Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Amy M. Herzog


film; history; horror


Before the 1960s, American horror is primarily focused on gothic creatures, aliens, and mutated animals. A major change occurs in the 1960s when humans become the monster, reflecting the violence and social upheaval in the United States during that decade. As America continues to change in the coming decades, the human monster undergoes multiple transformations. First is the lone psychopath, popular during the 1960s and seen in films such as Psycho (1960) and Homicidal (1961). Next there is the family of psychopaths, popular during the 1970s, and seen in movies such as The Last House on the Left (1972) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). Starting in the late 1970s and continuing through the 1990s, America sees a new type of human monster: the stalker. The stalker can be seen in films like Halloween (1978) and Scream (1996). Most recently, the torturer emerges as the human monster of the 2000s, as seen in horror films such as the SAW series (2004- 2010) and Hostel (2005). Each iteration of the human monster reflects the most prevalent fears of American society at the time.