine the portrayal of disability within the horror genre, and promote greater diversity in horror content.
DISABILITY AND HORROR
From Tod Browning’s controversial 1932 film ‘Freaks’, to more recent examples such as ‘Hush’, horror and disability have shared an uneasy relationship. Archetypal villains, disposable characters, and shock reveals have – for the most part – prevented viewers from experiencing horror media with complex, realistic disabled characters. We’re not advocating for filmmakers to stop writing disabled villains – rather to create well researched, detailed disabled characters and challenge the representation we have seen until this point.
Disability in Horror Month came about as several members of the Popcorn Horror team have disabilities. Inspired by the success of other social campaigns within horror, the team decided to mark June 2017 as a month for celebration and challenging preconceptions. The team began to look at how their respective conditions were being portrayed in the films they love, and explore innovative ways of promoting a cause close to our hearts.
Popcorn Horror’s owner and manager Cara Clark, who was diagnosed as autistic as a child, knows too well the stigma of disability in popular culture. She explains; “Disabled characters in horror have often fallen under such tropes as a victim to be pitied, a source of shock, or experiencing a miracle cure. We want to get across the message that disabled characters can be complex, developed and engaging – and make their movies better by extension.”
“It’s also a great opportunity to hear the voices of disabled creators, and their unique relationships with horror. Horror has always been the genre of outsiders – it’s a fantastic community that we hope will get behind the campaign.”
Liam Irons, who designed the logo said, “Being involved in this project is really important as it’s something that comes into everyone’s lives at some point or another, whether it’s mental or physical health, and we all share our love of indie horror. Designing the logo was fun and challenging, I enjoyed every second of this!”.
AIMS & OBJECTIVES
Disability in Horror Month 2017 has a few clear aims.
To promote the work of disabled horror creators, giving them a voice and opportunity to share their work with the horror community. Many mainstream disability organisations don’t actually have too many of the people they claim to represent within their workforce. Disability in Horror Month is all about getting the work of disabled creators in front of as wide an audience as possible.
To challenge societal views of disability; starting with the horror genre. Disability has often been used as a cheap plot device, a way to make a villain more shocking or frightening or to incapacitate a victim. And that’s on the rare occasions where a disabled character actually plays a significant role at all! The campaign aims to challenge creators, asking them to think about the representation of this minority in their work.
- To promote greater diversity in horror. We’ve been inspired by the work of the Women in Horror campaign, and the Graveyard Shift Sisters, who have asked us to re-examine gender and race representations in the genre. Only 2.4 percent of all speaking or named characters in film were shown to have a disability in 2015 [link]. Horror can be a force for good, with it’s loyal and engaged community; and could set the standard of representation for Hollywood.
We would love you to get involved with Disability in Horror Month, and make it a worldwide movement!
Are you a horror fan or creator whose passion has been influenced by your disability? Do you have something to say about how your condition is represented in horror?
Have you made a horror film, or other content featuring disabled characters?
Write a blog post, make a video, draw something, publish a short story. We’ll share and promote your work, and encourage others to do the same. Or get involved with the cause directly, and create content for the Popcorn Horror site or magazine. Check out videos, films, art and writing discussing the cause. Even sharing Disability in Horror Month related content, using the logo, and spreading the word is a huge part of the campaign.
Save the badge and banners below for use on your site or social media and join the cause!