2016 Speakers

Filipa Antunes – University of East Anglia

Not for Children… Perhaps: Horror and the Problem of Child Audiences

For decades, horror aficionados have responded to accusations over the ‘immaturity’ of their chosen genre. A common approach to legitimise horror, therefore, has been to distance it from child audiences – or at least from the idea of children as target audience – particularly since the inception of the rating system and its restricted classifications in 1968. But the debates persist, and are deeply entrenched not just in horror fandom and scholarship but also in popular production.

To explore this issue, this paper will focus on the production and reception of Scouts Guide to the Apocalypse (2015). Originally conceived as a ‘PG-13 zombie film for kids,’ Scouts Guide quickly changed shape when horror fan Christopher Landon was brought in to direct, eventually becoming ‘an R-rated, adult zombie film.’ Using interviews with producers, the director and the crew, as well as some reviews, this paper will explore the reasons behind these changes and their effect in the film’s mixed, even confusing, approach to horror and children, both as subjects and as audiences. Specifically, the paper will contrast Landon’s vision of horror (and particularly his rejection of the PG-13 rating) with the inspirations he cites for Scouts Guide (Gremlins, The Goonies and other child-friendly features) and the producers’ desire to make an ‘Amblin-esque’ film.

Thus this paper will suggest a schism within the horror genre where children are concerned: although child-orientated films are recognised as deeply influential, this inspiration is tempered by dominant expectations of horror as an adult genre, revealing deep ambiguity toward children as legitimate audiences.

Filipa Antunes has just submitted her PhD thesis, titled ‘Children Beware! Children’s horror and the emergent Millennial pre-teen.’ The work discussed the children’s horror trend (1980-1997) and connects it to significant industrial changes, namely the introduction of the PG-13 classification, and to socio-cultural struggles over childhood and horror strongly associated with the emergence of the pre-teen demographic. Filipa’s latest article, ‘Re-thinking PG-13: Ratings and the Boundaries of Children and Horror,’ is forthcoming in the Journal of Film and Video.

Speaking as part of ‘Little Nasties: Children in Contemporary Horror’

James Aston – University of Hull

‘Not Like How Hollywood Shows Us’: Reintegrating Hardcore Horror into 21st Century U.S. Horror Discourse

The proliferation of U.S. horror films in the 21st century has engendered an increase in critical and academic response which has almost exclusively focused on the conventions of mainstream horror cinema. This is, films sanctioned by classificatory bodies, released through mid to large production companies and exhibited via selected to wide theatrical releases. While academic work, drawing from film and cultural studies, has provided a much needed engagement with the popularity and themes of contemporary U.S. horror, they have tended to exclude the marginal or ‘hidden’ horror film examples.

Therefore, working from Antonio Lázaro-Reboll’s work on the ‘archaeology of horror’ put forward in The Spanish Horror Film (2012), this paper (which is part of a monograph on the subject) will similarly seek to ‘reintegrate marginal filmic and cultural practices’ into 21st century U.S. horror. Within the paper an account of the aesthetic and thematic strategies of the films will be provided which will work toward supplying a definition of of the term ‘hardcore horror’. A number of filmic examples will be given (such as films by Fred Vogel, Shane Ryan and Lucifer Valentine) and areas such as production, marketing, and consumption will be addressed. The importance of looking at hardcore horror is that these films operate outside of normative filmmaking practice and in doing so provide a wider examination of the cultural field of U.S. horror in terms of how it is made and experienced.

The paper will hope to provide a redefinition of the boundaries of the genre within the context of contemporary U.S. horror, so that overlooked horror films and their revisions and alterations of commercial production, marketing and consumption practices c an be included. In turn, this will help to better understand the interface between filmmaker and audience (and scholar), especially when it comes to cultural representations of an experience toward horror.

James Aston is currently subject leader for Screen at the University of Hull. He teaches extensively on the undergraduate film programme including ‘American Alternative Cinema’, ‘East Asian Cinema’ and ‘Global Nightmares: Contemporary Horror Cinema from Around the World’. He has published numerous articles on the horror film and is co-editor of To See the Saw Movies: Essays on Torture Porn and Post-9/11 Horror. He is currently working on a monograph entitled Beyond Videodrome: An Archaeology of Hardcore Horror.

Speaking as part of ‘Hardcore: Horror to the Extreme’

Lee Broughton – University of Leeds

Contemporary Horror, Genre Hybridity and Visions of the Past: the Horror Western

Horror Westerns are not a new phenomenon but the context of their production in the new millennium has changed markedly. When well-known horror Westerns such as Billy the Kid versus Dracula (1966) were produced, their novel content was intended to make them stand out in a market place that was saturated with regular Westerns. These days horror Westerns are produced with the hope that their novel content will make them stand out in a market place that is saturated with regular horror films.

The post-2000 horror Westerns tend to take the themes and concerns of  contemporary horror films (e.g. they feature stories that forground humans that are battling with monstrous ‘others’ such as zombies, vampires and werewolves) and transpose them to the historical West in an often awkward or clumsy manner. As a consequence these exercises in generic hybridity are not always successful at a narrative or an aesthetic level. The Western is a genre that currently struggles to find a consistent audience – it is difficult enough to produce a regular Western that will appeal to a wide audience let alone produce a horror Western that might do the same.

After giving a brief account of those post-2000 horror Westerns that might be classed as critical failures, this paper will argue that Alex Turner’s horror Western Dead Birds (2004) is actually a rare success. I argue that this is because Turner expertly gets his ‘Western’ elements right first and then proceeds to add his ‘horror’ elements in the most logical areas of the film. Hence a violent bank robbery becomes a legitimate exercise in gore effects, a large empty farmhouse-cum-robbers’ hideaway becomes a veritable ‘spooky old dark house’ and the film’s Southern Gothic-soaked Alabama setting provides the perfect location for wholly original and convincing supernatural phenomena.

Lee Broughton is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow in the Centre for World Cinemas at the University of Leeds. His current research focuses on the representations of ‘North’ and ‘South’ found in Italian Westerns. The Frank Parkinson Scholarship funded his doctoral research, which sought to question Hollywood’s claim to fundamental ownership of the Western genre by critically examining key but previously overlooked European Westerns. A monograph based on his research, The Euro Western: Reframing Gender, Race and the ‘Other’ in Film, is currently being readied for publication by I.B. Tauris. Lee is the designer, writer and convener of the Level 2 module ‘Psychotronic Cinemas: the Cult Movie World Wide’.

