Representation and Diversity in the Horror Genre: How Design Research Can Inform the Creation of a Themed Lifestyle Publication
Kromrie, Jessica L.
University of Wisconsin--Stout
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Leigh Janiak, director of the 2021 Fear Street trilogy states, “What sets apart this trilogy from other horror series before it is the fact that it centers on the kinds of characters who don’t usually take center stage in horror movies — let alone go on to save the day and survive them” (Serrao, 2021). Although there have been improvements over the last decade, how can we continue to keep representation and diversity at the forefront to improve the content of this specific genre? The goal of this thesis study was to analyze horror films and publications to identify the socially harmful, regressive patterns, and tropes surrounding diversity and inclusion to which many beloved classics fall victim. Design research and a comparative lens are used to inform a new wave of horror media materials that hold diversity, inclusion, equality, and representation at the center. Taking an interest specifically in editorial design, the deliverable produced from this study will consist of a condensed horror lifestyle publication that is appealing to, and inclusive of, an audience other than the heterosexual, cisgender male. This study followed a research model that consisted of interviews with design professionals, comparative analyses of existing materials, a literature review, and case studies of current horror editorials. Through this study, we gain an understanding of the faults that live within the horror genre and can alter the materials, so viewers see more representation both on and off camera, or in this case, the pages within a publication.