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Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture 3/31/05 Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0313361821
ISBN-10: 0313361827
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The book is sensible, highly readable, and concise….[t]his book will best serve as an introduction to the horror genre. Recommended. Lower-/upper-division undergraduates; general readers." - Choice

"[E]xplores the relationship between 10 classic horror films and the cultures they reflect." - US States News

"Phillips analyzes ten landmark horror films, including Dracula, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Silence of the Lambs and The Sixth Sense, to discover the ways horror films reflect their cultural contexts and the audiences' fears. In addition to his analyses, Phillips provides a synopsis of each film and describes its production history, contemporary audience response and cultural influence. Although Phillips incorporates the work of other film and cultural critics, he writes for a general audience." - Reference & Research Book News

"Fans of horror and horror movies who wish an intellectual examination of links between horror films and American culture will find professor Kendall R. Phillips' Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture to be most intriguing." - MBR Bookwatch

Review

"Kendall Phillips explores the cultural resonances and rhetorical form of American horror films of the 20th century. He takes us from Dracula (1931) through Psycho (1960), The Exorcist (1973), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), and other films that have shocked and horrified us, in a lucid account of the cultural contexts that gave them birth and influenced their reception. His lively and wide ranging account will certainly send readers back to the films for another look." (Thomas W. Benson, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Rhetoric, Penn State University)

"Phillips has provided deep and probing insights into the relationship between ten classic horror films and the cultures they reflect. This is a challenging but rewarding read for serious fans, film buffs, and filmmakers, as well as scholars. Even the writers and directors of these classics stand to be enlightened by learning of the impact, scope, and significance of their realized concepts." (A. John Graves, Professor Emeritus of Mass Communication, Central Missouri State University)

"Projected Fears goes well beyond being exemplary film and media criticism. Kendall Phillips provides an intriguing and cogent synthesis of visual, textual, and cultural analyses that present a unique, useful, and welcomed reframing, retelling, and reinterpretation of human history and memory through the lens of one of our most important and popular forms of artistic expression--not to mention a genre that has long been a focus of public fascination--the horror film." (Charlton McIlwain, Assistant Professor of Culture & Communication, New York University, and author of When Death Goes Pop: Death, Media & the Remaking of Community)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger; 3/31/05 edition (April 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313361827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313361821
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #726,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Erin Siodmak on March 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've used parts of this book for a course on sex, gender, race and horror films. It's not specifically about those areas, but provides useful analysis and contextualization for the films discussed. It's a great book for someone who's new to thinking politically/sociologically about horror films, and great for a course that is getting students to think about films in different ways. The analysis is not overly complex or jargon-heavy, nor does it require extensive knowledge of other film theory.

The subsections of the chapters (which varies depending on the film) are clear and helpful: Politics/Nationalism; Economic Conditions; Cultural Knowledge; Sexual Norms; Family Home; Violation, and more.

I recommend this book for horror fans, folks new to thinking about film in socio-cultural and historical ways, and students/teachers who want to augment a course.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book to augment my research for a film course I took. This book affords a concise, in-depth examination of the horror film genre and aims to identify its relevance in a historical context, psychological context, and social context. Horror films were long denied by critics as a substantial and intellectual genre worthy of scholarly research, but Kendall R. Phillips proves that they couldn't be more wrong. The films discussed in the text follow a chronological sequence, dating back to the 1920s with The Phantom of the Opera, and goes all the way up to the 90s with Scream.

Excellent book for anyone interested in horror films, film history, or with an appreciation for the much broader history of American culture.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I assigned this book for my Rhetoric of American Horror Films class and the students loved it. It's engaging and intelligent without relying too much on jargon or assuming a lot of film/rhetorical theory knowledge, so it's great for the casual or serious horror film enthusiast as well. The introduction is one of the best explanations of the importance of studying popular culture that I've read and each chapter carefully explores the selected horror films as there production and reception related to the cultural contexts that resonated with audiences and filmmakers and the time of each film's release. Moreover, the book artfully traces the history of horror film by linking each chapter/film/time period to those that came before it.

A must-read for anyone interested in the significance of popular culture/horror films to our individual and national identities.
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