American Nightmare: Essays on the Horror Film

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The soldiers are ceaselessly vile — swearing, abusive, machoistic, masochistic, and racist. Their solution to the zombie plague is to cling to their phallic weaponry. Thus, Wood saw them as fascists who deal with defeat by blindly continuing their destructive fight.

Or, to put it in twenty-first century terms, they are the neo-cons and the Sarah Palin voters. Society cannot be revived.

Of Monstrous Masses and Hybrid Heroes: Del Toro’s English-Language Films | SpringerLink

It is utterly beyond recuperation, and the only viable option is the radical one: to fly away, start fresh, and teach future generations better. Wood argues that if there is any hope for our society, we too must follow this path and begin to think outside the restrictive capitalist box. Very few Hollywood films indeed articulate such radicalism. The breadth of his writings covers much more ground than this small handful of films may suggest.

Nonetheless, these examples demonstrate that film criticism is indeed serious business and that the cinema should, like all cultural products, be carefully evaluated so that anything worth retaining is neither lost nor forgotten but is instead embraced and utilized.

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If anything, they grew stronger, and in his final years, he wrote of the need to reenergize the leftist politics of film criticism. And on we go to the ending of all life on our planet. The time for socialist revolution is now, not when it is too late. Tell your neighbours.


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Just days before his passing, Wood, lying upon his death bed, dictated to a friend his final top ten film list. Indeed, if ever there was a film that encapsulated all the issues Wood held dear, Rio Bravo is it. Unlike many other John Wayne westerns, Rio Bravo is not a simpleminded salute to the solitary male hero. Rather, it is a joyful celebration of the communal underdog. It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that Wood saw this film as a cinematic blueprint for how to live life.

Rio Bravo is a splendid celebration of a common humanity. One need only be willing to watch and discern. While Wood was neither the first nor the only writer to extend such ideas to the medium of film, he did so with a style and strength, an honesty and intellectual integrity that were uniquely his own.

We can learn a lot from Robin Wood, both those of us who are involved with film studies and those of us who are not. As the struggle against oppression continues on every front, his radical voice will be dearly missed. Last accessed June 2, Gregory A. While these scholars argued that horror taps into positive emotions that are otherwise repressed, other psychoanalytic theories saw horror in the opposite light: as a safe and cathartic way to deal with darker feelings. But not all theories of horror have been psychoanalytic, trading on notions of repression and release.

The defining characteristic of the monster, Mr. The horror is rooted in the unknown, but this strangeness also sparks curiosity and fascination.

Robin Wood on the Horror Film

Horror plots are often constructed to emphasize the mystery of the nature of the monster. One virtue of Mr. View all New York Times newsletters. For him, meticulous camerawork, pacing and artful splatter are a kind of carefully staged showmanship that the audience appreciates as pure performance. Lowenstein writes.

What are we to make of all these theories? Now that horror is a standard feature of the mainstream cultural menu, the genre has increasingly become like any other where craft and beauty are drawing cards. But what will always distinguish horror is its unique capacity to make us tremble. To be sure, the psychoanalytic approach, drawing as it does on feelings and impulses born early in childhood, captures something important; adults forget just how terrifying being a small child can be.

When the woman looks. Her body Himself Gender in the Slasher Film.

Robin Wood on the Horror Film: Collected Essays and Reviews

The Monster and the Homosexual. The Problem of British Horror. Learning to Scream. Production and Reproduction The case of Frankenstein.

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