Speaking as part of ‘Horrible Histories: Subgenres in Transition’

Alice Haylett Bryan – King’s College London

UMP Politics, Assimilation, and Ethnicity in French Horror Cinema

This paper will explore the influence of the immigration and assimilation policies of the Union pour un mouvement populaire (UMP), and the 2005 riots, on the ‘new wave’ of French Horror cinema between 2004 and 2014. Previous scholarly research on the resurgence of the genre in France has interpreted these films as revealing the fear of the threat of the foreign other, with the victims’ bodies standing as doubles for the nation under attack from increased immigration and cultural diversity. However, these arguments overlook onscreen and off-screen roles that French citizens who are first or second generation immigrants, or of mixed descent, play in these varied works. With special attention to Kim Chapiron’s Sheitan (2007), but also with reference to a variety of films from across the period, this paper will propose that a number of key works in the movement critique the push for assimilation encouraged, and at times enforced, by Chirac, Sarkozy and the UMP, by representing rural French nationals as provincial, inbred and even psychopathic. Instead of depicting white France under threat, I propose that a more progressive reading of these works can be undertaken as revealing the French nation’s fear of itself during a period that gave birth to the revival of far-right support and the return of the Front national.

Alice Haylett Bryan is a Graduate Teaching Assistant at King’s College London, where she recently submitted a thesis on womb phantasies in international horror and extreme cinema. He recent publications include ‘”I Only Like Seeing Myself in Small Bits”: Catherine Breillat’s Reflections of the Female Body’ in Cine-Excess and ‘Surgery, Blood and Patriarchal Sex: Excision and American Mary’, in Transgression in Anglo-American Cinema: Gender, Sex and the Deviant Body.

Speaking as part of ‘New Flesh: Ethics, Politics and European Body-Horror’

Jake Burton – Independent Scholar

A Transatlantic House of Horror: The Rise and Fall of The Fantastic Factory

When Brian Yuzna and Julio Fernandez founded The Fantastic Factory in 1999, their mission statement was to produce a regular output of low budget genre films specifically for wide scale international distribution, utilising a variety of global talent. The hope was that the financial success of each picture would allow The Factory to develop a self-sustaining financial model to produce more films and even incorporate some larger and more expansive projects. The Fantastic Factory would act as the enabler by funding these pictures whilst ensuring that the entire output was in keeping with the original manifesto.

Their vision was to establish The Fantastic Factory as the horror cinema equivalent of Warhol’s Factory of the 1960s – an umbrella business model within the boundaries of which a growing community of burgeoning filmmakers could grow and develop. The hope was to combine Yuzna’s knowledge and experience of the American film industry with the European sensibilities of Fernandez, and his company Filmax’s distribution credentials to create a transatlantic, genre-focused production company.

However by 2006, and after only nine films, The Fantastic Factory ceased production and Brian Yuzna had left to pursue alternative film projects. Despite the intentions and attempts of all involved, the productions failed to establish the studio at an international level or as the global horror force they had once hoped to be.

This paper will seek to establish why The Fantastic Factory failed to thrive and what lead to the rapid decline and collapse of what had only a few years previously been a promising venture. Was this a case of this method of film production and studio set-up no longer being viable in a contemporary environment, or was it that The Factory’s output was not of a high enough standard of quality to support further ventures?

Jake Burton graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with an MA in Film Studies in 2011. He is an independent scholar and freelance writer and has contributed to a number of blogs and zines, including SHU’s The Void. His main academic interests are in Spanish and Italian exploitation cinema, cult British horror and the works of Brian Yuzna.

Speaking as part of ‘Euroslash: Modern European Horror Industries’

Rose Butler – Sheffield Hallam University

Oh Freedom: Race and Historic Injustice in American Horror Story: Coven

Following its retroactively titled first season Murder House (2011), Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story (2011-) quickly gained notoriety for its drastic change of course for the creative team behind Nip/Tuck (2003-2010) and Glee (2009-2015). Those familiar with the series will recognise some of its more graphic imagery: from a latex-clad ghost in Murder House, brutal Nazi doctors in Asylum (2012) to Lady Gaga’s bloodsucking orgies as the Countess in Hotel (2015), the anthology series has become synonymous with stylistic excess and transgressive narratives.

But since its inception, AHS has used this overt visual style and narratives employing multiple flashbacks to address complex American socio-cultural anxieties from past and present. This paper will argue that the series’ third season, Coven (2013) explores the cultural aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005: the persecution and oppression of the series’ witches is representative of the injustice met by numerous racial minorities in the wake of the storm. Katrina was undoubtedly a terrible natural disaster, but its repercussions turned into social catastrophe; once known for its vibrant multicultural heritage, New Orleans became a centre of social injustice and racial discrimination. The elderly and the less affluent were abandoned by a poor response from rescue services, which were diverted in favour of protecting private property while racial minorities were increasingly vilified by the authorities and media.

Coven‘s thematic concerns of race, sexuality, privilege and oppression are explored through the central motif of witchcraft; focussing on the rivalry between a coven of white Salem descendants led by the Supreme (Jessica Lange) and a group of black Haitian Voodooists led by Priestess Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) in present day New Orleans. While the two groups of women are at odds with one another, they are both under threat from a greater, more insidious danger: a patriarchal group of witch-hunters led by Hank (Josh Hamilton) and his father Harrison Renard (Michael Cristofer) that operates under the guise of a corporation named Delphi Trust.

With the widely reported deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray and the rising prominence of the Black Lives Matter campaign, Coven is a prescient addition to the contemporary dialogue on racial oppression and injustice in contemporary America.

Rose Butler is an Associate Lecturer in Film and doctoral candidate at Sheffield Hallam University where she is completing her thesis: ‘Mass Culture/Mass Murder: A Cultural History of German Crime Cinema.’ She has recently presented a paper at the 2015 ECREA conference on the German krimi film and is currently completing a chapter on the depiction of Los Angeles in American Horror Story. Her wider research interests include European genre cinema and contemporary American film and TV.

Speaking as part of ‘TerrorVision: Horror on the Small Screen’

Chris Cooke – Sheffield Hallam University

‘The Unquenchable Thirst of Dracula’, Hammer and Beyond: The Performed Screenplay and the Audience

The Gothic Hammer film has experienced a modern revival, but attempts are still being made to resurrect the lost work of the studio’s ‘golden years’. This paper examines that archive and proposes that contemporary approaches to understanding screenplays are offering solutions to finding new ways for audiences to experience these ‘lost’ works. The screenplay is often a mystery buried beneath the production process. But recent successful adaptations have occurred including the ‘performed screenplay’, the ‘rehearsed reading’ and ‘screenless’ cinema’ – cinema without images.

The recent performance of a never-filmed screenplay from Hammer’s archive, ‘The Unquenchable Thirst of Dracula’, by Mayhem Film Festival (Chris Cooke and Steven Shiel), saw an audience ‘imagining’ a lost classic from the internationally renowned studio working alongside CATH (the Cinema and Television History archive at De Montfort University). But how can performance mediate the audience’s understanding of the screenplay, screenwriting and the writing process? How is an audience’s understanding mediated by performance and not the film production process? As co-director of Mayhem Film Festival, responsible for mounting the ‘reading’ of Hammer’s ‘The Unquenchable Thirst of Dracula’, a space was created between the onstage performers to allow audiences to ‘project’ images from their imagination.

But how does mediation inform and control those images? How is the performance read, understood or decoded by the viewer? Howe does the Hammer Film exist in the audience’s memory after this experience and how does this inform their understanding of the ‘performed’ or ‘read’ work? Ultimately this paper will ask ‘What is the future of these lost works and how can modern audiences re-engage with the studio?’ This paper will investigate live readings as a 21st century solution to a cinematic problem.

Chris Cooke is a film director, festival director and Lecturer in Film and Media Production at Sheffield Hallam University. He directed and wrote the Film4 feature One for the Road (2004) and co-directs Nottingham’s Mayhem Film Festival, which is dedicated to horror, science fiction and cult cinema and is held annually at Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema. In addition, with co-director Steven Shiel, he produced ‘The Unquenchable Thirst of Dracula’ with historian and performer Jonathan Rigby as narrator: a live ‘rehearsed reading’ of a once-lost Hammer screenplay from Anthony Hinds.

Speaking as part of ‘Horrible Histories: Subgenres in Transition’

Andreas Ehrenreich – Sheffield Hallam University

The Creation of a Film Cycle: How the Neo-Giallo’s Marketing Shapes the Historic Giallo

Although a commonsensical definition of the giallo does not exist, most people who are familiar with the term have some vague idea of what the giallo is. Often, they associate it with the works of Mario Bava or Dario Argento or have certain iconographic ideas about films full of razors, leather gloves and wide-brimmed hats.  But it is a recent series of films, which is often labelled the neo-giallo that has been most influential on how we grasp the older giallo cycle. Films such as Amer (2009), Giallo (2009), Masks (2011), Berberian Sound Studio (2012), Tulpa (2012) and The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears (2013) have not only created a greater awareness of Italian Exploitation cinema from the 1960s and 70s, but they have decisively shaped our understanding of their predecessors.

In terms of narrative and style, the films listed above differ significantly from each other. This is also true for the divergent ways in which they evoke giallo aesthetics or stories. Rather, the tie to the original Italian cycle becomes most explicit in various contextual documents related to the films’ theatrical and home cinema releases. It is in these marketing materials where the neo-giallo’s specific notion of the historic giallo is articulated and consciously formed. I would like to examine posters, press books, websites etc. in order to analyse the peculiar ways in which neo-gialli create a kind of unified knowledge about a number of previous films that are actually extremely heterogeneous.

In my survey, I will demonstrate how contemporary marketing posits the historic giallo as a distinct filmic tradition that it has never been in the first place. However, the neo-giallo benefits from being situated in such a simulated genealogical relationship. These recent films resort to thrillers from the 1960s and 70s as markers of innovative stylistics, which seems to be a viable asset in the contemporary marketplace.

Andreas Ehrenreich gained an MA in German Philology and an MA in Theatre, Film and Media Studies from the University of Vienna. He was a research associate at the Institute of Media and Communication Studies of the University of Mannheim and is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Humanities at Sheffield Hallam University.

Speaking as part of ‘Faux-Leather: The Neo-Giallo’

Juliette Feyel – University of Cambridge

Taxidermia by György Pálfi: Body Horror, Body Politics

Taxidermia (2006) tells the lives of three generations of Hungarian men spanning from WWII and the Soviet period to the present, consumerist era. The film dramatizes Hungary’s history through the depiction of individual bodies being disciplined and controlled by means of their integration into the productive economic chain and the hierarchy of existing powers. Scholars have emphasized the allegorical dimension of Pálfi’s triptych, relating it to Hungarian writer Lajos Parti Nagy, whose books were a source of inspiration. The film thus unquestionably addresses political and historical issues. Now Pálfi’s aesthetics combine magic realism, surrealist collage and finely polished – although repulsive and horrific – vivid images of the body in all its organic functions. Through the use of shock and burlesque exaggeration, the film constructs a suffering, alienated body, constantly brought to its limits. The question this presentation will address can be phrased as follows: how can body horror and visual extremism undertake a political commitment? And, if so, what kind of ideological stance can we identify in the film? I will argue that the filmmaker’s oeuvre relies on epic and caricature in order to contrast contemporary Apollonian standards of beauty with a living body whose needs and desires have been increasingly denied. The shocking body without organs created by György Pálfi fights violence with violence and denounces the bio-political oppressive mechanisms of our time.

Juliette Feyel is an affiliated lecturer at the French Department of the University of Cambridge. She has written extensively on DH Lawrence and Bataille and is the author of George Bataille, Une quête érotique du sacré (An Erotic Quest For the Sacred). She is particularly interested in modern representations of the body and subjective limit-experiences in French and English speaking contemporary literature, cinema and graphic novels.

Speaking as part of ‘New Flesh: Ethics, Politics and European Body-Horror’

Katerina Flint-Nicol – University of Kent

Sightseers: If Mike Leigh Made a Horror Film, or Social Horror in Contemporary British Cinema

Writing on contemporary British cinema, James Leggott notes how certain British horror films exhibit a ‘gravitational pull towards realism’ (Leggott 2008). Concentrating on Sightseers (2008), this paper aims to concentrate on an opposite approach; that is, in contemporary British gritty cinema, realism has become punctuated with horror.

Observers of the recent Hoodie Horror cycle have commented on how its engagement with aesthetics, concerns and settings, such as council estates and the male as protagonist – subjects traditionally associated with the social realist tradition – have constructed marginalised communities as abject. Horror has become the default setting in the construction of the underclass in British popular culture. Drawing upon Imogen Tyler’s 2013 work Revolting Subjects, such abject representations imitated contemporary media and political dialogues that sought to construct identities with symbolic disgust so to expunge them to the borders of the social proper. The resent development of the British social realist drama with Nil by Mouth (1997), Tyrannosaur (2011) and The Selfish Giant (2013) focuses on increasingly abject figures and the aesthetics of representation intensifies the abject form in concurrence.

This paper seeks to position Sightseers as a pastoral film, but one that rejects the ‘English eerie’, where ‘the hedgerows, fields, ruins, hills and saltings of England have been set seething’ (Macarlane 2015), in favour of an unsympathetic urban pastoral on holiday in that we take pleasure in ‘the opportunity they [the unemployed] present for wallowing in abjection’ (Stallabrass 2006). In so doing, this paper will contextualise the film against contemporary British realist offerings that find synergy between authentic representation and ‘horrifying the real’.

