Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present
Author: Robin R Means Coleman
Category: Social Science
From King Kong to Candyman, the boundary-pushing genre of the horror film has always been a site for provocative explorations of race in American popular culture. In Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from 1890's to Present, Robin R. Means Coleman traces the history of notable characterizations of blackness in horror cinema, and examines key levels of black participation on screen and behind the camera. She argues that horror offers a representational space for black people to challenge the more negative, or racist, images seen in other media outlets, and to portray greater diversity within the concept of blackness itself. Horror Noire presents a unique social history of blacks in America through changing images in horror films. Throughout the text, the reader is encouraged to unpack the genre’s racialized imagery, as well as the narratives that make up popular culture’s commentary on race. Offering a comprehensive chronological survey of the genre, this book addresses a full range of black horror films, including mainstream Hollywood fare, as well as art-house films, Blaxploitation films, direct-to-DVD films, and the emerging U.S./hip-hop culture-inspired Nigerian "Nollywood" Black horror films. Horror Noire is, thus, essential reading for anyone seeking to understand how fears and anxieties about race and race relations are made manifest, and often challenged, on the silver screen.
Taking a closer look at teen film in the 1970s, New American Teenagers uncovers previously marginalized voices that rework the classically male, heterosexual American teenage story. While their parents' era defined the American teenager with the romantic male figure of James Dean, this generation of adolescents offers a dramatically altered picture of transformed gender dynamics, fluid and queered sexuality, and a chilling disregard for the authority of parent, or more specifically, patriarchal culture. Films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Halloween, and Badlands offer a reprieve from the 'straight' developmental narrative, including in the canon of study the changing definition of the American teenager. Barbara Brickman is the first to challenge the neglect of this decade in discussions of teen film by establishing the subversive potential and critical revision possible in the narratives of these new teenage voices, particularly in regards to changing notions of gender and sexuality.
Twisted bodies, deformed faces, aberrant behavior, and abnormal desires characterized the hideous creatures of classic Hollywood horror, which thrilled audiences with their sheer grotesqueness. Most critics have interpreted these traits as symptoms of sexual repression or as metaphors for other kinds of marginalized identities, yet Angela M. Smith conducts a richer investigation into the period's social and cultural preoccupations. She finds instead a fascination with eugenics and physical and cognitive debility in the narrative and spectacle of classic 1930s horror, heightened by the viewer's desire for visions of vulnerability and transformation. Reading such films as Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), Freaks (1932), and Mad Love (1935) against early-twentieth-century disability discourse and propaganda on racial and biological purity, Smith showcases classic horror's dependence on the narratives of eugenics and physiognomics. She also notes the genre's conflicted and often contradictory visualizations. Smith ultimately locates an indictment of biological determinism in filmmakers' visceral treatments, which take the impossibility of racial improvement and bodily perfection to sensationalistic heights. Playing up the artifice and conventions of disabled monsters, filmmakers exploited the fears and yearnings of their audience, accentuating both the perversity of the medical and scientific gaze and the debilitating experience of watching horror. Classic horror films therefore encourage empathy with the disabled monster, offering captive viewers an unsettling encounter with their own impairment. Smith's work profoundly advances cinema and disability studies, in addition to general histories concerning the construction of social and political attitudes toward the Other.
