There is a trope that exists within film criticism where critics are loathe to call horror brilliant or insightful. They NEED for it to be something else because the idea that horror can be excellent is abhorrent. It is also, thankfully, a view which is on the decline.
Elle Hunt's tweet and the response to it are more about why Twitter is bad than any kind of revelatory truth about foundational understanding of horror or science fiction. Twitter trains users to seek an echo chamber and then offers them hostile users and content instead.
Hunt makes a tweet about the essential nature of horror and using a medium that scrapes away the ability to express subtlety comes across as flippant and dismissive of art criticism. Whatever. It's art. Who gives a shit right? She's not personally attacking anybody.
Twitter surfaces the Tweets of people we engage with so it creates the illusion of a safety. So when we are not viral we feel safe(r). Obviously, social media is a shit show for women, NB & POC people but at least being free of public scrutiny means we hear more from our friends.
So Hunt posts the poll into a Twitter vacuum where the default post engagement is other users who regularly engage with her content. A condition where "shit posting" is safe. I know I've posted silly polls because I can rely on only my mutuals seeing it.
But it's that trending column that's the big deal. Twitter knows, algorithmically, that while you THINK you are here for your friends you are actually here for conflict. This is why Trump's Twitter account was such big business and they were loathe to ban it.
People being angry at something said off of Twitter is not as good as people being angry at something ON Twitter. If they are ON Twitter then you can vent bile at them. So this is the fundamentally duplicitous nature of Twitter. They sell you on hanging out with friends...
until you say something that they can surface to people who will have a contrary and outsized emotional response to what you are saying. Because that breeds engagement. And they can report engagement in quarterly earnings.
Do I think horror can exist in space? Yes. Absolutely. Is there anything I could ever conceivably gain by getting in Elle Hunt's mentions to fight about that is worth contributing to her suffering right now? No.
Examine her portfolio and you'll see that she's a writer with no real background in film criticism. So why should any of us give a shit if she doesn't think Alien is a horror movie? She's not a film critic with the power to sway studios or change streamer curation strategies.
We shouldn't care. Twitter is a place to hang out with your friends until it feeds you to the trending tab. It never comes for some of us but how about we all have some empathy for the people selected as tribute by the unblinking capitalist Eye of Sauron?
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