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Horror Films | Munk Debates

SEASON TWO - EPISODE #49

Horror Films

Be it resolved, John Carpenter, not David Cronenberg, is the true master of modern horror.

Guests
Paul G. Tremblay
Noel Carrol

About this episode

Traditional religious holidays are losing ground in a rapidly secularizing world. Halloween, on the other hand, keeps gaining steam. Decorative pumpkins, elaborate costumes, and a cornucopia of sweet confections all signal that Halloween is upon us. But for the hardcore Halloween reveler, Halloween means one thing: horror movies. Horror films allow us to experience our fears from the comfort of our couch, confront them, and work through them. But all horror movies are not created equal.

Since the earliest days of the genre, few directors have reached the heights of John Carpenter. Horror aficionados, fellow directors, and film scholars hold Carpenter in the highest esteem for his ability to create fear from the mundane and believable, and his use of music to create an unparalleled sense of tension and atmosphere of impending doom. They argue Carpenter is the true master of modern horror, and all others are swimming in his wake.

But another camp of horror fans disagree, and point to another director as the true master of modern horror. David Cronenberg’s intricate weave of psychological and physical horrors create dynamic, challenging and thought-provoking films that have expanded the definition of the genre. They argue that no other director has done more to push horror into the future.

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Guests

Paul G. Tremblay

“I like to think of a horror film as the reveal of a terrible truth.”

Paul G. Tremblay

“I like to think of a horror film as the reveal of a terrible truth.”

Paul G. Tremblay is an American author and editor of contemporary horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction. He has won the Bram Stoker, British Fantasy, and Massachusetts Book awards and is the author of Survivor SongThe Cabin at the End of the WorldDisappearance at Devil’s RockA Head Full of Ghosts, the crime novels The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland, and the short story collection, Growing Things and Other Stories. His essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly online, and numerous year’s-best anthologies.

Noel Carrol

“The genre has always been about violations of the familiar.”

Noel Carrol

“The genre has always been about violations of the familiar.”

Professor Noel Carrol is an American Philosopher specializing in the philosophy of art and film, and holds PhDs in both cinema studies and philosophy. His most popular and influential book is The Philosophy of Horror (1990), which explores the aesthetics of horror fiction across all popular mediums. He currently serves as a professor at the CUNY Graduate Center, and was a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002. 

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