Making and Remaking Horror in the 1970s and 2000s: Why Don’t They Do It Like They Used To?

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Univ. Press of Mississippi, Feb 6, 2014 - Performing Arts - 335 pages

In Making and Remaking Horror in the 1970s and 2000s author David Roche takes up the assumption shared by many fans and scholars that original horror movies are more "disturbing," and thus better than the remakes. He assesses the qualities of movies, old and recast, according to criteria that include subtext, originality, and cohesion. With a methodology that combines a formalist and cultural studies approach, Roche sifts aspects of the American horror movie that have been widely addressed (class, the patriarchal family, gender, and the opposition between terror and horror) and those that have been somewhat neglected (race, the Gothic, style, and verisimilitude). Containing seventy-eight black and white illustrations, the book is grounded in a close comparative analysis of the politics and aesthetics of four of the most significant independent American horror movies of the 1970s--The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, Dawn of the Dead, and Halloween--and their twenty-first-century remakes.

To what extent can the politics of these films be described as "disturbing" insomuch as they promote subversive subtexts that undermine essentialist perspectives? Do the politics of the film lie on the surface or are they wedded to the film's aesthetics? Early in the book, Roche explores historical contexts, aspects of identity (race, ethnicity, and class), and the structuring role played by the motif of the American nuclear family. He then asks to what extent these films disrupt genre expectations and attempt to provoke emotions of dread, terror, and horror through their representations of the monstrous and the formal strategies employed? In this inquiry, he examines definitions of the genre and its metafictional nature. Roche ends with a meditation on the extent to which the technical limitations of the horror films of the 1970s actually contribute to this "disturbing" quality. Moving far beyond the genre itself, Making and Remaking Horror studies the redux as a form of adaptation and enables a more complete discussion of the evolution of horror in contemporary American cinema.

 

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Contents

Introduction
3
Chapter 1 TEXT SUBTEXT AND CONTEXT
21
Chapter 2 DISCONNECTING RACE ETHNICITY AND CLASS
38
Chapter 3 THE DYSFUNCTIONAL AMERICAN NUCLEAR FAMILY
65
Chapter 4 GENDER AND SEXUAL TROUBLES
82
Chapter 5 RESITUATING AND REPLAYING THE GENRE
119
Chapter 6 MONSTERS AND MASKS HORROR AND TERROR PART 1
154
Chapter 7 STRATEGIES AND STYLE HORROR AND TERROR PART 2
188
A TENTATIVE CONCLUSION
273
Notes
299
Works Cited
317
Index
329
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About the author (2014)

David Roche is professor of film studies at the Paul Valéry University of Montpellier. He is author of Making and Remaking Horror in the 1970s and 2000s: Why Don?t They Do It Like They Used To? and Quentin Tarantino: Poetics and Politics of Cinematic Metafiction, and editor of Conversations with Russell Banks, all published by University Press of Mississippi.

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