Katerina Flint-Nicol is a PhD candidate at the University of Kent, where she undertook both an MA and BA in Film Studies. Her thesis is concerned with the Hoodie Horror cycle and its relationship with the process of social abjection and British social realism. She is also an Associate Lecturer at Kent, where she teaches on storytelling in cinema, New York and the movies and the Hollywood studio system.

Speaking as part of ‘Social Anxiety: Contemporary Cultural Concerns’

Mikela Fotiou – Independent Scholar

Introducing and Contextualising Contemporary Greek Horror Cinema

Greek horror films are neither prevalent or abundant, and in fact the phrase ‘Greek horror cinema’ might sound like a joke to many and be treated with disbelief. This paper aims to provide an overview of the widely neglected – by audience, filmmakers and Greek Film Studies – horror cinema in Greece and attempt to contextualise the genre in Greek national cinema.

Greek horror films, although they first appeared in the 1970s, are still in a very early stage, and their themes try to cover ground that Hollywood or horror films of other national cinemas have been dealing with since the origins of the horror cinematic genre. At the same time though, many films adjust these themes to very Greek-specific elements. This paper will argue that there is a swift surge in the quality and quantity of Greek horror films after 2010 due to cheaper filmmaking equipment and the availability of online video sharing platforms that allow filmmakers to circulate their films more easily. However, the greatest change is noted in the themes of the Greek horror films after 2009, a change that is connected to the financial and the sociopolitical crisis that Greece still experiences, as these films offer sociopolitical commentary on contemporary Greece, and show elements of nationalism in several instances.

Due to the limited number of horror films, this paper will look into both feature films and short films by professional and amateur filmmakers. The role of horror film festivals will also be addressed, as these festivals are the main venues for Greek horror filmmakers to showcase their work in a cinema in Greece.

Mikela Fotiou holds a PhD in Film Studies from the University of Glasgow (thesis entitled ‘The Cinematic Work of Greek Filmmaker Nikos Nikolaidis and Female Representation’) and she is currently researching Greek horror cinema. She co-organised the international conference Contemporary Greek Film Cultures 2013 (London, 5-6 July 2013) after which she co-edited of a special issue of Filmicon: Journal of Greek Film Studies. Her article ‘Contemporary Greek Horror Cinema: Yes! It Is A “Thing”‘ is currently under review (Journal of Greek Media and Culture) and it is the first academic article on Greek horror cinema.

Speaking as part of ‘Euroslash: Modern European Horror Industries’

Stella Gaynor – University of Salford

Made for TV Monsters: Aesthetic Disposition and Socio-political Comment in Contemporary Horror Programming

The horror genre has undergone many transformations since the start of the 2000s, as has the television industry, allowing more authentic horror to find its way onto the small screen. Enjoying unprecedented success, record breaking viewing figures and award winning performances, horror in the 21st century is not just confined to the cinema.

What does horror offer to television? Horror on television has been previously dismissed by some critics, as being diluted and watered down, and certainly no counterpart to the horror on the cinema screen. But in the recent quick-shifting landscape of the American television industry, its changing economic models, and wide-ranging distribution methods, horror has had huge successes on the small screen, both in the US and globally.

This paper will explore with it is that horror can bring to television, and will look at two case studies, including a basic and premium cable offering of contemporary horror television programming. To considering this shift I will present the historical discourse around horror on television and I will consider why these debates are now redundant. Presenting two case studies – HBO’s True Blood (2008-2014) and AMC’s The Walking Dead (2010-) – I will demonstrate that horror brings both aesthetic disposition and socio-political comment, whilst fulfilling the needs of horror fans and the industrial requirements of television in the post-network era.

I argue that TV horror has matured into something worthy of the horror genre, and that in and of itself could present its own sub-category, as it enjoys elements that are not available within the closed walls of a film studio production. Television as we know it today not only brings complex stories driven by first class writing, but also technological excellence and high production values, which can level the playing field between cinematic and televisual horror.

Stella Gaynor started her PhD in 2015 under a Graduate Teaching Studentship, based at Media City, UK. Her research is primarily concerned with horror on television, its industrial concerns, form, style and aesthetics. Previously, she was an Associate Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University in the Film and Media department and a special effects make-up artist.

Speaking as part of ‘TerrorVision: Horror on the Small Screen’

Janet K. Halfyard – Birmingham Conservatoire

The Sound of Silence: Sonic Strategies in Found-Footage Horror

The Blair Witch Project (1999) launched a new horror genre in the form of the ‘found-footage’ horror film, substantially changing the conventions and expectations of the genre from multiple perspectives (e.g. visual quality; continuity; resolution); and abandoning the musical scoring that frequently defines and enhances horror as a genre, with its repertoire of ominous drones, shrieking glissandos and ‘stinger’ chords.

This paper examines how the first found-footage horror films developed alternative strategies for using sound in a horror narrative, and I look in particular at the use of ambient hums, noise and ‘silence’ itself as means by which narratives invoke ideas of the abnormal and uncanny (see Goddard et al, 2012; Royle 2003) in films such as the Paranormal Activity (2007-) and Apartment 143 (2011). However, a significant issue arises in these films when seen outside of the cinema. In the context of cinema viewing, the presence of a silent audience in a large, dark usually soundproofed space greatly increases the sense of the uncanny in the absence of music (see Ardorno and Eisler 1947), but seen in a less controlled domestic context, these films struggle to frighten, lacking both the pervasive ‘silence’ that a cinema screening allows and the sense of lurking threats and sudden scares that musical cues construct.

More recent films preserve much of the basic structure of found-footage but move away from giving the impression of having little external editorial intervention. I look in particular at The Last Exorcism (2010) which openly uses underscore for scenes (and only for scenes) where the supernatural is present, re-introducing the vocabulary of drones and stingers, but without attempting an internal explanation for this, as if hoping to take advantage of Gorbman’s principle of ‘inaudibility’ in film scoring (1987) such that the audience may not even notice that music is being used. This reintroduction of conventional scoring practices points to a hybridisation of sonic strategies aiming to preserve the basic format of the found-footage genre whilst exploiting music’s ability to scare.

Janet K. Halfyard is an Associate Professor of Music at Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University. Her publications focus particularly on music in TV and film fantasy genres, and include Danny Elfman’s Batman: A Film Score Guide; the development of vampire film scoring (Terror Tracks) and numerous essays and conference papers on music in the work of Joss Whedon. She has just completed a monograph on Music in Cult TV which is due to be published early 2016.

