AbstractsWomens Studies

A Content Analysis of Violence and Sexuality in Slasher Films

by Eric J. Yelle

Institution: Central Connecticut State University
Department: Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Year: 2015
Keywords: Splatter films.; Mass media and sex.; Women – Violence against.
Record ID: 2061050
Full text PDF: http://content.library.ccsu.edu/u?/ccsutheses,2067


Violent pornography pairs scenes of sex with violence, and women are typically the focus of that violence (Malamuth & Check, 1985). Research has shown that the viewing of violent pornography has influenced how sexually aggressive a person can be (Vega & Malamuth, 2007) and that men are more sexually aggressive when aroused by the viewing of such material (Davis, Norris, George, Martell & Heiman, 2006). Another type of film in which sex and violence are often paired is the slasher film, which has a stronger mainstream media presence than violent pornography. The present study is a content analysis of the fifteen highest grossing slasher films of the 1980's, 1990's and 2000's. Scenes involving violence were coded for the frequency of, and graphicness of, violence and sexuality. The gender of the perpetrator and victim were also coded. Correlations between the amount of violent and sexual content in each film and the popularity of the film were examined. Finally, data from each decade of films was compared to see if changes have occurred over time in the degree of violent and sexual content in slasher films. It was found there was no difference in violence per decade and most of the violence depicted a victim being killed. The violence was found to typically involve low levels of graphicness. Additionally, a small amount of violent scenes depicted sexuality. Most of the sexuality scenes depicted the victim being killed. The sexuality scenes were depicted least in the 1990's. The violence depicted mostly male perpetrators. Male victims were somewhat more common than female victims. There were no significant correlations between violence and sexuality with box office gross and viewer ratings of the films. The results suggest that popular slasher films are not becoming increasingly violent. Sexual content may not be as prevalent in slasher films as historically thought. Relative amounts of violence and sexuality may not significantly impact on the films financial success or popularity. Future research with other violent mainstream subgenres should be conducted to fully explore the relative amounts of violence and sexuality in violent films. "Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Science in Criminal Justice."; Thesis advisor: Damon Mitchell.; M.S.,Central Connecticut State University,,2015.;