Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Southern Studies


Southern Studies

First Advisor

Kathryn McKee

Second Advisor

Deborah Barker

Third Advisor

Leigh Anne Duck

Relational Format



How does one make a region horrific? For well over half of a century, the American South has functioned as a site for national anxieties over race and modernization. This study uses an inter-disciplinary approach in order to understand the various forces involved in the construction of the South in American horror cinema. Particular attention is paid to the influence that images of the civil rights movement have had on the development and evolution of the South as a horrific and terrifying space for the rest of the nation. It focuses on four main subcategories of the genre: the white degenerate redneck, the Voodoo film, the natural horror film, and the post-modern horror parody. Using the theories of Giorgio Agamben and Julia Kristeva as a foundation, the study also tries to evaluate the processes by which the South is constructed as the nation's monstrous Other. While it is by no means a comprehensive study, this thesis covers some major (and some minor) depictions of the region in the horror genre.



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