Speaking as part of ‘Scream Queens: Sound Design in Contemporary Horror’

Lindsay Hallam – University of East London

Digital Witness: Desktop Horror as Post-Cinematic Experience

In a similar vein to the found footage horror films which have become prevalent in the past ten years, the desktop film also involves characters who record events on digital mobile devices, yet they go further in that these character engage with events, and the resulting footage, on their computer desktop screen rather than in the physical world. In The Den (2013), Open Windows (2014) and Unfriended (2014) the desktop screen becomes the film screen, a demonstration of the increasing assimilation of cinema into new digital technologies and media.

These desktop films are examples of what Steven Shaviro has called the ‘post-cinematic’, in that they are film texts that reflect how the film medium has been transformed from an analogue form to a digital one. In the desktop film there are layers of visuals, windows upon windows of information, images and interfaces. By presenting the narrative in this way these films articulate the experience of living in the digitised world, the rush of affect and intensity that ensues when immersed in the interplay between reality and its recording. Through the examination of desktop films, it is possible to see the further development of the post-cinematic form that Shaviro describes and also chart how our lived online experiences have informed new horror film conventions and techniques, especially in the ways that they evoke the sensation of fear and visceral immediate responses, and how this experience of horror cinema has been extended beyond its initial medium.

Lindsay Hallam is a Senior Lecturer in Film at the University of East London. She is the author of the book Screening the Marquis de Sade: Pleasure, Pain and the Transgressive Body in Film, and has directed the documentary Fridey at the Heydey. She has contributed to the collections Trauma, Media, Art: New Perspectives, Dracula’s Daughters: The Female Vampire on Film, Fragmented Nightmares: Transnational Horror Across Visual Media, Critical Insights: Violence in Literature and the journals Asian Cinema, The Bright Lights Film Journal and Senses of Cinema.

Speaking as part of ‘Technophobia: Digitisation and New Media’

Peter Hutchings – Northumbria University

Infestation, Oppression, Possession: Haunted Houses and Haunted People in 21st Century American Horror Cinema

Haunted house dramas have become a prominent feature of 21st century American horror cinema, arguably more so than they ever were previously in American horror history. This paper focuses on some of the most commercially successful of these, including Paranormal Activity (2007), Insidious (2010), Sinister (2012) and The Conjuring (2013). It seeks to establish the extent to which these films offer something innovative in relation to established conventions in this area of the genre, especially regarding the representation of domestic spaces and how these spaces are negotiated and owned by the characters in the films.

The paper also considers the ways in which these films often join together stories about spectral hauntings with possession-centred narratives, with ghosts and demons intermingling in a manner that is unusual in earlier haunted house stories. Finally, it explores how some of these films, especially Insidious and The Conjuring (both of which were directed by James Wan), self-consciously relate themselves back to earlier versions of haunted house stories from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s primarily through their depiction of parapsychological research into spectral phenomena. The films discussed by this paper emerge as both groundbreaking and backwards looking in their attempts to connect with an American tradition of ghost stories while simultaneously moving on from it.  

Peter Hutchings is Professor of Film Studies at Northumbria University. He is the author of Hammer and Beyond: The British Horror Film, Terence Fisher, The British Film Guide to Dracula, The Horror Film and The Historical Dictionary of Horror Cinema as well as co-editor of The Film Studies Reader. He has also published numerous journal articles and book chapters on horror cinema, British film and television, science fiction cinema and television, and the thriller.

Speaking as part of ‘Horrible Histories: Subgenres in Transition’

Maryam Jameela – University of Sheffield

The Spectre of Terror in Contemporary Horror Films

This paper will discuss the spectre of terrorism in contemporary horror films and how attitudes communicated socially, culturally and politically bleed into the horror genre. Existing in a post-9/11 culture has changed how we experience, conceptualise and process fear, particularly how we engage with ‘terror’ and ‘terrorism’. The horror genre has a tradition of confronting social injustices and working through visceral horror and terror through the manifestation and subsequent treatment of horror tropes.

There has been a tendency to categorise certain monsters in relation to specific political moments and I will be using these traditions to examine how we deconstruct terror as a political moment that is informed by fear. I wish to demonstrate how we can move past characterising monsters as products of their time and instead cast ourselves, the viewers, as products of our time constructing monsters in our own image. The spectre of terrorism is, I will argue, written into a culture of terror that articulates itself in horror films as caught between apocalyptic conclusions (The Cabin in the Woods [2012]), an articulation of fear in unusual forms (28 Days Later [2002]) and collective paranoia with questionable roots in reality (The Village [2004]).

This development begs the question that, if communities are using horror to work through complex social issues, when it comes to a social issue such as the ‘War on Terror’, is it possibly for horror films to reach conclusions that involve redemptive arcs or, indeed, points of resolution for a phenomenon that remains on-going? The manifestation of terror and terrorism exists, I will argue, as simultaneously knowable and unknowable: a messy marriage of the uncanny and the abject that produces a destabilising experience of endless fear characterised by liminal third space of a political situation that we have not yet seen the end of.

Maryam Jameela is a WRoCAH funded PhD Researcher in the School of English at the University of Sheffield. Her work examines intersectional representations of Desi women in cultural products produced post-9/11. She is particularly interested in a process of decentring western feminism and epistemology through a culturally aware phenomenological approach.

Speaking as part of ‘Social Anxiety: Contemporary Cultural Concerns’

Tanja Jurković – Independent Scholar

The Monster Within: Creating the Monstrous Identity in Balkan Horror Film

The turbulent 20th century required innovative approaches regarding representations of the monstrous in literature and film. These were the times when tradition met sexual revolution and inimitable violence brought about by wars, together with other various cultural and social changes that occurred in Europe. Alongside the already popular and significant British films and productions of their classics of literature, European horror films were being made in order to reflect the story of Europe itself.

The identity of the monstrous on European ground started to form itself through films which were made for commercial purposes. Representations of sex, violence and death sold the visionary approach of European directors abroad and in a way that publicised the story of Europe using gothic tropes in order to evoke the atmosphere of the time, simultaneously trying to appeal to an audience outside of Europe. Thus, the identity of the monstrous in Europe slowly faded away over time, the consequences of which reflected on European production. Film as an artistic form shifted its interests and settled in Hollywood, parallel to its dormant state in Europe, because it was thought that Europe had endured enough horrors in real life. Based on this premise, Balkan cinema recognised the appeal of the horror genre, trying to rediscover and form its own identity through the depiction of historical and social circumstances using the horror genre and its elements to show the repression and suffering these countries have gone through over the centuries.

Using some of the examples of horror films on these grounds, and focusing primarily on the social and political situation in Croatia and Serbia, this paper would offer a brief analysis of a monstrous identity that developed alongside the creation of newly formed national identities after the fall of the now former Republic of Yugoslavia.

