Jax Mello

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Being isolated is a common fear. The fear can take many forms, from the fear of being the last one alive in a horrific situation to being completely deserted by everyone you love. This is a fear that has been showcased many different times in movies, novels, and every other piece of media imaginable. Although not always tied to the horror genre, the fear of being isolated is tightly intertwined with many horror stories. Therefore, it is interesting when a horror production goes out of their way to encourage interactivity within its audience. This goes beyond an artist’s desire for a creation to have a raving fanbase behind it, which is typically generated through external means from the narrative itself. Instead, there is an as-yet-unaccounted-for subgenre of horror that integrates Found Footage techniques with the specific goal of eliciting interactivity within the audience. I call this subgenre “Found Media.” The subgenre’s production of interactivity within its audience allows for something rather counterintuitive to the horror genre—the allowance of hope and community in the face of the terrifying events. Found Media is not necessarily a new concept, as much as it is an as-yet-unnamed genre. A predecessor to Found Media could include epistolary novels. These stories, which take place entirely through letters, ask the reader to understand what they are reading as being a character within the story’s point of view. Whether they succeed at achieving this closeness from the reader, depends on audience and the text itself. However, the invitation of a small level of interactivity between the text and the audience is what is important. The story asks the reader to understand the story much more specifically, which, in theory, could incite a deeper connection to the text. Some of the fundamental horror novels operate through the epistolary format, such as Dracula. This shows that not this technique for narrating horror is not only a long-standing tradition, but something that has been developed as new forms of media were created. Thus, the epistolary novel is a key predecessor for the techniques that define Found Media.