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Title:Terror and everyday life: A history of horror
Author(s):Crane, Jonathan Lake
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Grossberg, Lawrence
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Mass Communications
Abstract:This dissertation aims to locate the power and popularity of contemporary horror films in terms of a response to post-modernity. Present-day horror films only make sense, can only be enjoyed, when read as spectacularly excessive productions overtly concerned with the everyday experience of post-modernity.
The body of research done on the horror film genre has been based on psycho-analytic/transcendental models which are inappropriate starting points, if the slasher film and others of its infamous ilk, are to be read as measures of change in everyday life. Consequently, after a brief overview detailing the nature of contemporary existence, the dissertation begins with a critique of transcendental/psycho-analytic approaches to understanding cinematic horror.
Following the survey of alternatives to post-modern film reviewing, the dissertation offers readings of four classic films in horror history: Nosferatu (1921), Frankenstein (1931), Them! (1954), and Friday the 13th (1980). As everyday life changed and continues to be transformed, these readings demonstrate where and when the meaning and apprehension of horror also mutated. These texts also demonstrate where psycho-analytic/transcendental models of the audience member, fail to explain horror films fascination with events located outside the purview of psychic drives.
The dissertation concludes with the argument that, as post-modernity and post-modernism define how we live and think, horror films offer a clear and bleak avenue to understanding everyday life.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Crane, Jonathan Lake
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9136579
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9136579

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