Tackling Wicked Monsters: The Horror Film as Experiment in Leadership
Journal of Leadership Studies
Trying to defeat a monster, the wicked problem par excellence, implies the demonstration of some degree of leadership. As the monster threatens normality, the "normal" must take action to defeat the menace. In recent years, zombie narratives have become especially conducive to the exploration of issues of leadership, as epidemics of flesh-eating ghouls compel the Living to come together and adopt various forms of leadership to respond to attacks from the Undead. But while zombie films are the most obvious example of leadership in horror cinema, the current article argues that most types of scary movies are also preoccupied with leadership. Whether it is the "Final Girl" resisting attacks from a masked killer, paranormal investigators battling demonic entities, or a poor fool forced to confront a giant beast to save himself, his family and perhaps the world, the horror film explores extreme scenarios that prompt the audience to respond to, evaluate, and reject or accept, various leadership modes, ranging from autocratic and hierarchical to collaborative, emotional and abject.