horror kinda serves (or is put to) the purpose of normalizing criminology/scientific racism, huh? like, you have true crime/horror people talking about "robbers," "murderers," or "serial killers" in the same way conservatives talk about "home invaders" — a type of unknowable, morally-forfeit Other with essential characteristics — and then you have post-horror stuff like horror romance or urban fantasy giving horror figures like werewolves, vampires, even *clowns* distinct, essential biologies

I'm not wholly opposed to urban fantasy/horror romance takes on vampires/werewolves/folkloric beings as biological species; many of them take it in a different direction.

but I feel like the existence of so many of those interpretations of supernatural figures (or, you know, clowns), even those that are deconstructive and critical,

imply, as context, a recurring process by which horror figures are crystallized into a 'race'

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like, a clown is a human person who does something (clowning). originally, a zombie was a living human person to whom something (poisoning or witchcraft — often related) had been done.

werewolves in medieval testimonies sometimes described themselves as, basically, a kind of magical practicioner — this is part of the sense in which werewolves were understood as "undead," they were otherwise-ordinary humans who practiced leaving their bodies and entering the spirit world as a wolf.

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consider the witch, who is so often these days essentialized and biologized as a distinct species whose "bodies generate magic" and whose children inherit their difference. the witch is also a person who does something

and, in many traditions, the werewolf and the vampire can be seen as a kind of witch. in many places in Africa, "a witch is a cannibal" — definitionally, witches or sorcerors consume rhe blood or life force of others for their power, like a vampire.

consider cannibal horror, too

in reality, a cannibal is someone who does something — usually as a funeral practice. cannibal horror is a pretty fucking racist and colonialist tradition, and often implies a kind of intrinsic, pathological hunger or biology.

though in myth, vampires are often physically dead, a vampire could also be a type of cannibal whose cannibalism is a part of their magical practice of shapeshifting, etc.

all these people who do something become people who ARE something, in a biological, essential sense

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what then follows is a beastiary impulse, a zoological/physiological dissection of the essential character "werewolf," "witch," "zombie," "cannibal," "vampire," "clown." this is an impulse shared by (at least) fantasy media, who diversify, lock down, crystallize the essential characteristics of otherwise comparable terms like "fairy," "goblin," "elf," "kobold."

the true crime version of this — "robbers," "murderers," "serial killers" — is less fantastical, but I have less of a grasp on it.

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there's kind of fewer layers of veneer on it, I guess. like it just straight-up reproduces the hegemonic ideology of 'criminal types' with specific and intrinsic pathologies, unrelated to structural factors

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@Manurweibling i don't think it's a coincidence that poe, lovecraft, etc were developing the american gothic horror genre right at the time that modern "criminology" was being developed

@dankwraith @Manurweibling there's also the esoteric angle, as in they kind of bookend the period in history where esotericism/occultism was radically shifted to extreme racism and reappropriation of non-white magical traditions. And that came with a lot of bogus classification and reification of practices and all that stuff mentioned earlier in the thread, it's very similar

@dankwraith @Manurweibling

medieval occultist: if you rub goat feces on a stone at a crossroads at midnight on Saint Fredegond's day you will summon a demon that will make you horny

19th century theosophist: the Secret Masters have shown me the Akashic Library which records all that has ever or will happen, and it says the aryan race are the only true humans

@Manurweibling
"all these people who do something become people who ARE something, in a biological, essential sense"

I'm a first-year occupational therapy student (ie. what one does with their time, not always abt employment) and we've been told about how people's primary occupation (job or hobby) often becomes their identity (instead of "i do photography" it's "I'm a photographer" etc)

@Manurweibling
.... i knew OT was a very western/white field but... idk. Haven't quite linked these thoughts adequately enough to say something Smart about it but i am /definitely/ seeing a connection here.

@certifiedperson yeah, I feel like there's definitely a capitalism-thing going on here about making the capitalist system of work seem immutable and natural — this is what you are, internalize it — but I'm not quite there either

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