Topics include the docudrama in early cinema, the industrial film as faux documentary, the fear evoked in 1950s science fiction films, the selling of "reality" in mockumentaries, and reality television and documentary forms. The essays provide a foundation for significant rethinking of film history and criticism, offering the first significant discussion of two emerging and increasingly important genres. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.
Publication Date: 2019-02-15
This book adopts a cognitive theoretical framework in order to address the mental processes that are elicited and triggered by found footage horror films. Through analysis of key films, the book explores the effects that the diegetic camera technique used in such films can have on the cognition of viewers. It further examines the way in which mediated realism is constructed in the films in order to attempt to make audiences either (mis)read the footage as non-fiction, or more commonly to imagine that the footage is non-fiction.
Films studied include The Blair Witch Project, Rec, Paranormal Activity, Exhibit A, Cloverfield, Man Bites Dog, The Last Horror Movie, Noroi: The Curse, Autohead and Zero Day This book will be of key interest to Film Studies scholars with research interests in horror and genre studies, cognitive studies of the moving image, and those with interests in narration, realism and mimesis. It is an essential read for students undertaking courses with a focus on film theory, particularly those interested specifically in horror films and cognitive film theory.
Publication Date: 2014-05-10
As the horror subgenre du jour, found footage horror's amateur filmmaking look has made it available to a range of budgets. Surviving by adapting to technological and cultural shifts and popular trends, found footage horror is a successful and surprisingly complex experiment in blurring the lines between quotidian reality and horror's dark and tantalizing fantasies. Found Footage Horror Films explores the subgenre's stylistic, historical and thematic development. It examines the diverse prehistory beyond Man Bites Dog (1992) and Cannibal Holocaust (1980), paying attention to the safety films of the 1960s, the snuff-fictions of the 1970s, and to television reality horror hoaxes and mockumentaries during the 1980s and 1990s in particular. It underscores the importance of The Blair Witch Project (1999) and Paranormal Activity (2007), and considers YouTube's popular rise in sparking the subgenre's recent renaissance.
The book explores the modest origins and rapid demise of this independent film- while also analyzing the sensational results of its broad media discourses--a Web site developing the back story of The Blair Witch Project was one of the most-accessed sites on the entire Internet at the time of the movie's release. These essays, from many diverse perspectives, also look at The Blair Witch Project's manipulation of cinematic codes, its view on technology and the occult, its film progenitors, and even its effects on the film's setting of Burkittsville, Maryland. Nothing That Is will interest both film scholars and fans of this unexpected blockbuster that emerged from, if not "nothing," a complex brew of culture, technology, and ingenuity.
This article investigates how sound and music activate genre identification, narrative features, emotional engagement and marketing operations for the film. Constructed around footage apparently shot by the central protagonists on their home recorder (digicam), the film sound track mostly adheres to this narrative. However, as the analysis shows, the sound is notable for the way it is highly crafted and contrived to be cinematically affective while appearing to be merely sonically 'documenting' the action and events.
Our analysis begins by noting two prominent interpretations of the films: as genre-changing minimalist works and as soothing morality tales in which overleveraged suburbanites are punished. Putting these readings into conversation, we maintain that these films entrench audiences in the grip of consumption – the drive that fuels consumerism and materialism. Using Julia Kristeva's work on abjection, we argue that the films' much-praised minimalist style positions consumption as abject, as that which both disgusts and attracts audience members but offers no release from the dizzying drive for more. We maintain that these films display consumption as an urge for possession that cannot be stabilized or sublimated. They accomplish this end by using stylistic strategies that violate horror conventions and ask the audience to become enraptured with consuming the films. Ultimately, we use this analysis to suggest how abjection is theoretically enriched when it is coupled with an understanding of the contemporary movements of style.
Jackson discusses Ruggero Deodato's 1980 horror film "Cannibal Holocaust," considering the various ways in which the film represents a realist horror model while simultaneously addressing its own methods of construction. He places the film within the context of its own generic heritage, and, in doing so, presents an analysis of the movie's textual structures. He argues that the reflexive modes of "Cannibal Holocaust" provide valuable insights into the stylistic presentation of realist horror.
Lafond analyzes the Belgian film "C'est arrivé près de chez vous" ("Man Bites Dog"), released in 1992, directed by Remy Belvaux, André Bonzel, and Benoît Poelvoorde, and starring Poelvoorde as a charismatic serial killer who is followed by a documentary film crew as he goes on a violent rampage. Lafond reviews the film's controversial release and its success as a cult film that aroused controversy over its mixture of realistic cinematography and black humor. The film's implication of the audience in the killer's crimes, accentuated by a rape scene in which the cameraman partakes in the brutality, is examined and compared with the similarly amoral approach of the 1986 American film "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer."