The Collected Monster

By: David Mathew

Abstract: This UK-centric paper explores Freud’s theories of groups and the influence that they have had on contemporary horror fiction, using the British riots of the summer of 2011 as working examples. Initially drawing on Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, I explore the presentation of characters who, when faced with an external threat, form groups whose members abandon their individual ideals in favour of the group ego, as a means of survival. In the perusal of these group formations and dissolutions, this paper also draws on Beyond the Pleasure Principle and on Civilization and Its Discontents. The paper argues, furthermore, that while the group’s formation seems at first to have been the decision of its individual members, in fact this formation is the work of the external threat, and paradoxically it is the group that creates the threat. The paper also looks at leadership formation and destruction.