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The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film (Texas Film and Media Studies Series) Paperback – January 1, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0292727946 ISBN-10: 0292727941

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The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film (Texas Film and Media Studies Series) + Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film + The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis (Popular Fictions Series)
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Product Details

  • Series: Texas Film and Media Studies Series
  • Paperback: 476 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press (1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292727941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292727946
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Film critics of the 1990s contend that gender is central to understanding horror movies. As editor Barry Keith Grant writes, "Today gender roles are being tested, challenged, and redefined everywhere, and until such time as difference is no longer dreaded, this crucial aspect of the horror film will remain very important for us." The Dread of Difference is a solid starting place for exploring the idea of gender in horror cinema. It's a fat book with 21 scholarly (and reasonably lucid) essays, and plenty of black-and-white movie stills. The authors use a variety of theories to survey the history of horror/slasher movies and the work of individual directors, and offer "close readings" of a number of movies.

Related title: Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film by Carol Clover

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Will Errickson on January 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
For students of horror and film this book is indispensible. Taking horror film seriously is, many times, a losing proposition, but not for the writers here. The essays on the "Alien" films and David Cronenberg are worth the price alone. One of the best books on horror movies out there--intellectually satisfying and illuminating, worlds away from the tepid, incomplete "encyclopediac" fare usually published. My highest recommendations.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William Alexander on November 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In "The Dread of Difference," Barry Grant chooses about twenty-one essays that "deconstruct" the horror genre from a variety of points of view, like the Freudian, the post-modern, and the feminist/gendered (which, honestly, led me to think the subtitle a shade misleading because it limits what is a far more complex work). What emerges is a serious look at what horror films mean and what they are interpreted to mean, giving weight and gravitas to the "bastard child" of American cinema. True, all of the theory can, at times, be an eye-rolling slog. But generally, Grant chose essays readily accessible to any careful reader and often mercifully free of academic "newspeak." What emerges is something truly thought-provoking, even if you disagree with any given essayist's premise. And as one other reviewer noted, the "Alien" essay alone is worth the price of admission. It's a very fresh look at a masterpiece of film-making.

The press is also an excellent one. The University of Texas, in the late 1990's, put out a large quantity of very serious and very well done works on cinema and cinema history. At the time "Dread" came out, other works emerged at around the same time, all well worth the money. Whomever worked there at that time did superior editing and publishing work in this field, overall.

I think the book is also very useful from another perspective. Post-modern and feminist theory, just to name two, even when comprehensible, can be very intimidating. This would be a great "primer" for the graduate student in the liberal arts in order to get the "feel" of the main arguments that dominate in different schools of academic thought without becoming confused or - worse - bored to tears.

"Dread" is worth the money.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Chadwick H. Saxelid on April 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
The amount and diversity of the crictical opinions expressed in this book should give it at least 4 stars. Sadly two essayists works contain errors so blatantly ignorant of the source material I had to dock the whole barrel a single star. Carol J. Clover goes into incredible, albeit wincingly inaccurate, detail when describing the stabbing deaths of two characters in a hot tob in the film Halloween 2. However neither of these characters were stabbed in the actual scene, one was strangled and the other scalded. In another example, editor Barry K. Grant, in his essay on legendary horror auteur George A. Romero, continually confuses Dawn of the Dead with Day of the Dead and vice versa. One would think that after supposedly studying these films so closely the writers would get the titles and scenes correct in the texts. Error quibbles aside THE DREAD OF DIFFERENCE is a fascinating and mostly positive study of a genre that has been critically maligned (if not out and out ignored) for far too long.
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