Fear 2000: 21st Century Horror is an international conference being held at Sheffield Hallam University on 1-2 April 2016, focused on horror cinema in the 21st century.
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.
This conference 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.