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Shocking Representation: Historical Trauma, National Cinema, and the Modern Horror Film

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In this imaginative new work, Adam Lowenstein explores the ways in which a group of groundbreaking horror films engaged the haunting social conflicts left in the wake of World War II, Hiroshima, and the Vietnam War. Lowenstein centers Shocking Representation around readings of films by Georges Franju, Michael Powell, Shindo Kaneto, Wes Craven, and David Cronenberg. He show In this imaginative new work, Adam Lowenstein explores the ways in which a group of groundbreaking horror films engaged the haunting social conflicts left in the wake of World War II, Hiroshima, and the Vietnam War. Lowenstein centers Shocking Representation around readings of films by Georges Franju, Michael Powell, Shindo Kaneto, Wes Craven, and David Cronenberg. He shows that through allegorical representations these directors' films confronted and challenged comforting historical narratives and notions of national identity intended to soothe public anxieties in the aftermath of national traumas. Borrowing elements from art cinema and the horror genre, these directors disrupted the boundaries between high and low cinema. Lowenstein contrasts their works, often dismissed by contemporary critics, with the films of acclaimed "New Wave" directors in France, England, Japan, and the United States. He argues that these "New Wave" films, which were embraced as both art and national cinema, often upheld conventional ideas of nation, history, gender, and class questioned by the horror films. By fusing film studies with the emerging field of trauma studies, and drawing on the work of Walter Benjamin, Adam Lowenstein offers a bold reassessment of the modern horror film and the idea of national cinema.


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In this imaginative new work, Adam Lowenstein explores the ways in which a group of groundbreaking horror films engaged the haunting social conflicts left in the wake of World War II, Hiroshima, and the Vietnam War. Lowenstein centers Shocking Representation around readings of films by Georges Franju, Michael Powell, Shindo Kaneto, Wes Craven, and David Cronenberg. He show In this imaginative new work, Adam Lowenstein explores the ways in which a group of groundbreaking horror films engaged the haunting social conflicts left in the wake of World War II, Hiroshima, and the Vietnam War. Lowenstein centers Shocking Representation around readings of films by Georges Franju, Michael Powell, Shindo Kaneto, Wes Craven, and David Cronenberg. He shows that through allegorical representations these directors' films confronted and challenged comforting historical narratives and notions of national identity intended to soothe public anxieties in the aftermath of national traumas. Borrowing elements from art cinema and the horror genre, these directors disrupted the boundaries between high and low cinema. Lowenstein contrasts their works, often dismissed by contemporary critics, with the films of acclaimed "New Wave" directors in France, England, Japan, and the United States. He argues that these "New Wave" films, which were embraced as both art and national cinema, often upheld conventional ideas of nation, history, gender, and class questioned by the horror films. By fusing film studies with the emerging field of trauma studies, and drawing on the work of Walter Benjamin, Adam Lowenstein offers a bold reassessment of the modern horror film and the idea of national cinema.

49 review for Shocking Representation: Historical Trauma, National Cinema, and the Modern Horror Film

  1. 4 out of 5

    Zane

    Book of cultural studies essays on horror film. Most of the chapters are on non-US horror, but there is a chapter on 'Last House on the Left' that presents the film in relation to the Kent State shooting, Viet Nam, the decline of 60's counter-culture, and news coverage of the war for the middle class. Great essay for any horror fan looking for an in depth explanation of this film. I hadn't seen the other films it addresses, so those were less interesting to me. Book of cultural studies essays on horror film. Most of the chapters are on non-US horror, but there is a chapter on 'Last House on the Left' that presents the film in relation to the Kent State shooting, Viet Nam, the decline of 60's counter-culture, and news coverage of the war for the middle class. Great essay for any horror fan looking for an in depth explanation of this film. I hadn't seen the other films it addresses, so those were less interesting to me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jonas

    Great chapters on Peeping Tom, The Last House on the Left, and Shivers. Two neat things I learned: 1) Kent State destroyed the new left movement in 1970 and 2) Last House on the Left may be referring to the political left. I also learned a new word: jetztzeit, a German word for the moment when past and present illuminate each other.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Shocking Representation: Historical Trauma, National Cinema, and the Modern Horror Film (Film and Culture Series) by Adam Lowenstein (2005)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Lowenstein does make a lot of interesting ties between horror as a genre (past and present) and horror as a reality. The book isn't for everyone, but it is a worthwhile read. Lowenstein does make a lot of interesting ties between horror as a genre (past and present) and horror as a reality. The book isn't for everyone, but it is a worthwhile read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paul Agusta

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jessika Griffin

  7. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Bryant Park Reading Room Series

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Richards

  9. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Belling

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jack Sargeant

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Peak

  13. 5 out of 5

    Angus Macdonald

  14. 4 out of 5

    Adriana Scarpin

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brynja Hjálmsdóttir

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pops Baron

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hildur Björk Jónsdóttir

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dafna Kaufman

  20. 4 out of 5

    Harpa Rún

  21. 4 out of 5

    Inkster

  22. 4 out of 5

    IreneTzemo

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katiana

  24. 5 out of 5

    Paul Corupe

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Critten

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jennie-Marie

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan Bin

  28. 4 out of 5

    Törő László

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mae

  30. 4 out of 5

    Josh Ralske

  31. 4 out of 5

    Amir Ezati

  32. 5 out of 5

    SP

  33. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Barb

  34. 5 out of 5

    Tina

  35. 4 out of 5

    Chad

  36. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

  37. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  38. 5 out of 5

    Allison

  39. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Force

  40. 4 out of 5

    Noname

  41. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Liebman

  42. 5 out of 5

    Erica

  43. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  44. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

  45. 5 out of 5

    Cleve

  46. 4 out of 5

    Col Kennedy

  47. 5 out of 5

    Conal Cochran

  48. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  49. 4 out of 5

    Ash Marshall

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