The Coming of Sound Film and the Origins of the Horror Genre
Author: Robert Spadoni
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Category: Performing Arts
In 1931 Universal Pictures released Dracula and Frankenstein, two films that inaugurated the horror genre in Hollywood cinema. These films appeared directly on the heels of Hollywood's transition to sound film. Uncanny Bodies argues that the coming of sound inspired more in these massively influential horror movies than screams, creaking doors, and howling wolves. A close examination of the historical reception of films of the transition period reveals that sound films could seem to their earliest viewers unreal and ghostly. By comparing this audience impression to the first sound horror films, Robert Spadoni makes a case for understanding film viewing as a force that can powerfully shape both the minutest aspects of individual films and the broadest sweep of film production trends, and for seeing aftereffects of the temporary weirdness of sound film deeply etched in the basic character of one of our most enduring film genres.
One hundred years ago Freud's definition of the uncanny was 'not the strange, but the familiar become strange'. In this anthology of new work from a range of writers and academics, the uncanny is a place where you feel at home - until home turns against you. It's a city where the streets can't join up. The uncanny alienates your own body from you through medical advances, such as prosthetic limbs or cardiac defibrillators. The 'uncanny valley' is a landscape where robots try to imitate you. This anthology gets beneath the skin and into the depths of what it means to be human in an age of machines and genes. Featuring papers and stories from Pippa Goldschmidt, Gill Haddow, Fadhila Mazanderani, Jane Alexander, Ruth Aylett, Christine De Luca, Vassilis Galanos, Jules Horne, Donna McCormack, Aoife S. McKenna, Jane McKie, nicky melville, Dilys Rose, Naomi Salman, Helen Sedgwick, Sarah Stewart, Alice Tarbuck, Clare Uytman, Sara Wasson, Neil Williamson and Eris Young.
Explores how superhero comics, with their creative fusions of fantasy and realism, provide a flexible visual form for engaging issues of disability and intersectional identity (race, class, gender, sexuality) as well as for imagining and valuing different physical and cognitive ways of being in the world.
Yet the feeling produced by Smith’s photography is not uncanny; rather, it has a sort of reverent, almost sacred, effect. His background as a graduate of the Yale School of Divinity makes him deeply interested in truth beneath the surface, and so he uses photography to get at that sort of truth through his use of the body in ways that would typically produce an uncanny effect, yet don’t. The settings in which he places bodies, as well as the way he uses the bodies themselves, help to shift the feeling of the uncanny into the feeling of the divine or sacred.
The Weimar period in Germany was a time of radical change, when the traditions and social hierarchies of Imperial Germany crumbled, and a young, deeply conflicted republic emerged. Modernity brought changes that reached deep into the most personal aspects of life, including a loosening of gender roles that opened up new freedoms and opportunities to women. The screen vamps, garçonnes, and New Women in this movie-hungry society came to embody the new image of womanhood: sexually liberated, independent, and—at least to some—deeply threatening. In Gender and the Uncanny in Films of the Weimar Republic, author Anjeana K. Hans examines largely forgotten films of Weimar cinema through the lens of their historical moment, contemporary concerns and critiques, and modern film theory to give a nuanced understanding of their significance and their complex interplay between gender, subjectivity, and cinema. Hans focuses on so-called uncanny films, in which terror lies just under the surface and the emancipated female body becomes the embodiment of a threat repressed. In six chapters she provides a detailed analysis of each film and traces how filmmakers simultaneously celebrate and punish the transgressive women that populate them. Films discussed include The Eyes of the Mummy (Die Augen der Mumie Mâ, Ernst Lubitsch, 1918),Uncanny Tales (Unheimliche Geschichten, Richard Oswald, 1919),Warning Shadows (Schatten: Eine nächtliche Halluzination, Artur Robison, 1923),The Hands of Orlac (Orlacs Hände, Robert Wiene, 1924),A Daughter of Destiny (Alraune, Henrik Galeen,1928), and Daughter of Evil (Alraune, Richard Oswald, 1930). An introduction contextualizes Weimar cinema within its unique and volatile social setting. Hans demonstrates that Weimar Germany’s conflicting emotions, hopes, and fears played out in that most modern of media, the cinema. Scholars of film and German history will appreciate the intriguing study of Gender and the Uncanny in Films of the Weimar Republic.
