Merchants of Menace: The Business of Horror Cinema.pdf
Unearthing the industrial logics of the horror genre, Merchants of Menace provides lively case studies that expose the tactics of their production as well as unusual quirks in the process. These studies will reanimate and refashion our histories of the genre and the standard maxims about horror-film fabrication, cultural tastes, the films' heroines and heroes, and the audiences for these movies. An outstanding collection! Janet Staiger, William P. Hobby Centennial Professor Emeritus of Communication, University of Texas at Austin, USA A major advance in our understanding of the industrial underpinnings of horror cinema and of commercial filmmaking generally. Robert E. Kapsis, Professor of Sociology and Film Studies, Queens College (CUNY), USA, and author of Hitchcock: The Making of a Reputation
Richard Nowell teaches American Cinema at the American Studies Department of Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. He is the author of Blood Money: A History of the First Teen Slasher Film Cycle (2011), he has served as a guest editor of the journal Iluminace, and he has published articles in several journals including the New Review of Film & Television Studies, Post Script, the Journal of Film and Video, InMedia, and Cinema Journal.
Table of Contents List of Illustrations Acknowledgements Contributors Introduction There's Gold in them there Chills Richard Nowell Section One Production Lines, Trends, and Cycles Chapter One 'House of Horrors': Corporate Strategy at Universal Pictures in the 1930s/Kyle Edwards Chapter Two The Undead of Hollywood and Poverty Row: The Influence of Studio-Era Industrial Patterns on Zombie Film Production, 1932-46/Todd K. Platts Chapter Three By the Book: American Horror Cinema and Horror Literature of the late 1960s and 1970s/ Peter Hutchings Chapter Four Risen From the Vaults: Recent Horror Film Remakes and the American Film Industry/Kevin Heffernan Chapter Five Monster Factory: International Dynamics of the Australian Horror Movie Industry /Mark David Ryan Section Two Film Content, Style, and Themes Chapter Six 'Bad Medicine': The Psychiatric Profession's Interventions into the Business of Postwar Horror/Tim Snelson Chapter Seven Horror Film Atmosphere as Anti-Narrative (and Vice Versa)/Robert Spadoni Chapter Eight 'A Kind of Bacall Quality': Jamie Lee Curtis, Stardom, and Gentrifying Non-Hollywood Horror/Richard Nowell Chapter Nine 'New Decade, New Rules': Rebooting the Scream Franchise in the Digital Age/Valerie Wee Section Three Movie Marketing, Branding, and Distribution Chapter Ten 'Hot Profits Out of Cold Shivers!': Horror, the First Run Market, and the Hollywood Studios, 1938-42/Mark Jancovich Chapter Eleven Strange Enjoyments: The Marketing and Reception of Horror in the Civil Rights Era Black Press/Mikal J. Gaines Chapter Twelve Bids for Distinction: The Critical-Industrial Function of the Horror Auteur/Joe Tompkins Chapter Thirteen Low Budgets, No Budgets, and Digital-Video Nasties: Recent British Horror and Informal Distribution/Johnny Walker Chapter Fourteen Hammer 2.0: Legacy, Modernization, and Hammer Horror as a Heritage Brand / Matt Hills Index
Anglophone horror films are typically approached as the inevitable by-products of psychological and social demons haunting filmmakers and their homelands - in short, as if they were 'our collective nightmares'. These 'reflectionist' approaches have led horror films routinely and reductively to be framed as mouthpieces for misogynistic sadists lurking in the shadows of the exploitation sector, as defiant expressions of resistance enacted by noble progressives, or as platforms for the politically reactionary evils of the biggest, scariest monster of all: Hollywood. The industry logic, strategies, and practices that heavily determine horror film content, the nature of horror film production, promotion, and dissemination, as well as the responses to these activities, have therefore been either side-stepped completely or reduced unhelpfully to the profit-making motives underwriting all capitalist endeavours. Consequently, even though horror has been a key component of media output for almost a century, the genre's industrial character remains under explored and poorly understood. Merchants of Menace: The Business of Horror Cinema responds to a major void in film history by shedding much-needed new light on the economic dimensions of one of the world's most enduring audiovisual forms. Given horror cuts across budgetary categories, industry sectors, national film cultures, and media, Merchants of Menace also promises to expand understandings of the economics of cinema generally. Covering 1930-present, this groundbreaking collection boasts fourteen original chapters from world-leading experts taking as their focus such diverse topics as early zombie pictures, post-WWII chillers, Civil Rights-Era marketing, Hollywood literary adaptations, Australian exploitation, "torture-porn" Auteurs, and twenty-first-century remakes.