Ghosts, ghouls, and the general election : horror framing in 21st century presidential campaign advertisements.


Horror is one of the dominant pop culture elements in the United States. Within this genre, two frames of horror are common: the classic and the conflicted. This work demonstrates how these generic frames are deployed by 21st century U.S. presidential campaign advertisements. Specifically, televised advertisements are analyzed holistically in the 2000, 2008, and 2016 general elections. Through this analysis, a clearer picture is painted of how horror frames have been used in different ways, the intensity of their usage, and how self-positive appeals to audience efficacy help bolster these rhetorical attempts at persuasion. Further, while horror framing is clearly present in all three elections examined, a pattern of increasing horror is found across the elections, with the 2000 election relying the least upon horror and the 2016 election deploying it to its most intense degree.



Campaign advertisements. Presidential rhetoric. Horror. 2000. 2008. 2016.