Fear 2000: 21st Century Horror

Sheffield Hallam University – 1-2 April, 2016

Abstracts due: 30 November, 2015

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers and 90 minute panels for the first Fear 2000: 21st Century Horror conference at Sheffield Hallam University. Hosted by staff and postgraduate students in the Department of Humanities in collaboration with Celluloid Screams Sheffield Horror Film Festival, the conference will investigate the horror genre’s aesthetic, cultural and industrial concerns in the new millennium.

The horror film has been through stark changes since the turn of the 21st century. We have witnessed the visceral shocks of New French Extremity; the birth of the Neo-Giallo; the recent boom in Australasian horror; franchise reboots and Hollywood remakes; the rise and fall of torture porn; the explosion of found footage both as a studio obsession and a tool for low- and no-budget filmmakers; and the influences of – to name but a few – George A. Romero, John Carpenter and David Cronenberg in a long line of genre throwbacks. In some ways, then, it might seem that 21st century horror is contradictory in its debt to the past; while the genre has changed in many ways, a common criticism of modern studio horror is that it hinges on those endless remakes, reboots and franchises, while some of our finest independent filmmakers are inextricable from their influences.

But just because contemporary horror has an eye on the past does not mean it doesn’t look to our present and future: 9/11, the War on Terror, the Global Recession, the rise of social media and the explosion of celebrity culture have all influenced what it is we are afraid of and, subsequently, the thematic concerns of the modern horror film. Industrially, the horror industry has been experiencing and continues to experience a transformation: crowdfunding, the rise of the horror film festival and video on demand services have dramatically changed how horror is produced, distributed and consumed.

We seek papers that will investigate horror in the 21st century from a range of perspectives that will contribute to the scholarly understanding of a genre in transition, trapped between the past, present and future. Examinations of the genre’s contemporary aesthetic, cultural and industrial concerns are all welcome.

The conference will be held in partnership with Celluloid Screams Sheffield Horror Film Festival. The conference will take place 1-2 April, with some of the programme dedicated to a series of relevant screenings.

The deadline for proposals is 30 November 2015. For twenty minute papers, please submit a short bio and a 300 word abstract including your name, the title of your paper, institutional affiliation and any technological requirements to Craig Ian Mann (, Rose Butler ( and Shelley O’Brien (shelley.o’ We are also seeking proposals for panels of 3-4 people; if you would like to propose a panel, please keep proposals to a maximum of 1000 words and include abstracts, institutional affiliation, technological requirements and contact information for all speakers and a chair (if applicable). Panels should be planned for no more than 90 minutes in total and accommodate time for questions. Please direct any informal enquiries to the above email addresses.

Topics might include but are not limited to:

Aesthetic Concerns:
– Scoring the modern horror film
– Modern special effects
– ’70s/’80s throwbacks
– Animated horror

21st Century Horror Movements:
– Found footage
– New French Extremity
– Neo-Giallo
– Torture Porn
– Anthology Films
– Body-horror
– Remakes/reboots

Cultural Concerns:
– 9/11 and the War on Terror
– Security and mass surveillance
– Technology and the rise of social media
– Celebrity culture and body image
– The Global Recession and economics
– National horror cinemas and their domestic contexts
– Cross-cultural connections and international contexts

Industrial Concerns
– Production, funding and crowdfunding
– New media and changes in distribution networks
– The rise of the horror film festival
– Fandom and the horror press

21st Century Horror Writers & Directors
– Ti West
– Alexandre Aja
– Greg McLean
– Ben Wheatley/Amy Jump
– Adam Wingard/Simon Barrett
– Hélène Cattet/Bruno Forzani

Poster designed by Daniel Judge