The Symbolism of Drugs in Horror Movies

Drugs began to become a staple of the slasher movie genre of horror movies in the late 1970s. It has been pointed out time and time again that a teenager who does drugs in a horror movie is usually going to be the next one to be killer by the movie’s antagonist. While the original intent of drug use in horror movies was to make the movies more realistic to teenagers, the depiction of drug use has grown into a symbolic statement of the dangers of that kind of action.

Drugs Alter Perception of Reality

In real life, drugs use alters a person’s perception of the events that are going on around him or her. So to are drugs in horror movies. A perfect example would be in the movie, Freddy vs. Jason in which a group of partiers who were drunk, and obviously drugged believed that Jason Voorhees was someone there in costume, even though he was wielding a machete.

Drugs Slow Reaction Time

Hollywood directors realized very quickly that characters in horror movies that take drugs are not able to get away from horror movie killers in a very effective manner. Very few horror movie fans realize that this is a direct statement to drug use. When a person is under the influence of some kind of mind-altering drug, that person is less likely to survive a life-threatening occurrence because of the fact that reaction time is great affected.

Drugs Kill

By taking a tally of character that smoked pot in any of the Friday the 13 movies, a horror fan will soon realize that all of these characters ended up dieing. The argument could be made about how the character of Alice Hardy smoked pot and survived the original Friday the 13th. It needs to be remembered, though, that she was the first character to die in Friday the 13th: Part 2.

The statement that, “Drugs kill,” is the deepest part of the symbolism of drugs in horror movies. By doing drugs, the characters in horror movies open themselves up to grave disasters at the hands of the slasher movie antagonist. Death becomes inevitable for these characters in the short-run, instead of in the long-run that drugs usually take to reek havoc on a person’s insides.

Drugs in horror movies will most likely continue to be a staple of the genre for many years to come as the action not only can be used as a great sub-plot tool, but as it also hold symbolic value towards the younger generations. It will never be known, though, if the message about drugs makes it past the screen, and into the minds of newer generations.

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