Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic

Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic

Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic

Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic

Synopsis

This fascinating study relates horror film to recent interpretations of the body and the self, drawing from feminist film theory, psychoanalytic theory, cultural criticism and gender studies. Applying the term "horror" broadly, this work includes discussions of black comedy, thrillers, science fiction, and slasher films. Central to this book is the view of horror as a modern iconography and "discourse" of the body. Badley's thought-provoking analysis of films by directors Tim Burton, Tobe Hooper, George Romero, Ridley Scott, Brian De Palma, David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Jonathan Demme, and Clive Barker, will be of interest to both scholars and students.

Excerpt

This book began in 1982 in a half-whimsical proposal for a sophomore literature general studies course under the general heading of "The Contemporary World in Literature." This heading was our Lower Division Committee's invitation to develop sections in areas of particular interest or expertise such as Detective Fiction or Women in Literature. For teachers as well as students, it offered a welcome alternative to the American Literature survey requirement and the canon as configured in times past. I proposed Gothic and Horror as a flagrant appeal to what then had all the signs of a fad.

At the time, the subject meant to me a few sub-literary classics of the nineteenth century (that I had not, with the exception of a handful of Poe stories and Mary Shelley Frankenstein, read), fond memories of Hammer films, triple feature drive-in movie expeditions in the 1970s, and the Universal Studio classics of the 1930s, their images vividly imprinted from childhood. My inspiration for the course was horror film (rather than fiction) and a taste for camp. I knew of Stephen King's popularity with students (although I had not read any of his books) and planned to use one of his novels as bait. We would read, say, The Shining and transfer whatever enthusiasm might be generated back into the "real" texts, for instance, Frankenstein, Dracula, Poe, Flannery O'Conner, Shirley Jackson, Franz Kafka, perhaps Joyce Carol Oates. The strategy worked. Stephen King and Mary Shelley converted many students into readers, as several . . .

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