'It was very violent, very gory but I really, really enjoyed it-so there you are.
(21-year-old female student)
In the early days of our relationship, my partner often took me to the movies. We saw Reservoir Dogs, Bad Lieutenant, Man Bites Dog, and Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer all in the space of a few months. These films had a reputation; they were examples of a 'new brutalism' in cinema, and we were warned by family, friends and concerned film reviewers to steer clear of them, in case this new breed of violent movies warped our minds, and gave us murderous intentions. 1 We loved them. The films were challenging, exciting, in-your-face. And we were not alone. Other people enjoyed watching these movies too.
This chapter is about movie-goers, like me, who enjoy watching shocking entertainment. The media effects tradition commonly perceives fans of violent movies as either social deviants or vulnerable viewers (Barlow and Hill, 1985; Van Evra, 1990). In Ben Elton's Popcorn, a novel about media effects, the psychopathic murderer is a fan of violent movies: he tells a Hollywood director 'you make killing cool' (Elton, 1996:282). 2 Such stigmatisation of viewers of violent film dominates discussion of audiences and media violence. 3 My research into fans of violent movies problematises the media effects tradition and its presumption that viewing pleasure is based on deviancy, and amorality.
In this chapter I summarise this research. My main research aim was to give fans of violent movies a voice. Scanning through the many books on media violence I realised the natural audience for violent movies was almost invisible. 4 What is more, the natural female audience for violent movies appeared to be in hiding. 5 I told myself: I like to watch violent movies; I am not a psychopath (trust me on this); there must be more people like me who want to talk about watching shocking entertainment. I was right. There isn't space in this chapter to outline the full findings of my discussions with