By John O'Brien

There isn't any sanctuary.

That used to be taken away within the blink of an eye.  Humanity went out now not with a whimper, yet a bang.

Jack, a occasionally funny, occasionally philosophical ex-special operations pilot and soldier is without doubt one of the few left to struggle through the desolation left within the aftermath; trying to live to tell the tale as a new ferocious species emerges from the rubble, hungry and unrelenting.  
Will his specified forces education be enough?  
Will he be ready to maintain his teenagers secure and guide the few survivors via perils that now roam the area they once knew?  
Or will the hordes that now own the evening be triumphant, without end removal the final of mankind from existence?  Humankind used to be on the best of the food chain.  But that has now changed. 

This hard-hitting, action-packed sequence starts off with Jack Walker being without notice thrust right into a global where the infrastructure which loved Armani fits, evening golf equipment, quickly and costly vehicles and staring at the daily stock industry are gone.  Left in its place is the cloth global mankind equipped yet a majority of the inhabitants has vanished; changed via a brand new, savage, unrelenting, crafty, animalistic species which hunts and operates at night.

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Horror cinema, on the other hand, has always appeared to be rather more flexible and adaptable in its encompassing of the cultural moment, giving scope for filmmakers to encode changing socio-cultural concerns with ease. In fact, since fear is central to horror cinema, issues such as social upheaval, anxieties about natural and manmade disasters, conflicts and wars, crime and violence, can all contribute to the genre’s continuation. Since horror films tap into the cultural moment by encoding the anxieties of the moment into their depictions of monstrosity, there is an endless flow of material to ‘inspire’ horror filmmakers.

Given that film genres are intended to be descriptive categories based on shared common traits, how can so many different scenes of horror be usefully contained by either popular or academic conceptions of genre? Surely, it should be easy to define a genre by its distinctive set of characteristics, formulaic plots and identifiable visual style? 1 Some are set in the past, many in the present, one or two in the future. Several contain impossible supernatural monsters, others merely all-too-human killers, a small number improbable – yet physically possible – extra-terrestrial creatures, the odd exception may not – or may after all (hesitation being the key) – even contain a monster.

4 Marketing and fictional world collide in the search for the missing students of The Blair Witch Project. 5 The on-camera confessional of The Blair Witch Project. 6 Technology is the conduit for horror in Ringu. 7 Sadako: an incarnation of the vengeful female ghost in Ringu. 8 Torture is the game in Saw. 1 Categories of cinematic horror 5 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The author of a book is never alone when they are writing and there will invariably be too many individuals to thank each by name. Over and above the usual thanks to colleagues and family (you know who you are), I would also like to acknowledge all the students who have taken courses on horror cinema with me over the years, whether at university, at the BFI or at the Filmhouse cinema in Edinburgh.

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A New World: Chaos by John O'Brien
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