Tanja Jurković holds an MA in English and French language and literature from the University of Zadar, Croatia. Her main research interests are Grand-Guignol, the French theatre of horror and the identity of the monstrous in the European horror film, focusing on the Balkans. She is a contributor to the ‘Gothic Imagination’ blog hosted by the University of Stirling and is an editor for literature for HARTS and Minds postgraduate academic journal. She is currently working on a number of articles on Balkan horror cinema whilst preparing for a PhD in Film and Media, covering the monstrous identities in the European (Balkan) horror film.

Speaking as part of ‘Euroslash: Modern European Horror Industries’

Oliver Kenny – Queen Mary University of London

Ethics and Extremity: Srđan Spasojević’s A Serbian Film

A Serbian Film tells the story of an aging pornstar who returns to act in ‘one last film’ only to discover that the film involves him unwittingly murdering and raping a succession of characters while under the influence of mind-altering drugs, most of which is depicted in an especially graphic manner. In this paper I will contend that it is impossible to separate phenomenological from symptomatic interpretations of the film, indeed that it is only in exploring the visceral, bodily, material aspects of the film-viewing experience, that the film’s politics can be fruitfully understood. Scholars have noted the ebb and flow between the distanced formalism of the allegorical dimensions and the oppressive nearness of the bodily horror; it is such an uncontainable oscillation of proximity and distance which underpins what we might call the film’s ethics of extremity. Paul Ardenne’s description of extremity finds it caught between the outer limit (extremus) and what is beyond that limit (exter); I will show that this conception of extremity as both inside and outside is a productive way of thinking about the apparent conflicts between proximity and distance, allegory/symbolism and viscerality, politics and aesthetics. Conceived thus, graphic and distressing scenes of violence can, with caveats, be politically and ethically potent, able to critique societal structures of violence despite ostensibly collapsing into conventional spectacularised images of violence.

Oliver Kenny is a third year PhD student at Queen Mary University of London, undertaking a thesis on questions of ethics in new extreme cinema after completing an MPhil with a thesis on explicit sex in the films of Michael Winterbottom and Catherine Breillat at the University of Cambridge. He has organised the BAFTSS funded colloquium on ‘Contemporary Thinking on the Gaze’ as well as co-curating the London French Postgraduate Research Seminar series. He currently teaches Film Studies at Queen Mary University London.

Speaking as part of ‘New Flesh: Ethics, Politics and European Body-Horror’

Catherine Lester – University of Warwick

A Good Scare: (Im)possibility, Pleasure and Acceptance in the Children’s Horror Film

The relationship between children and the horror genre has long been a turbulent one, from the claims of psychiatrist Fredric Wertham in the 1950s that horror comics would turn children into monstrous ‘delinquents’ to the moral panic surrounding ‘video nasties’ in Britain in the 1980s. These debates and effects studies highlight the general concern about the effect of the media on children, particularly that of a violent nature, but also the fact that many children have a large appetite for frightening material (Buckingham, 1996). However, little scholarly work has attended to horror films and other frightening media that are made specifically for children, despite the steadily increasing number of these texts being produced in the 21st century.

This paper situates the children’s horror sub-genre in a generic and industrial context and addresses the key issues that its existence raises: the development of children’s horror as a sub-genre in Hollywood; how children’s horror films, which due to their target audience must be inherently ‘less scary’ than adult horror films, mediate their content and negotiate issues of censorship in order to be recognisably of the horror genre while remaining ‘child-friendly;’ and what pleasures the sub-genre might serve its audience. The discussion concludes with analysis of the theme of ‘acceptance’ in relation to the film ParaNorman (2012): acceptance of monsters, of other people, and of the consumption of the horror genre as a valid children’s pastime.

Catherine Lester is completing her PhD thesis on the development, defining qualities and themes of the Hollywood children’s horror film at the University of Warwick. Her article ‘The Children’s Horror Film: Characterizing an “impossible” sub-genre’ is forthcoming in The Velvet Light Trap. Catherine recently co-organised an interdisciplinary conference at Warwick on ‘Girlhood, Media and Popular Culture, 1990-present.’

Speaking as part of ‘Little Nasties: Children in Contemporary Horror’

Shellie McMurdo – University of Roehampton

You Committed a Fatal Error: Ghosts in the Machine and the Uploadable Aesthetic in Post-Millennial Horror

Belonging to the burgeoning found footage subgenre, Unfriended (2014) uses aesthetics associated with user-generated content sites and networking sites such as Facebook, to engage with the longstanding genre tradition of the ghost story.

By engaging with concepts such as Jeffrey Sconce’s ‘haunted media’, this paper will contribute to scholarly understanding of a new breed of social media horror. It will demonstrate how Unfriended provides a filmic space for investigating emergent cultural anxieties due to the rise of social media such as digital anonymity, stalking and cyberbullying. With fore sites such as goregrish.com allowing us unprecedented access to real death footage, and the rise of online memorial sites such as Legacy.com, it is clear that death and dying is circulating with increasing visibility online. The internet is being used as a tool to mourn death, and in the cases of suicide due to cyberbullying such as Audrie Pott, cause death.

With the narrative unfolding within the limits of a laptop screen and the overarching message of the film being ‘what you have done will live here forever’, this paper will uncover the deeper anxieties present in Unfriended, and how the internet is haunted as much by the character’s mistakes as it is by the supernatural, with the characters dying by way of an online performative sacrifice to their friends on a Skype video chat. This paper will demonstrate that Unfriended is a clear example of 21st century horror in transition, by using the horror tradition of the ghost story, but engaging with it by using the modern aesthetic of social media to construct a fear around the insidious potential of social media and the internet as a site of haunting and the haunted.

Shellie McMurdo received a BA(Hons) in History and Film at the University of Hertfordshire before going on to obtain a Masters with merit in Cult Film and Television at Brunel University. With a forthcoming article in the journal Subverting the Senses and having successfully presented her work at various conferences, she is currently in her second year of research at the University of Roehampton. Her thesis title is ‘Blood on the Lens: Found Footage Horror and the Terror of the Real’ and focuses on the way found footage horror uses realism to present their narratives as authentic.

Speaking as part of ‘TerrorVision: Horror on the Small Screen’

Craig Ian Mann – Sheffield Hallam University

We’re all Rats Now: Lessons from Mulberry Street

In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007-08 and the subsequent Great Recession, contemporary horror cinema is awash with images of recession in a prolific cycle concerned with economic horror. Narratives of foreclosure and repossession have been at the heart of films including the Paranormal Activity series (2007-2015), Insidious (2010), The Innkeepers (2011) and The Conjuring (2013); the United States has been figured as a post-capitalist wasteland in Daybreakers (2009), Stake Land (2010) and visions of the zombie apocalypse; financially-motivated murderers have launched assaults on middle class homes in home invasion thrillers Mother’s Day (2010), You’re Next (2013) and Intruders (2016); and financial struggle has been a key theme of horror films as diverse as The House of the Devil (2009), Cheap Thrills (2013), Starry Eyes (2014) and James DeMonaco’s The Purge series (2013-2016).

