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Horror and Death: Rethinking Coco's Border Politics

By Orquidea Morales


In 2013, the Walt Disney Company submitted an application to trademark “Día de los muertos” (Day of the Dead) as they prepared to launch a holiday themed movie. Almost immediately after this became public Disney faced such strong criticism and backlash they withdrew their petition. By October of 2017 Disney/Pixar released the animated filmCoco. Audiences in Mexico and the U.S. praised it's accurate and authentic representation of the celebration of Day of the Dead. In this essay, I argue that despite its generic framing,Cocomobilizes many elements of horror in its account of Miguel's trespassing into the forbidden space of the dead and his transformation into a liminal figure, both dead and alive. Specifically, with its horror so deftly deployed through tropes and images of borders, whether between life and death or the United States and Mexico,Cocofalls within a new genre, the border horror film.

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