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Deaf Culture in Horror Movies

gpascal's picture

Hush Official Trailer 1 (2016) - Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jr. Movie HD

A Quiet Place Official Trailer #1 (2018) Emily Blunt, John Krasinski ...

I was watching something this past weekend and saw a trailer for a movie calledĀ A Quiet Place and the trailer includes a scene with the family eating dinner in complete silence, using sign language to communicate. At first I thought this was very cool that a major movie was being made about a deaf family but then I realized that the family is hearing, not only in real life, but also in the movie. I became slightly annoyed because it seems like an appropriation of deaf culture in order to play on peoples' fear of disability and market the movie. It seemed greedy to me for the movie makers to take the language of the deaf community and use it as an agent of fear for the sake of sales. Then I realized that this is not the first time I've seen deafness used to fuel the scare tactics of a horror movie. In the movieĀ Hush which one can view on Netflix, a deaf woman (played by a hearing woman) is terrorized on account of her deafness during a home invasion by a serial killer. These portrayals of elements of deaf culture in movies for hearing audiences seems to be irresponsible uses of power. They associate being deaf, or parts of deaf culture, with horror and therefore ultimately show deafness as something for the hearing population to fear.


Jess's picture

Actually, the actress Millicent Simmons is deaf and plays a deaf character in the movie. She was specifically hired for her perspective and input on deaf culture and to help the other actors learn and understand the unique dynamic of the family. I recommend doing a little more research before jumping to conclusions like those expressed in your post.