When Your Darlings Bite Back: A Century of Making and Unmaking in Horror Film by Tonya Howe

Drawing my title from Stephen King’s writing memoir, I visualize the shape of feature-length horror film, particularly horror about art subjects, as described in IMDb from 1900 to 2020. The complete project takes the form of an interactive network visualization, as well as three 2D visualizations imagined as vinyl wraps in an arthouse cinema, specifically E Street Cinemas in Washington, DC. Carol Clover, who in 1992 coined the term “final girl,” writes that “[a] strong prima facie case could be made for horror’s being…the most self-reflexive of cinematic genres” (168). I wanted to test this with data by extending her observation to its logical conclusion and focusing on horror about the act of making, creating aesthetic objects or experiences. In horror, this typically happens through the rubric of unmaking. Throughout the project, I used Python, R, Tableau, Tableau Prep, Gephi and Illustrator.