Sartre describes in his oeuvre emotional responses that could easily be recognized as horrific reactions, the emotions the horror genre wants to evoke. Our sudden irrational fear of an unexpected face against the window (in Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions), Roquentin’s nauseating experience when the entire world seems to collapse from its determined and known shape (in Nausea) or the (disgusting) experience of sticky or slimy substances, substances that are not part of us but at the same time don’t want to let go (in Being and Nothingness).
Noël Carroll defines horror as a genre that wants to art-horrify: the dual emotion of fear and disgust. The emotions that Sartre describes are about this mixture of fear and disgust as well. In these emotions Sartre finds something that is ‘existential’ for being human. Maybe horror is the fiction that is the symbol of humanity. Let’s…
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