Such a widespread concentration on fiscal horror is symptomatic of paranoia palpable in the wake of one of the worst recessions ever recorded. Modern fears surrounding unemployment, poverty, homelessness and destitution have come to be reflected in the horror film in a form of macabre catharsis. Some of these films have been afforded a reasonable amount of academic attention, especially those that have received support from Hollywood studios either in the form of funding or distribution. Less studied are those independent films which have largely been seen only on the horror film festival circuit before slipping to DVD and video-on-demand services.

What has been entirely ignored in the study of contemporary economic horror, though, is the cycle’s progenitor: Jim Mickle and Nick Damici’s Mulberry Street (2006). The story of several people facing eviction from a tenement block on the eponymous Manhattan thoroughfare to make way for luxury apartments, the film sees a volatile virus rip through the working class neighbourhood before spreading to wider New York City; it has the effect of turning its victims into mutant hybrids of human and rodent. Released at the height of the US housing bubble and unleashed on the festival circuit on the eve of the financial crisis, Mulberry Street anticipates an obsession with fiscal anxieties in American horror cinema that persists to this day.

Craig Ian Mann is an Associate Lecturer and doctoral candidate in Film Studies at Sheffield Hallam University. He is currently in the final stages of writing a thesis titled ‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?: Werewolf Films and Cultural Fears’ and has recently contributed to the collection Animal Horror Cinema: Genre, History and Criticism. His wider academic interest is in the cultural analysis of popular cinema, including the horror genre in its many forms, science fiction, the early gangster film and the American Western. He has a particular interest in countercultural and anti-capitalist narratives.

Speaking as part of ‘Social Anxiety: Contemporary Cultural Concerns’

Matt Melia – Kingston University

Reading the Scream in Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio

Peter Strickland’s 2012 film Berberian Sound Studio is a post-modern horror film about the mechanics of film itself, as well as about the fraught relationship between sound and image. It channels the influence of not only its namesake, the post-modernist voice artist Cathy Berberian, but also the dissident surrealist, writer, artist, practitioner and creator of the Theatre of Cruelty, Antonin Artaud (in particular the later experimental work for the radio, To Have Done with the Judgement of God, 1947) whose presence in the film is felt in the prominence of the scream in the film, both within the narrative and as part of the film’s mise en scène and score.

The film is about a British sound engineer, Gilderoy, who travels to Italy to the Berberian sound studio to work on a film about horses but instead finds himself involved with a violent giallo film The Equestrian Vortex.

This paper will discuss the role and presentation of screaming and glossolalia in the film. Screaming in Berberian is disembodied and isolated, it punctures the narrative suddenly and is juxtaposed with ‘silence’ and images of decay and evanescence (a la Samuel Beckett). It is associated within the text with the fracturing and break down of identity just as the identity of the film itself breaks down along with the ‘identity’ and form of the horror film (and more specifically, the giallo film) itself.

My paper will offer a close analysis and reading of the film, discussing the use of sound, score and screaming, alongside Strickland’s use of editing and image and the deconstruction of both space and identity.

Matt Melia is a senior lecturer in Film and Television at Kingston University. He completed his PhD on ‘Architecture and Cruelty in the Writings of Genet, Beckett and Artaud’ at Kingston University in 2007. His research interests include the representation and multiple understandings of space in visual culture and the work of Ken Russell.

Speaking as part of ‘Scream Queens: Sound Design in Contemporary Horror’

Sarah Reininghaus – TU Dortmund University

Constructions of the Female in Gialli: Now and Then

Looking for opportunities to present women in revealing outfits, sexy poses, in naked or sex scenes, the giallo was accused of being a genre whose “misogyny is a distinguished characteristics” (Wood 2005) – right from its beginnings in the 1960s.

From a feminist point of view, reasons for condemning the genre can be adduced to its often weak and superficial female characters who are depicted as passive objects and victimized in acts of (sexual) violence by predominantly male killers in these films. Almost always the role of women in gialli revolves around their physical attraction and mating games she plays with the male characters “so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness” (Mulvey 1985).

After applying a close reading to the women’s portrayals in examples of neo-gialli, including Amer (2009), Giallo (2009) or The Strange Colours of Your Body’s Tears (2013), I will focus on the films’ implied concepts of femininity, gender structures and female sexuality. In doing so, my approach will be to discuss whether the new films (in part) avoid classic stereotypical misogyny and clichés or whether these offer an even new conception of femininity of a different era. As a “film genre is both a static and dynamic system […] that serves to continually reexamine some basic cultural conflict” (Schatz 1981), the paper focuses on changes and developments in women’s depictions. According to what Linda Williams defined with the notion of body genres, these films provide fruitful material by revealing the “rapid changes taking place in relations between the ‘sexes'”(Williams 1991).

Sarah Reininghaus received her M.A in German Language & Literature and Philosophy at the TU Dortmund in 2009. She is a research associate at the Faculty of Cultural Studies in Dortmund. Her research interests are in the field of spatial theory, discourse analysis, literature and films of remembrance and horror studies with a special focus on gender issues.

Speaking as part of ‘Faux-Leather: The Neo-Giallo’

Marcus Stiglegger – DEKRA Academy

‘Global Giallo’: Giallo Elements as a Phenomenon in the World Cinema Today

Between 1964 and 1982 the giallo thriller flourished within the Italian genre cinema. It was a cycle of whodunit-thrillers stylistically coined by expressive horror directors like Mario Bava, Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci. At the same time filmmakers like Brian De Palma, William Friedkin or John Carpenter drew inspiration from these films and created a kind of ‘global giallo’ stylistic. This paper will discuss the afterlife of giallo as a phenomenon in the world cinema today, discussing retro-giallo, meta-giallo and giallo nuovo to prove the enduring importance of giallo filone today.

Marcus Stiglegger is a professor of TV and cinema studies at DEKRA media school in Berlin. He has published 27 books in Germany (e.g. on the ‘terror film’ phenomenon and Dario Argento) and regularly contributes to international DVD/Blu-Ray publications.

