Since the release of Rosemary's Baby in 1968, the American horror film has become one of the most diverse, commercially successful, widely discussed, and culturally significant film genres. Drawing on a wide range of critical methods---from close textual readings and structuralist genre criticism to psychoanalytical, feminist, and ideological analyses---the authors examine individual films, directors, and subgenres.
In this collection of twelve essays, Gregory Waller balances detailed studies of both popular films (Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist, and Halloween) and particularly problematic films (Don't Look Now and Eyes of Laura Mars) with discussions of such central thematic preoccupations as the genre's representation of violence and female victims, its reflexivity and playfulness, and its ongoing redefinition of the monstrous and the normal.
In addition, American Horrors includes a filmography of movies and telefilms and an annotated bibliography of books and articles about horror since 1968.
A Nightmare on Elm Street. Halloween. Night of the Living Dead. These films have been indelibly stamped on moviegoers’ psyches and are now considered seminal works of horror. Guiding readers along the twisted paths between audience, auteur, and cultural history, author Kendall R. Phillips reveals the macabre visions of these films’ directors in Dark Directions: Romero, Craven, Carpenter, and the Modern Horror Film.
Phillips begins by analyzing the works of George Romero, focusing on how the body is used cinematically to reflect the duality between society and chaos, concluding that the unconstrained bodies of the Living Dead films act as a critical intervention into social norms. Phillips then explores the shadowy worlds of director Wes Craven. In his study of the films The Serpent and the Rainbow, Deadly Friend, Swamp Thing, Red Eye, and Shocker, Phillips reveals Craven’s vision of technology as inherently dangerous in its ability to cross the gossamer thresholds of the gothic. Finally, the volume traverses the desolate frontiers of iconic director John Carpenter. Through an exploration of such works as Halloween, The Fog, and In the Mouth of Madness, Phillips delves into the director’s representations of boundaries—and the haunting consequences for those who cross them.
The first volume ever to address these three artists together, Dark Directions is a spine-tingling and thought-provoking study of the horror genre. In analyzing the individual works of Romero, Craven, and Carpenter, Phillips illuminates some of the darkest minds in horror cinema.