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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.
Newman negotiates his way through a vast back-catalogue of horror, charting the on-screen progress of our collective fears and bogeymen from the low budget slasher movies of the 60s, through to the slick releases of the 2000s, in a critical appraisal that doubles up as a genealogical study of contemporary horror and its forebears. Newman invokes the figures that fuel the ongoing demand for horror - the serial killer; the vampire; the werewolf; the zombie - and draws on his remarkable knowledge of the genre to give us a comprehensive overview of the modern myths that have shaped the imagination of multiple generations of cinema-goers.
Nightmare Movies is an invaluable companion that not only provides a newly updated history of the darker side of film but a truly entertaining guide with which to discover the less well-trodden paths of horror, and re-discover the classics with a newly instructed eye.