Canadian horror, American bodies: corporeal obsession and cultural projection in American Nightmare, American Psycho, and American Mary

Title: Canadian horror, American bodies: corporeal obsession and cultural projection in American Nightmare, American Psycho, and American Mary
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2013, vol. 39, iss. 2, pp. [123]-136
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

Many Canadian horror films are set in the United States and claim to provide a graphic critique of typically American social problems. Using three made-in-Canada films that explicitly situate themselves "south of the border," – "American Nightmare" (1983, Don McBrearty), "American Psycho" (2000, Mary Harron), and "American Mary" (2012, Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska) – this essay argues that these and other similar cinematic tales of terror have less to do with America than with Canada's own national anxieties. These films project Canadian fears onto the United States to avoid facing our national implication in horror, mayhem and chaos; and more often than not, the body is the preferred site of such projection. In this way, such films unwittingly expose Canada's dark obsessions through cultural displacement. Ultimately, this article suggest that Canadians have a long way to go before they can stop blaming the American monster for everything bad that happens to them, and finally dare to embrace their own demons.
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