Moral Panics 5

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LO: to understand and evaluate the relationship between horror and Why would audiences want to ‘escape’ with a genre that stimulates fear and anxiety with horrific events?

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Page 1: Moral Panics 5

LO: to understand and evaluate the relationship between horror and moral


Why would audiences want to ‘escape’ with a genre that stimulates fear and

anxiety with horrific events?

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Moral Panic

What do you think is a moral panic?


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Moral Panics run in a cycle.

The Media use a scapegoat – they

persuade us – ‘they control’

Exaggerated reactions by the public = MASS


• Aids• Dangerous dogs• Video nasties• Hoodies• Mad cow disease• Bird flu• Anthrax• Petrol

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EVENTA crisis or event happens

and is reported in theMedia.

SENSIFICATIONThe public become

sensitive to the issue.

WITCH HUNTDeviants in society

are found and become scapegoats

for the issue.

AMPLIFICATIONPrimary Definers = Doctors,

Scotland Yard, BBFC, Governmentadd definition to the issue of

the deviant. It now appears tobe FACT!

PANICThe deviant issue is

escalated; the original problem disguised. There is

panic in general public.

COUNTER-ACTIONGovernment/ Legislation/

Punishment is agreed on to take action against the


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Jamie Bulger

• Aged 2• Born in Merseyside• Abducted, tortured

and murdered in 1993

• by Robert Thompson & Jon Venables (aged 10)

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November 1999: A juror from the 1993 trial said that instead of being found guilty of murder, the boys should have been found "guilty as frightened and largely unaware children who made a terrible mistake and who are now in urgent need of psychiatric and social help".

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A Video Nasty

• Violence in cinema was censored, videos were not.

• Regulation for videos was not introduced until 1984. Before this it was following the 1959 ‘Obscene Publications Act’ which was very broad.

• Bigger production companies didn’t like the idea of video due to ease of piracy so mainly low-budget horror films were released on video instead.

• Childs Play 3 was dubbed a ‘Video Nasty’ by the press.

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1. Put the 6 stages of a moral panic in the right order: AMPLIFICATION, EVENT, COUNTER-ACTION, SENSIFICATION, PANIC, WITCH HUNT.

2. Pick one of the moral panics discussed as an example (not the video nasties) and try and identify the different stages and the scapegoats in that case.

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UK Banned Video Nasties

1. Absurd (1981, It)2. Anthropophagous the Beast

(1980, It)3. Axe (1977, US)4. The Beast in Heat (1977, It)5. The Beyond (1981, It)6. Bloodbath (1971, It)7. Blood Feast (1963, US)8. Blood Rites (1969, US)9. Bloody Moon (1980, Sp)10. The Bogey Man (1980, US)11. The Burning (1980, US)12. Cannibal Apocalypse (1980, It)13. Cannibal Ferox (1981, It)14. Cannibal Holocaust (1979, It)15. Cannibal Man (1972, Sp)

16.Cannibal Terror (1981, Fr)17.Contamination (1980, It)18.Dead & Buried (1981, US)19.Death Trap (1976, US)20.Deep River Savages (1972, It)21.Delirium (1980, US)22.Devil Hunter (1980, Sp)23.Don’t Go In The House (1979, US)24.Don’t Go In The Woods (1980, US)25.Don’t Go Near The Park! (1979,

US)26.Don’t Look In The Basement

(1973, US)27.Driller Killer (1979, US)28.The Evil Dead (1982, US)29.Evil Speak (1981, US)30.Expose (1975, GB)

…What do you notice about these film titles?

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Audiences of Horror

Why would audiences want to ‘escape’ with a genre that stimulates fear and

anxiety with horrific events?

What is the advantage of a moral panic to a film producer?

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Let’s start to think of yourselves as film producers.

• You are correct that as a producer you may want to construct a film that could generate a moral panic.

• It might not be morally right, but you would generate lots of money.

• Create a list of five new film titles and state the moral panics these may create…put these on your blog.

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PlenaryPick a statement that you strongly agree or disagree with.

Persuade the person next to you why your statement is correct.

1. A moral panic is all about someone’s morals.2. A moral panic focuses on solving the main event.3. A moral panic uses a scapegoat to persuade the

public to support its cause.4. A moral panic must exist to get the public ‘on side’.5. A moral panic is stupid and doesn’t really exist.6. Moral panics are everywhere in society.7. Audiences are mobs waiting for the next scapegoat.8. It’s the deviants fault, not the media.9. Horror has nothing to do with moral panics.10. The horror genre has everything to do with moral