Speaking as part of ‘Faux-Leather: The Neo-Giallo’

Thomas Joseph Watson – Teesside University

Hardcore Horror in the 21st Century: Film Form, Violent Performance and the ‘Unremitting Sexual and Physical Abuse of a Helpless Woman’

Following Tina Kendall and Tanya Horeck (2011), William Brown argues that extreme cinema includes ‘increasingly explicit representations of sex, violence and sexual violence – such that viewers sometimes ask themselves whether in fact that are seeing a document(ary) rather than a fictional representation thereof. One of the treats of extreme cinema, then, is to blur the boundaries between art, entertainment, documentary, and pornography’ (2013). Without debating the shortcomings of ‘extremity’ as a term (see Jones 2014), such descriptions imply that violent-content is a product of the formal decisions and editorial choices made when making an example of ‘extreme cinema’. Yet, in recent film scholarship, the relationship between violence represented onscreen and its formal construction is left critically underdeveloped or under examined in a sustained way. The principal aim ofthis paper is to critically assess conceptual and theoretical frameworks used in the analysis of violence audio-visual media, moving beyond the conventional foci on aesthetics, media effects, realism and so forth that have dominated scholarship regarding ‘film violence’.

When formal aspects are referred to, they are used as a way of substantiating or developing points about narrative content as opposed to describing the violent amplification of already violent images. Contemporary examples of ‘transgressive’ realist horror cinema provide a useful way of exploring the relationship between image-form and physically violent act (image-content). This is especially pertinent in examples of ‘Hardcore Horror’ (Jones 2013) and the ways in which this subgenre of horror cinema pushes the boundaries of violent representation and how violent realities can be replicated and represented onscreen.

This paper will focus on the UK reception and classification of The Bunny Game (2010), a film which significantly complicates and conflates the boundaries of art, entertainment, pornography, exploitation and documentary authenticity and reality (especially through the use of genuine violence and torture). The BBFC press release for the film constitutes the latter part of my paper’s subtitle.

The Bunny Game is a film that remains largely absent from contemporary scholarship and yet expertly confuses and conflates the distinctions between both real violence and sexual contact as ‘performance’ and aesthetic violence in the contexts of a fictional narrative. Linda Williams discusses similar distinctions when differentiating examples of sadomasochistic pornography. For Williams, there is a distinction between ‘‘real’ violence in the Bazanian sense’ as ‘it appears neither acted nor faked in editing’ and aesthetic violence whereby the ‘hard-core ‘evidence’ of violence remains beneath the surface’ (Williams 1989). The Bunny Game combines these representational modes. The ‘hard-core’ violence is both real and visible.

In this example of Hardcore Horror, aspects of realism and authenticity associated with violent acts of torture and possibly murder hinge on more than what is represented onscreen (and therefore presents a challenge to contemporary regimes of UK censorship). It is the formal elements of this film that augments the representation of ‘extreme’ violence, a wider issue that is critical to our understanding of violence as a generic descriptor.

Thomas Joseph Watson lectures in Media Studies at Teesside University, UK. His research investigates the role of film form in the depiction of violence in contemporary audio-visual media. He has published on pornography, documentary film, and experimental video-art. He is also one of the co-editors of the forthcoming collection Snuff: Real Death and Screen Media.

Speaking as part of ‘Hardcore: Horror to the Extreme’

Owen Weetch – University of Warwick

PG-3D: Stereoscopic Subtlety in Children’s Horror Cinema

The horror genre has often proven a fertile testing ground for the possibilities of stereoscopic cinema. Films such as House of Wax (1953) and The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) in the 1950s and Flesh for Frankenstein (1973), Jaws 3D (1983) and Friday the 13th 3D (1982) in the 1980s utilised 3D technology to startle audiences through the emergence effect, also known as negative parallax. In the latter instances, extremely gory special effects impermissible in the 1950s confronted the spectator directly via the 3D effect, their gruesome nature stereographically accentuated. This emphasis on emergent gore seems to have continued in digital 3D cinema, with films such as My Blood Valentine 3D (2009), Piranha 3D (2010) and Final Destination 5 (2011) all delighting in enumerating the ways in which a body can be dismembered and presented to a more proximate moviegoer.

While gore features heavily in such films, there is also an increasing body of 3D horror films that are targeted at younger audiences. Films such as Monster House (2006), Coraline (2009), The Hole (2009) and ParaNorman (2012) all exploit 3D technology, but largely shy away from negatively parallaxed violence. This paper investigates the stereography of these films, and argues for the resultant subtlety and the expressivity of their manipulations of stereoscopic space. It uses textual analysis to show how these films construct meaning through not only the emergence effect, but also their multiple adjustments of inter-axial distance (the space between the 3D camera’s two lenses) and convergence (the angle of those lenses). In doing so, the paper demonstrates the rich and sophisticated ways in which 3D gives added expressivity to these ‘child-friendly’ films’ narratives of childhood, fantasy and maturity in ways unattempted by their more ‘grown-up’ counterparts.

Owen Weetch is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick. His first monograph, Expressive Spaces in Digital 3D Cinema, is to be published in 2016.

Speaking as part of ‘Little Nasties: Children in Contemporary Horror’

Carl Wilson – Independent Scholar

The Gothic Imagination in Contemporary British Television

In his article ‘Gothic on Television’, Jonathan Rigby examines how, since mid-2012, there has been an increase in the amount, and quality of, horror programming, drawing the conclusion that ‘in the 21st century… TV horror finally came in from the cold.’

2015 brought three gothic-infused British television series screaming out of the darkness and into the light: BBC One’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2015-); ITV’s Jekyll & Hyde (2015); and ITV Encore’s The Frankenstein Chronicles (2015-). Each one of these shows are comparable to the recent paths explored by contemporary US shows such as American Horror Story (2011-) and Penny Dreadful (2014-), but they possess distinctive qualities that separate and distance them from their American counterparts. For example, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell draws heavily from Romantic literary traditions; Jekyll & Hyde casts itself in the mould of a pulp action adventure serial from the 1930s; and The Frankenstein Chronicles is as much as Nordic Noir procedural as it is an existential treatise on the myth of Prometheus in Georgian London.

This paper will examine the use of gothic horror elements in recent British television to assess the current health of Rigby’s conclusion. It will also draw on other contemporary examples of British horror TV, such as The Enfield Haunting (2015); other US shows with gothic influences such as Salem (2014-); and the joint UK/US co-production of Dracula (2013-2014), for industrial and cultural context. This paper will explore what horror has to do to survive in 21st century Britain.

Carl Wilson is an independent scholar and freelance writer from Sheffield, UK. He has written essays and articles on subjects ranging from Armenian cinema through to the X-Men for Directory of World Cinema, World Film Locations and Fan Phenomena book series. He is currently the UK Staff Writer for web magazine PopMatters, specialising in classic British cinema and literary adaptations.

Speaking as part of ‘TerrorVision: Horror on the Small Screen’