Monstrous Bodies is a cultural and literary history of ambiguous bodies in imperial Japan. It focuses on what the book calls modern monsters—doppelgangers, robots, twins, hybrid creations—bodily metaphors that became ubiquitous in the literary landscape from the Meiji era (1868–1912) up until the outbreak of the Second Sino–Japanese War in 1937. Such monsters have often been understood as representations of the premodern past or of “stigmatized others”—figures subversive to national ideologies. Miri Nakamura contends instead that these monsters were products of modernity, informed by the newly imported scientific discourses on the body, and that they can be read as being complicit in the ideologies of the empire, for they are uncanny bodies that ignite a sense of terror by blurring the binary of “normal” and “abnormal” that modern sciences like eugenics and psychology created. Reading these literary bodies against the historical rise of the Japanese empire and its colonial wars in Asia, Nakamura argues that they must be understood in relation to the most “monstrous” body of all in modern Japan: the carefully constructed image of the empire itself.
Advances in technology have enabled animators and video game designers to design increasingly realistic, human-like characters in animation and games. Although it was intended that this increased realism would allow viewers to appreciate the emotional state of characters, research has shown that audiences often have a negative reaction as the human
The Queer Uncanny: New Perspectives on the Gothic investigates the diverse roles that the uncanny, as defined by Sigmund Freud, Helene Cixous and other theorists, plays in representing lesbian and male gay sexualities and transgender in a selection of contemporary British, American and Caribbean fiction published 1980-2007. Novels by Christopher Bram, Alan Hollinghurst, Randall Kenan, Shani Mootoo, James Purdy, Sarah Schulman, Ali Smith, Sarah Waters, Jeanette Winterson and other writers are discussed in the context of queer theory and gothic critical writing. The notion of the uncanny as ‘tangential and to one side’ and ‘appearing on the fringe of something else’, as defined by Cixous and Rosemary Jackson, appropriately evokes the situation of the queer individual living in a minority sub-culture and existing in oblique relation to hetero- normative society. Motifs with uncanny connotations discussed include secrets that society would prefer to remain hidden but come to light, spectral visitation, the emergence of repressed fears and desires, the double, and the homely/ unhomely house. Writers employ them to explore topics integral to queer existence. These include secrets relating to the closet and AIDS; homosexual panic; lesbian social invisibility; transgender subjectivity; the intersection between sexuality and race; the vilification of the queer subject as ‘monstrous Other’; the domestic life of the gay couple destabilised by homophobic influences from the public world; and the heterosexual family disrupted by homosexual secrets from within. The queer recasting of gothic motifs, such as the haunted house, the uncanny city, the grotesque body, and the breakdown of the family due to paternal incest, receives attention.
In 1929 and 1930, during the Hollywood studios' conversion to synchronized-sound film production, white-controlled trade magazines and African American newspapers celebrated a "vogue" for "Negro films." "Hollywood's African American Films" argues that the movie business turned to black musical performance to both resolve technological and aesthetic problems introduced by the medium of "talking pictures" and, at the same time, to appeal to the white "Broadway" audience that patronized their most lucrative first-run theaters. Capitalizing on highbrow associations with white "slumming" in African American cabarets and on the cultural linkage between popular black musical styles and "natural" acoustics, studios produced a series of African American-cast and white-cast films featuring African American sequences. Ryan Jay Friedman asserts that these transitional films reflect contradictions within prevailing racial ideologies--arising most clearly in the movies' treatment of African American characters' decisions to migrate. Regardless of how the films represent these choices, they all prompt elaborate visual and narrative structures of containment that tend to highlight rather than suppress historical tensions surrounding African American social mobility, Jim Crow codes, and white exploitation of black labor.
