Melissa Macero, University of Illinois at Chicago


Framing the Horror Art, Genre, and Immersion, Melissa Macero
Is immersion merely a subjective response to a work or can it be an objective formal feature of a work itself? This paper examines the unique situation of horror as a genre that demands a substantial level of immersion in order to be successful and will begin to answer this question through close readings of recent frame narratives within horror novels, such as Brian Kirk’s Will Haunt You (2019), Marisha Pessl’s Night Film (2013), and David Wong’s John Dies at the End trilogy (2009, 2012, 2017). I argue that the horror genre in particular seeks to establish a difference between something like literal immersion, which requires the engrossment of a reader or viewer in the story, and immersion as a formal technique, which is for the most part indifferent to the actual engagement of the audience and instead produces a claim immanent to the work itself.