body horror

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body horror
body horror
Whether by knife or whether by gun, losing your life can sometimes be fun.”
~ Paul, Funny Games (2007)
body horror
!  Slasher films of the 70’s pave the way for a number of
classic horror films in the 1980’s, which continue the
popular trend of violence, brutality, and gore.
The cenobites in Hellraiser (1987)
Flesh-eating zombies in Day of the Dead (1985)
!  New technologies in visual effects also allow for a more
realistic depiction of cinematic violence, giving filmmakers
the freedom to push the envelope of mutilation against the
human body.
body horror
!  Body genre films carry-out the task of evoking an effect on the
body of the spectator.
!  Linda Williams identifies three gross genres:
Horror
Melodrama
Pornography
(graphic violence)
(intense emotion)
(Explicit sex)
Agnes Browne (1999)
Debbie Does Dallas (1978)
I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
!  Gross films represent the excesses we wish to exclude from
decent or moral society.
!  These films place a heavy importance on displays of excessive
amounts of emotion, sex, and violence.
body horror
!  What also marks the gross genres as low is the perception
that the body of the spectator is caught up in an involuntary
mimicry of the emotion or sensation of the body on screen.
!  In film studies, mimicry relates to the involuntary
perceptual registering and reflexive simulation of the
emotion of another person via facial and bodily cues.
Melodrama
Pornography
(intense emotion)
(Explicit sex)
Horror
(graphic violence)
Agnes Browne (1999)
Debbie Does Dallas (1978)
I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
body horror
!  The pertinent feature of bodily excess shared by the gross genres is
the spectacle of a body caught in the grip of intense sensation or
emotion (ecstasy).
Weeping in Melodrama
Orgasm in Pornography
Violence in Horror
Written on the Wind (1956)
Deep Throat (1972)
Re-Animator (1985)
!  Visually each of these three excesses share a quality of the body
beside itself with overpowering sadness, sexual pleasure, or fear.
!  Aurally excess is marked by inarticulate sobs of anguish in
melodrama, cries of pleasure in porn, and screams of fear in horror.
body horror
!  Gross films offer the image of the female or feminine body in the
grips of an out-of-control ecstasy.
!  In each of the gross genres, the bodies of women function as
the primary embodiments of pleasure, fear, and pain.
Lucy in Written on
the Wind (1956)
Linda Lovelace in
Deep Throat (1972)
Megan in
Re-Animator (1985)
!  Each of the body genres are centered on the spectacle of an
emotionally hysterical, a sexualized, or a violently victimized
female body.
body horror
Dead Alive
Directed by
Stuart Gordon
Written by
Dennis Paoli,
William Norris,
& Stuart Gordon
Empire Pictures
(1985) 86 mins.
Directed by
Peter Jackson
Written by
Stephen Sinclair
WingNut Films
(1992) 85 mins.