The Transgressive Urge: Horror and the Taboo in the 21st Century

August 22 at 5pm (EDT)

With panelists Stephen R. Bissette (Cartoonist, Author, Critic), David Kerekes (Headpress Books), David J. Schow (Writer), John Skipp (Writer, Director), Christina Ward, (Feral House), Douglas E. Winter (Writer / Critic)

Moderated by Heather Buckley

One of the functions of horror film and fiction has been the unflinching exploration of the forbidden, the underground, the taboo. In the 1980s and 1990s, horror experienced a surge of wild energy, and a backlash against it. The MPAA, television Standards & Practices departments, elements of the publishing industry, the Parental Advisory label, political pressure groups, and law enforcement – as well as the infamous "Satanic panic" – served as forces of repression against this provocative material. The era was also the beginning of conservative social engineering, splintered politics, and, in a word, Reagan. The very systems that would try to eradicate these rebellious voices also germinated the seed of a style in horror that mercilessly infected our culture through all manner of creation.

While certain restrictions have loosened, and more permissive venues for content have emerged in the years since, practitioners of the genre now face other pressures and penalties, potentially higher than before. In a society with ready access to pornography for every fetish, eyewitness cameras, and actual snuff footage, how has the cultural sense of the taboo, and the role of horror in breaching taboos, changed? Join us for a discussion about the evolution of this explicit mode of expression as art, exploitation, and rebellion.