Torture Born: Representing Pregnancy and Abortion in Contemporary Survival-Horror

Sexuality and Culture 19 (3):426-443 (2015)
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Abstract

In proportion to the increased emphasis placed on abortion in partisan political debate since the early 2000s, there has been a noticeable upsurge in cultural representations of abortion. This article charts ways in which that increase manifests in contemporary survival-horror. This article contends that numerous contemporary survival-horror films foreground pregnancy. These representations of pregnancy reify the pressures that moralistic, partisan political campaigning places on individuals who consider terminating a pregnancy. These films contribute to public discourse by engaging with abortion as an individual, emotional matter, rather than treating abortion as a matter of political principle or a political “means to an end.” This article not only charts a relationship between popular culture and its surrounding political context, but also posits that survival-horror—a genre that has been disparaged by critics and largely ignored by scholars—makes an important contribution to sexual-political discourse. These films use horror to articulate the things we cannot say about abortion.

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Steve Jones
University of Northumbria at Newcastle

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