Children Beware! Children’s horror, PG-13 and the emergent Millennial pre-teen

Goncalves Antunes, Filipa (2015) Children Beware! Children’s horror, PG-13 and the emergent Millennial pre-teen. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Abstract
This thesis is a study of the children’s horror trend of the 1980s and 1990s focused on the
transformation of the concepts of childhood and horror. Specifically, it discusses the segmentation
of childhood to include the pre-teen demographic, which emerges as a distinct Millennial figure, and
the ramifications of this social and cultural shift both on the horror genre and the entertainment
industry more broadly, namely through the introduction of the deeply impactful PG-13 rating.
The work thus adds to debates on children and horror, examining and questioning both sides:
notions of suitability and protection of vulnerable audiences, as well as cultural definitions of the
horror genre and the authority behind them. The thesis moreover challenges the reasons behind
academic dismissal of these texts, pointing out their centrality to on-going discussions over
childhood, particularly the pre-teen demographic, and suggesting a different approach to the PG-13
rating, its origin and its present-day status.
Structured as a comprehensive outline of the children’s horror trend with special emphasis on its
influential film cycle, the thesis explores the dissonances between definitions of horror in the
children’s sphere and the adult’s sphere, and highlights the parallels between the children’s horror
trend and Millennial childhood both in period (early 1980s-late 1990s) and progression (initial
controversy over the boundaries of childhood, focus on transition and pre-adolescence, and
decline), suggesting the children’s horror trend as a hub for period-specific struggles over childhood
that were strongly associated with the emergence of the pre-teen as a new Millennial demographic.
The thesis therefore brings to light an unjustly forgotten trend and contextualizes it to reveal a
tremendous shift in American attitudes toward childhood, the horror genre and the film industry
itself.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Vailele Chittock
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2016 11:50
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2016 11:50
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/59477
DOI:

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