A Plague Upon Our Palates: Examining The Cannibal as Metaphor for the Ongoing Pandemic

Dani Bethea
11 min readJun 5, 2024
Raw (2016). Photo courtesy of Petit Film/Wild Bunch.

The new horror kids on the block aren’t alright. They are traumatized, not just because of the killers trying to get them — no that’s still applicable — and plenty of them are back to the good old days of being the distributors of blood-soaked justice (see the rebooted Scream franchise) or righteous cool weapon-wielding dispatchers of retribution themselves (e.g., Terrifier 2).

…plus, the genre has heavily leaned on women and girls as the faces of horror cinema for a myriad of reasons (not always for sexist or misogynistic reasons but that tether is most certainly there and it should be acknowledged). Also, the needle has moved slightly for queer horror protagonists but not nearly enough in a genre as camp and boundary bulldozing as this and it’s a shame.

We may root for these kids as the heroes or at the very least anti-heroes but more and more of the young characters featured in horror these days are morally grey or slip gradually into antagonism (e.g., Talk to Me, Bones and All, Pearl).

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Dani Bethea

Horror Sommelier & Pop Culture Pontificator. Prev EIC: We Are Horror. Published: Studies In the Fantastic + Women of Jenji Kohan + Montréal Monstrum Society .