Gothic Music: The Sounds of the Uncanny traces sonic Gothic from the echoing footsteps in Gothic novels to the dark soundscapes of Goth club nights. This broad perspective importantly widens the scope of Gothic music from Goth subculture to literature, film, television and video games. This book also provides the musical and theoretical definition of Gothic music that lacks in current scholarship. Whether voicing the spectral beings of early cinema, announcing virtual terrors in video games, or intensifying the nocturnal rituals of Goth, Gothic music represents the sounds of the uncanny.
Fanvids, or vids, are short videos created in media fandom. Made from television and film sources, they are neither television episodes nor films; they resemble music videos but are non-commercial fanworks that construct creative and critical analyses of existing media. The creators of fanvids-called vidders-are predominantly women, whose vids prompt questions about media historiography and pleasures taken from screen media. Vids remake narratives for an attentive fan audience, who watch with a deep knowledge of the source text(s), or an interest in the vid form itself. Fanvids: Television, Women, and Home Media Re-Use draws on four decades of vids, produced on videotape and digitally, to argue that the vid form's creation and reception reveals a mode of engaged spectatorship that counters academic histories of media audiences and technologies. Vids offer an answer to the prevalent questions, What happens to television after it's been aired? How and by whom is it used and shared? Is it still television?
A field of theory and research is evolving around the question highlighted in the Uncanny Valley Hypothesis: How does high realism in anthropomorphic design influence human experience and behaviour? The Uncanny Valley Hypothesis posits that a very humanlike character or object (e.g., robot, prosthetic limb, doll) can evoke a negative affective (i.e., uncanny) state. Recent advances in robotic and computer-graphic technologies in simulating aspects of human appearance, behaviour and interaction have been accompanied, therefore, by theorising and research on the meaning and relevance of the Uncanny Valley Hypothesis for anthropomorphic design. Current understanding of the "uncanny" idea is still fragmentary and further original research is needed. However, the emerging picture indicates that the relationship between humanlike realism and subjective experience and behaviour may not be as straightforward as the Uncanny Valley Hypothesis suggests. This Research Topic brings together researchers from traditionally separate domains (including robotics, computer graphics, cognitive science, psychology and neuroscience) to provide a snapshot of current work in this field. A diversity of issues and questions are addressed in contributions that include original research, review, theory, and opinion papers.
This book is the first major study of a French silent cinema star. It focuses on Pierre Batcheff, a prominent popular cinema star in the 1920s, the French Valentino, best-known to modern audiences for his role as the protagonist of the avant-garde film classic Un chien andalou. Unlike other stars, he was linked to intellectual circles, especially the Surrealists. The book places Batcheff in the context of 1920s popular cinema, with specific reference to male stars of the period. It analyses the tensions he exemplifies between the 'popular' and the 'intellectual' during the 1920s, as cinema - the subject of intense intellectual interest across Europe - was racked between commercialism and 'art'. A number of the major films are studied in detail: Le Double amour (Epstein, 1925), Feu Mathias Pascal (L'Herbier, 1925), Education de prince (Diamant-Berger, 1927), Le Joueur d'echecs (Bernard, 1927), La Sirene des tropiques (Etievant and Nalpas, 1927), Les Deux timides (Clair, 1928), Un chien andalou (Bunuel, 1929), Monte-Cristo (Fescourt, 1929), and Baroud (Ingram, 1932).Key features:*The first major study of a French silent cinema star.*Provides an in-depth analysis of star performance.*Includes extensive appendices of documents from popular cinema magazines of the period.
This collection establishes new perspectives on the idea of mystery, as it is enacted and encoded in the genre of detective fiction. Essays reclaim detective fiction as an object of critical inquiry, examining the ways it shapes issues of social destabilization, moral ambiguity, reader complicity, intertextuality, and metafiction. Breaking new ground by moving beyond the critical preoccupation with classification of historical types and generic determinants, contributors examine the effect of mystery on literary forms and on readers, who experience the provocative, complex process of coming to grips with the unknown and the unknowable. This volume opens up discussion on publically acclaimed, modern works of mystery and on classic pieces, addressing a variety of forms including novels, plays, graphic novels, television series, films, and ipad games. Re-examining the interpretive potential of a genre that seems easily defined yet has endless permutations, the book closely analyzes the cultural function of mystery, the way it intervenes in social and political problems, as well as the literary properties that give the genre its particular shape. The volume treats various texts as meaningful subjects for critical analysis and sheds new light on the interpretive potential for a genre that creates as much ambiguity as it does clarity. Scholars of mystery and detective fiction, crime fiction, genre studies, and cultural studies will find this volume invaluable.
