Have A Horror Filled Valentine’s Date With Films Featuring Disabled Characters

For many people, dating is not a straightforward experience. Some of us might have felt like something of an outsider, struggling with the complex social expectations of the dating world, or have experienced various barriers in participating. Perhaps even your love of horror movies has earned you unfair judgement while dating, leaving you wondering if you will always struggle in these settings.

Both physical and psychological conditions can also present significant difficulties when approaching dating. Wheelchair dating, or using other medical devices presents its own challenges. For those who haven’t had the experience of managing these conditions, often there is a lack of understanding and belief in stereotypes to navigate. But sharing a common passion is always a good place to start – and for horror fanatics, finding someone to share the love of scary films with is always an exciting prospect!

Of course, there is such a huge catalogue of horror films charting over a hundred years of cinema history. An engaging film to share with your date can be perfect for prompting conversations, encouraging both parties to discuss the movie and opening up communication. A free disabled dating site might be an option when starting out in the dating scene. One thing to keep in mind is selecting films that do not reinforce any misleading stereotypes about disability and disabled people. Horror is sadly not immune from less than impressive representation of disabled characters, though these attitudes are shifting in more recent movies.

Horror and disability share a long, difficult history. Even in the early years of Hollywood, horror films such as Freaks drew debate over whether they provided opportunities for actors with disabilities, or were created to mock or sensationalise their conditions. And as horror history progressed, there was the ever present issue found across the filmmaking spectrum of non-disabled actors inaccurately playing the roles of disabled characters. Thankfully, more recent horror stories have seen more realistic portrayals of disability, and have utilised more complex characters to tell original, frightening tales.

Hush (2018), for example turns the long held outcome of ‘the disabled character never survives the movie’ on its head. Protagonist Maddie, who is deaf takes on a more empowered role when she is targeted in her home.

The same year that Hush hit theatres, another film featuring a deaf central character became a huge hit with horror fans. A Quiet Place (2018) drew praise from the disabled community for casting a deaf actress in the role. Of course, it should be the norm that disabled actors have opportunities to represent themselves in the media. However it is still more common for those without disabilities to claim these roles. Director of the film John Krasinski explainedI wanted someone who lives it and who could teach me about it on set.

We should also point out that people with mental disabilities and illnesses have often been portrayed as a source of fear, the villains of horror films. More recently directors have aimed to depict the illness as the source of the fear – not the character themselves. The audience is increasingly being urged to empathise with these characters rather than view them as threatening. We see this in recent cult horror films such as The Babadook, where the audience roots for the protagonist to overcome the grief and mental illness manifested in the title monster.

We hope this has given you some films to consider this Valentine’s Day!

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