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The Scariest Things Podcast Episode CXIII: Dysfunctional Family Horror


ATMOSfx! Woo!
Just one big happy family. Milly Shapiro, Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, and Alex Wolff in Hereditary (2018)
And you thought you had family issues! Parenting issues. Spouse issues. Mutant parent issues. Demonic spouse issues. You know, normal stuff. The Scariest Things invites you to discover the shocking sub-genre that is dysfunctional families!

This sub-genre may not be as readily identifiable as Slasher, Home Invasion, or Vampire films, but there is no doubt that some of the most frightening and most sophisticated horror films around are dysfunctional family films. It speaks to the lurking fears that we all have that extend beyond the fear of harm for ourselves. It’s the fear of the dissolution of the family unit. The sanctity of the traditional family is a universal emotional anchors that we have. Shatter that, and it’s chaos, full of uncertainty and fear.

A lot of these films examine the failure of trust and compassion within families. Dealing with negligent parents. Going through a divorce from hell. The difficulty of raising problematic children. Horror movies can put a microscope on those stories and distort them to exaggerate the worst of our family fears. Horror films tap into the blackest of the black sheep in families, and seek to reveal all the skeletons in all the closets.

We’ve managed to cover the full gamut of the dysfunctional families, from the inbred mutant families to serious revelations of families pushed to the breaking point by forces demonic and monstrous.

Call the therapist. It’s time to exorcise these family issues!

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