By Dr Mark Steven
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*********WARNING: This post contains some violent content readers may find disturbing.*****
This seminar shows how a popular sub-genre of horror films has developed a uniquely sensitive perspective on the cyclic structure of capitalism. That sub-genre is the splatter film, whose various iterations all visually and narratively privilege the abject moment when human bodies are destroyed irreparably. Splatter has enjoyed something of a renaissance in the first decades of the twenty-first century, with the Hostel and Saw franchises grossing millions, and found an audience in multiple national cinemas.
The seminar provides an account of the political economy that underwrites cinematic gore of this type. Combining macroscopic economic history with close analysis of film, the seminar’s objective is to explore splatter for both its consistencies and its derivations, an interplay that is a source of both theoretical and practical lessons for navigating the horror movie we all collectively inhabit.
Dr Mark Steven is a Research Fellow in Film at the Centre for Modernism Studies in Australia, based at UNSW. He has published chapters and articles on the intersections of literature, film, and the economy. His research is motivated by an abiding interest in the antagonisms between communism and capitalism. He is the co-editor of Styles of Extinction: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (Continuum, 2012) and The Cinema of Theo Angelopoulos (Edinburgh UP, 2015).