Volume 10, Issue 10 / October 2006

Scanning the Horror Genre

In this issue

Recent years have seen a rebirth in the horror genre, at least where quantity is concerned, with studios churning out their latest remake, sequel or prequel faster than you can say ‘ka-ching.’ The remake and sequel have been a mainstay of the horror genre since its inception in the 1930s, but it just seems like there are more and more of them now. Studios seem to have so depleted their backlog of ‘classics’ that Lux Digital Pictures and Horrorworks have just remade a film which had already been remade in 1990, Night of the Living Dead, adding the novelty of 3-D to the mix (to my pleasant surprise, Night of the Living Dead 3-D, directed by Jeff Broadstreet is much better than it has any right to be). In this all-horror issue Offscreen turns its critical gaze to a genre which is often critically maligned but always supported by a legion of devout fans. Not that the devout fan is averse to showing their disdain when the occasion calls for it, but the intelligent horror fan does so with an informed historical understanding of the genre. The five featured texts look at the past and present, while casting a tentative glance at what the future may hold for the horror genre. Up first is Donato Totaro’s review of two independently made recent documentaries which complement each other with their respective discourses on the slasher/stalker film. David Church follows with two essays, the first a critical summation of generic trends in the horror genre of the last fifteen years; the second a meticulously researched essay on how the field of disability studies, in continuously neglecting the representation of the disabled across the broad spectrum of fantastic cinema, overlooks potentially positive readings. First time Offscreen writer James Rose follows with a close textual reading of the representation of the modern male in Alexandre Aja’s The Hills Have Eyes. Concluding the issue is an in-depth interview with director/writer Sheldon Wilson and select cast and production crew of the refreshingly serious and macabre indie horror film, Shallow Ground.

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