“Most people have a certain understanding of what a horror film is, namely, that it is emotionally juvenile, ignorant, supremely non-intellectual and dumb. You know, just basically stupid. […] A lot of people think of film, in general, as an escape, an escape to entertainment. But I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontation. Films that make you confront aspects of your own life that are difficult to face. Just because you’re making a horror film doesn’t mean you can’t make an artful film. Tell me the difference between someone’s favorite horror film and someone else’s favorite art film. There really isn’t any, you know. Emotions, imagery, intellect, your own sense of self—all of this can be included in a horror film.”
one goes to a horror film in order to have a nightmare—not simply a frightening dream, but a dream whose undercurrent of anxiety both presents and masks the desire to fulfill and be punished for conventionally or personally unacceptable impulses. this may be a matter of unconscious wish fulfillment, following freud; of confronting a hidden evil in the culture, as in ‘alien’ or ‘the stepford wives’; or of voyaging through the land of the dead and indulging a nostalgia for ritual […] horror films function as nightmares for the individual viewer, as diagnostic eruptions for repressive societies, and as exorcistic or transcendent pagan rituals for supposedly post-pagan cultures. they can be analyzed in all these ways because they represent a unique juncture of personal, social, and mythic structures and because each of these structures has a conscious/official and an unconscious/repressed dualism, whose dialectic finds expression in the act of masking.