"The Dread of Difference is a classic. Few film studies texts have been so widely read and so influential. It's rarely on the shelf at my university library, so continuously does it circulate. Now this new edition expands the already comprehensive coverage of gender in the horror film with new essays on recent developments such as the Hostel series and torture porn. Informative and enlightening, this updated classic is an essential reference for fans and students of horror movies."—Stephen Prince, editor of The Horror Film and author of Digital Visual Effects in Cinema: The Seduction of Reality "An impressive array of distinguished scholars . . . gazes deeply into the darkness and then forms a Dionysian chorus reaffirming that sexuality and the monstrous are indeed mated in many horror films."—Choice "An extremely useful introduction to recent thinking about gender issues within this genre."—Film Theory
the cultural experience of contemporary horror cinema
Author: Ian Conrich
Publisher: I B Tauris & Co Ltd
Category: Performing Arts
In his landmark Introduction to the American Horror Film, Robin Wood noted that horror "has consistently been one of the most popular and, at the same time, the most disreputable of Hollywood genres." Horror is still immensely popular but its assimilation into our culture continues apace. In Horror Zone, leading international writers on horror take horror out into the world beyond cinema screens to explore the interconnections between the films and modern media and entertainment industries, economies and production practices, cultural and political forums, spectators and fans. They critically examine the ways in which the horror genre functions in all its multifarious forms, for example the Friday the 13th films as modern grand guignol, the relationship between the contemporary horror film and the theme park ride, horror as art house cinema, connections between pornography and the horror film and the place of special effects in this most respectable of Hollywood genres.
A comprehensive study of cannibalism in literature and film, spanning colonial fiction, Gothic texts and contemporary American horror. Amidst the sharp teeth and horrific appetite of the cannibal, this book examines real fears of over-consumerism and consumption that trouble an ever-growing modern world.
Sitting on pins and needles, anxiously waiting to see what will happen next, horror audiences crave the fear and exhilaration generated by a terrifying story; their anticipation is palpable. But they also breathe a sigh of relief when the action is over, when they are able to close their books or leave the movie theater. Whether serious, kitschy, frightening, or ridiculous, horror not only arouses the senses but also raises profound questions about fear, safety, justice, and suffering. From literature and urban legends to film and television, horror’s ability to thrill has made it an integral part of modern entertainment. Thomas Fahy and twelve other scholars reveal the underlying themes of the genre in The Philosophy of Horror. Examining the evolving role of horror, the contributing authors investigate works such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), horror films of the 1930s, Stephen King’s novels, Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining (1980), and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). Also examined are works that have largely been ignored in philosophical circles, including Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood (1965), Patrick Süskind’s Perfume (1985), and James Purdy’s Narrow Rooms (2005). The analysis also extends to contemporary forms of popular horror and “torture-horror” films of the last decade, including Saw (2004), Hostel (2005), The Devil’s Rejects (2005), and The Hills Have Eyes (2006), as well as the ongoing popularity of horror on the small screen. The Philosophy of Horror celebrates the strange, compelling, and disturbing elements of horror, drawing on interpretive approaches such as feminist, postcolonial, Marxist, and psychoanalytic criticism. The book invites readers to consider horror’s various manifestations and transformations since the late 1700s, probing its social, cultural, and political functions in today’s media-hungry society.
From essays about the Salem witch trials to literary uses of ghosts by Twain, Wharton, and Bierce to the cinematic blockbuster The Sixth Sense, this book is the first to survey the importance of ghosts and hauntings in American culture across time. From the Puritans’ conviction that a thousand preternatural beings appear every day before our eyes, to today’s resurgence of spirits in fiction and film, the culture of the United States has been obsessed with ghosts. In each generation, these phantoms in popular culture reflect human anxieties about religion, science, politics, and social issues. Spectral America asserts that ghosts, whether in oral tradition, literature, or such modern forms as cinema have always been constructions embedded in specific historical contexts and invoked for explicit purposes, often political in nature. The essays address the role of "spectral evidence" during the Salem witch trials, the Puritan belief in good spirits, the convergence of American Spiritualism and technological development in the nineteenth century, the use of the supernatural as a tool of political critique in twentieth-century magic realism, and the "ghosting" of persons living with AIDS. They also discuss ghostly themes in the work of Ambrose Bierce, Edith Wharton, Gloria Naylor, and Stephen King.
In the second part of the book, Castle embraces, with gusto, the role of Female Critic herself." "In lively reconsiderations of Sappho, Bronte, Cather, Colette, Gertrude Stein, and many other great women writers - "Boss Ladies" all - Castle pays a moving and civilized tribute to female genius and intellectual daring."--BOOK JACKET.