Sites of the Uncanny: Paul Celan, Specularity and the Visual Arts is the first book-length study that examines Celan’s impact on visual culture. Exploring poetry’s relation to film, painting and architecture, this study tracks the transformation of Celan in postwar German culture and shows the extent to which his poetics accompany the country’s memory politics after the Holocaust. The book posits a new theoretical model of the Holocaustal uncanny – evolving out of a crossing between Celan, Freud, Heidegger and Levinas – that provides a map for entering other modes of Holocaust representations. After probing Celan’s critique of the uncanny in Heidegger, this study shifts to the translation of Celan’s uncanny poetics in Resnais’ film Night and Fog, Kiefer’s art and Libeskind’s architecture.
Indigenous Storytelling, Knowledge, and Reparative Practices
Author: Julia V. Emberley
Publisher: SUNY Press
Category: Literary Criticism
Examines how colonial and postcolonial violence is understood and conceptualized through Indigenous storytelling. Through the study of Indigenous literary and artistic practices from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, Julia V. Emberley examines the ways Indigenous storytelling discloses and repairs the traumatic impact of social violence in settler colonial nations. She focuses on Indigenous storytelling in a range of cultural practices, including novels, plays, performances, media reports, Internet museum exhibits, and graphic novels. In response to historical trauma such as that experienced at Indian residential schools, as well as present-day violence against Indigenous bodies and land, Indigenous storytellers make use of Indigenous spirituality and the sacred to inform an ethics of hospitality. They provide uncanny configurations of political and social kinships between people, between the past and the present, and between the animate and inanimate. This book introduces readers to cultural practices and theoretical texts concerned with bringing Indigenous epistemologies to the discussion of trauma and colonial violence.
"It makes us jump. It makes us scream. It haunts our nightmares. So why do we watch horror? Why do we play it? What could possibly be appealing about a genre that tries to terrify us? Why would we subject ourselves to shriek-inducing shocks, or spend dozens of hours watching a television show about grotesque flesh-eating monsters? Horror offers us a connection to fears that are otherwise unspeakable, even inconceivable, so why do we seek it out? Monstrous Forms offers a theory of horror that works through the genre across a broad range of contemporary moving-image media: film, television, videogames, YouTube, gifs, streaming, virtual reality. This book analyzes our experience of and engagement with horror by focusing on its form, paying special attention to the common ground, the styles and forms that move between mediums. It looks at the ways that moving-image horror addresses its audiences, the ways that it elicits, or demands, responses from its viewers, players, browsers. Camera movement (or "camera" movement), jump scares, offscreen monsters--horror innovates and perfects styles that directly provoke and stimulate the bodies in front of the screen. Analyzing films including Paranormal Activity, It Follows, and Get Out, videogames including Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Layers of Fear, and Until Dawn, and TV shows including The Walking Dead and American Horror Story, Monstrous Forms argues for understanding horror through its sensational address and dissects the forms that make that address so effective. Horror, Film Studies, New Media, Digital Media, Game Studies, Television Studies, Monsters and Monstrosity, Gifs, YouTube, Netflix, Spectatorship"--
A contemporary of William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe was one of the most influential early modern dramatists, whose life and mysterious death have long been the subject of critical and popular speculation. This collection sets Marlowe's plays and poems in their historical context, exploring his world and his wider cultural influence. Chapters by leading international scholars discuss both his major and lesser-known works. Divided into three sections, 'Marlowe's works', 'Marlowe's world', and 'Marlowe's reception', the book ranges from Marlowe's relationship with his own audience through to adaptations of his plays for modern cinema. Other contexts for Marlowe include history and politics, religion and science. Discussions of Marlowe's critics and Marlowe's appeal today, in performance, literature and biography, show how and why his works continue to resonate; and a comprehensive further reading list provides helpful suggestions for those who want to find out more.