Horror films have exploded in popularity since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, many of them breaking box-office records and generating broad public discourse. These films have attracted A-list talent and earned award nods, while at the same time becoming darker, more disturbing, and increasingly apocalyptic. Why has horror suddenly become more popular, and what does this say about us? What do specific horror films and trends convey about American society in the wake of events so horrific that many pundits initially predicted the death of the genre? How could American audiences, after tasting real horror, want to consume images of violence on screen?
Horror after 9/11 represents the first major exploration of the horror genre through the lens of 9/11 and the subsequent transformation of American and global society. Films discussed include the Twilight saga; the Saw series; Hostel; Cloverfield; 28 Days Later; remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dawn of the Dead, and The Hills Have Eyes; and many more. The contributors analyze recent trends in the horror genre, including the rise of 'torture porn,' the big-budget remakes of classic horror films, the reinvention of traditional monsters such as vampires and zombies, and a new awareness of visual technologies as sites of horror in themselves. The essays examine the allegorical role that the horror film has held in the last ten years, and the ways that it has been translating and reinterpreting the discourses and images of terror into its own cinematic language.