A Comparison of Goodnight Mommy and Mama

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The Genre of Horror Films

The genre of horror films has grown exponentially since the inception of cinematography dating back to a century ago. Horror film though not so popular like other genres based on romanticism, science fiction and action based movies, the creativity behind them confirms the rich artistry that producers and film editors employ to make scintillating movies (Pearce, Laura, and Andy 99). Horror movies are generally known as a fear-invoking form of entertainment shown in motion pictures and seek to generate a physiological response from the audience. Mostly, such horror-based genre elicits varied reactions from the audience such as increased heartbeat, shock, and bewilderment by targeting the thought processing mechanisms of the people. Though most of the earlier horror films were predominantly film adaptations from popular bestsellers from prominent authors like Bram Stoker and Edgar Allan, the modern content still retain the usual macabre plots based on supernatural, fantasy and thriller themes. The current paper will explore the similarities of the subgenres, plots and historical context and how the films deal with horror as a theme. The paper will also show different historical perspectives shapes the movies with a specific focus on "Goodnight Mommy" and "Mama".

A. Comparison: How the Films Deal with Horror Elements in Different Ways.

Goodnight Mommy

As with the common genre of horror movies, "Goodnight Mommy" epitomizes an eerily chilling film for the unsuspecting audience. The movie adopts the use of tragic suspense where the audience is left guessing or speculating above the motives of actions perpetrated by the main character called Mommy. After undergoing a botched facial surgery, a woman played by Susanne Wuest comes home to twins called Elias and Lukas respectively. Similar to other numerous horror films. The setting is at an isolated lakeside house far from usual activities. The environment sets the tone and mode for eeriness (Norman 56). The woman in question also adopts strange costumes, bandages her entire face to look like a mummified cadaver with only her eyes being visible. The first suspense occurs when what is expected does not happen. For instance, the mother's supposed twins are particularly unnerved at the realization that their mother is strangely swathed in bandages. The element of strangeness is further depicted by the woman's weird and outlandish demeanor (Day 217). Suspicion is also an element pursued by the movie and is built Elias and Lukas on their attitude and behavior towards the masked woman who is suspected of foul play. Though the movie is not characteristically made of bloody scenes, the bizarre episodes of torture and inhuman acts meted by Elias and Lucas on the woman all indicate a commonality shared by other related movies such as the "mama".


A scintillating and scary movie in equal measure, "Mama" is based on the common theme of macabre killings, bloody scene and distraught victims as depicted by the deranged stockbroker Jeffrey Desange. Jeffrey kills also the people closest to him and abducts his two daughters Victoria and Lilly. More importantly, the reckless abandon to conduct debauchery becomes more apparent as portrayed by the ghostly apparition called "mama".

who appear focused on creating pain and agony to all the people associated with Lilly and Victoria. The setting of the movie is very similar like that of "Goodnight Mommy". Both horror movies share a common theme and setting which takes place in an abandoned cabin. Similarly, there is a commonality in the conflicting or contracting personalities of the characters. Whereas in "Goodnight Mommy" Elias and Lukas are twin brothers with polar opposite traits, Victoria and Lilly also have the contrasting personal attributes. In both cases, one of the antagonists is good while the other is potentially evil.

B. How the Different Historical/National Contexts Shape the Movies

The historical perspective of the movie Goodnight Mommy somehow resonates with the events that took place during the holocaust where several innocent people of Jewish descent were subjected to concentration camps where they were eventually subjected to torture before the eventual genocide. The movie Goodnight Mommy also shares the eerie feeling as that experienced in the concentration camps, loneliness, isolation and destitution. In the movie mama, the characters effectively depict the cultural conflicts on the issue of death and the afterlife. The movie mama resonates with the religious revolution that occurred in the western world where different cults at the time embraced various practices as epitomized by the Mormon sect.

C. What Concept from the Class best Applies when Comparing the Films

The most prominent aspect of movie comparison emanates from the genre of the film being reviewed, the subgenre, theme, plot twist, and the storyline. Sometimes, the films are compared to the books they adapted from while at times they are produced from scratch once the casting has been done by the producers (Bound 331). The comparison can also be based on the contextual and historical perspective from their respective countries of origin. In some instances, the movies can also be compared based solely on their characterization and the role played by the actors to build the storyline and the intended topical issue of concern (Shand, Friedman, and Espi Forcen 423).

Works Cited

Bound, Keith. 'Terror & tension'psychophysiological suspense: defining a framework to measure          cinematic suspense in 21st century horror films. Diss. University of Nottingham, 2016.

Day, J. "Repeating Death: The High Priest Character in Mummy Horror Films." Histories of    Egyptology: Interdisciplinary Measures (2015): 215-26.

Norman, Jonathan. "Personality Types and the Enjoyment of Horror Movies." Journal of Social          and Psychological Sciences11.1 (2018): 56.

Pearce, Laura J., and Andy P. Field. "The impact of “scary” TV and film on children's             internalizing emotions: a meta-analysis." Human Communication Research 42.1 (2016):            98-121.

Shand, John Preston, Susan Hatters Friedman, and Fernando Espi Forcen. "The horror, the       horror: stigma on screen." The Lancet Psychiatry 1.6 (2014): 423-425.

September 25, 2023




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Horror Movies

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