Djinns, alla turca: Fear and Islam in Turkish horror film
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The primary aim of this study is to contribute to the current research on Turkish cinema which has produced only a small number of critical works exclusively on the horror genre. Starting with a historical account of horror cinema in Turkey, I discuss the factors that contributed to the development of the genre, especially after the 2000s, when the subgenre of "Islamic horror films" became popular in Turkey. After discussing the history and role of the horror genre in pre-2000s and early-2000s Turkish cinema, I turn to my main emphasis and discuss how post-2000s Turkish Islamic horror films portray the dynamics of religion and faith, gender and sexuality, and class in contemporary Turkish culture. The Islamic horror films I discuss are Büyü (“The Spell”, 2004), D@bbe (2006), Araf (“The Abortion”, 2006), Musallat (“The Haunting”, 2007), Semum (2008), D@bbe 2 (2009), Üç Harfliler: Marid (“The Djinn: Marid”, 2010), Karadedeler Olayi (“The Karadedeler Case”, 2011), Musallat 2: Lanet (“Musallat 2: The Curse”, 2011). My research on the Islamic themed horror films demonstrates in detail the sources of fear in these films and my analysis draws attention to the reasons for the growing popularity of Islamic themes as sources of horror, the most important of which is the election of the pro-Islamic party AKP in 2002. With a generally ambivalent depiction of Islamic authorities and faith, these Turkish Islamic horror films of the post-2000s represent contemporary Turkish anxieties stemming from the polarization of the political climate torn mainly between the secularist ideology and Islamism.