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European Nightmares: Horror Cinema in Europe Since 1945 Paperback – May 29, 2012
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An ambitious and important contribution to the study of European horror films. (Francesco Di Chiara European Journal of Media Studies)
About the Author
Patricia Allmer is senior research fellow in art history and theory at MIRIAD, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK; she is that author of René Magritte: Beyond Painting (2009).
David Huxley is senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK; he is the author of Nasty Tales: Sex, Drugs, and Rock n' Roll in the British Underground (2001).
Emily Brick is senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK; she is a contributor to Sex and Television (2012).
Top customer reviews
Say, did one of your authors accidentally enjoy the sci-fi/horror classic, "Village of the Damned"?
"Englishness itself is the ideological territory being mapped and interpreted; the ideological construction of post-war Englishness comes under intense scrutiny and is found continually to be problematic. The English class system and its reification of English identities, while seemingly under threat in the film, are also clearly repeated by the social organisation of the Children, who are ‘naturally’ led and spoken for by David Zellaby, son of the lord of the manor."
Note the Marxist tell, "problematic." Why is the social structure "repeated," why not say what is clearly closer to the actual plot of the film: "infiltrated?"
"It explores English anxieties about immigration, invasion and reverse-colonisation; the alien Children are conspicuously pale-skinned and white-haired, in an inverted representation of the racial appearances causing most cultural anxiety in England in the 1950s."
No, it means their humanity is bleached out, a la unnatural bottle/peroxide/platinum blondes, a constant complaint amongst all people with restraint and taste.
Anything else, Chief?
"In the United Kingdom, the 1980s were characterised by the avaricious individualism of the Thatcherite agenda, which dismantled the industrial economy on which the nation’s class-based and regionally-distinctive culture had historically rested, promoted narcissistic consumerism as the acme of human aspiration through wholesale valorisation of the cultural products of American capitalism and turned to military action in the Falklands and the Gulf as a means of ensuring electoral victory and cementing the much-vaunted ‘special relationship’ with the United States."
"Describing the idea of the ‘final girl’ in modern horror films, i.e. the heroine who survives only because she neglects and denies her femininity and acts like a man instead, Carol Clover points out that in this genre ‘gender is less a wall than a permeable membrane.’
Wait, I thought the "final girl"'s saving grace was her virginity. Oh well, why speak sense to the senseless?
Most of the essays employ feminist or psychoanalytic theory. And, while it would be helpful if the reader knows the work of Carol Clover, Barbara Creed, and Julia Kristeva it is not positively necessary. It feels as though the contributors strove to create a text that is both accessible to undergraduates and yet still informative to scholars. (The jargon is kept to a minimum and the approach is fairly direct). This is commendable. However, a number of issues may prohibit its use in the classroom. Simple errors create reader-confusion ...
The essay entitled "New Labours, New Horrors," consistently misspells the character of "Selena" (28 Days Later) as "Celina." Why does this matter? The reason is two-fold. First, I am relying on this academic text to be both precise and well-researched. If I were not well-versed in this topic, I might assume that the author (and editor) are correct. This can result in a cascade of misinformation. Secondly, when I assign such a text to my students, they genuinely are relying on it for information. They assume that the text is infallible. Understandable. When I assign critical papers, I deduct two-points for every instance where a student misspells a character name. My admonishment to them is, "How can I instill faith in your assertions if you cannot take a moment to confirm character names?" The same applies here. I read the remains of the essay with a jaundice eye ... nervously anticipating the next error.
I moved on to the next full-length essay ("Baise-Moi and the French Rape-Revenge Films"), hopeful that a different author would present a closely edited piece. Only a few pages in, the release date for the film Haute Tension is cited as "1993" (99). I was dismayed and wondered if the version I saw was a remake. As it turns out, this was simply an error on the writer's behalf. The film was released in 2003. Again, I became dubious of the entire essay. It is so easy to lose your reader's faith ... especially, when one's essay is a brief eight pages in length and less than perfectly fact-checked. Many of the essays suffer from such problems.
Even though a bit too much summary occasionally sneaks in (one can assume that the reader has seen these films), even though there are some unnecessary "fan-boy" moments (one can assume that any person reading this text will catch all the "cool" references to other zombie flicks in Shaun of the Dead), there are some very thoughtful and thought-provoking moments in this text. If it were possible for an editor to correct the errors and re-release the text, I think it could make an extremely valuable contribution to the field.