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Carol J. Clover is the Class of 1936 Professor Emerita in the departments of rhetoric, film, and Scandinavian at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Medieval Saga.
Crèdit de la imatge: University of California, Berkeley

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Interesting read, would be interested to read what the author thinks about horror genre developments in the decades since publication. I'm personally not big on the psycho-sexual analysis approach, however, psychology and/or film studies are not my academic background (PoliSci /LIS is) so that probably contributes to my ambivalence.
 
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cactuscat | Hi ha 9 ressenyes més | Mar 1, 2024 |
Surprisingly, I enjoyed this trip back to my days of Freudian analysis and academic texts on gender. Interesting perspectives and largely holds up.
 
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suzannekmoses | Hi ha 9 ressenyes més | May 20, 2022 |
I just finished this book which takes a look at how gender is identified, viewed, and presented within horror films. As the book was published in 1992, the analysis is heavily rooted in films from the 70s and 80s and has some problematic points about trans identities. There is also an incredible amount of Freudian theory consulted, and DON'T GET ME STARTED. But, that aside, I really enjoyed the analysis.

The most white bread, basic analysis of the horror genre equates sex and violence or sex and death. We, the viewer, see an often scantily clad, beautiful woman, lust after her, and then without warning see violence done to her person. The idea being that the sudden shift from lust to violence and gore creates a deep uneasiness in oneself, and can oftentimes blur the line between the two.

This book dives deeper into the views and meanings of both genders in horror film, focusing mostly on how a male audience identifies with the characters on screen. More often than not, a male audience is identifying with the female victim on screen, not the (usually) male killer, which queers his gender identity for the duration of the film. This leads into the idea of "female masochism" which is NOT the masochistic tendency of women, but the desire by men to identify with the sadistic tortures being portrayed on the body of the female characters. Over and over again, male audiences return to revel in how it must feel to have a female body and be violated in all kinds of ways. In some films, the male characters become "feminized" by having their bodies torn to have holes or gashes (see: Videodrome) therefore literally becoming a female before our very eyes.

There is also a large discussion about the femininity and sexual repression of male killers - often having mommy issues or having sexual and/or physical abuse in their past, resulting in a very androdgynized persona that ends up either being oversexualized (Peeping Tom) or devoid of sexuality completely.

I would have loved to see an alternate discussion of how female horror film audiences can and do identify with male killers, therefore flipping the script on their gender identity as well, but alas this book ends up being very male gaze-centric.

The takeaway is something that us gay horror nerds have always known: HORROR IS GAY
… (més)
 
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sublunarie | Hi ha 9 ressenyes més | May 23, 2020 |
Listen, I love film criticism and theory.

Now, by film criticism, I don't mean film critics, because I don't think they really understand or appreciate film in the proper way. No, by "film criticism," I mean deeply researched critical theory like this book.

Carol Clover has been taking a deep look at horror movies for years, and what she's come up with is a fascinating study of the gender representation within that genre. I don't mean to say the basic gender breakdown between killer/monster and victim, but the overarching masculine vs. feminine within each character represented.

What Clover's exhaustive research into both the horror genre and psychoanalytic theory has found, as it relates specifically to the Slasher film, the Possession film, and the Rape-Revenge film, is that the masculine and the feminine in horror is surprisingly interchangeable.

Starting with the slasher film and a deep discussion of the Final Girl, Clover points out that many of the slasher killers are coded as feminine (not female, although that does happen on rare occasion, but feminine) through the psychology of the killer, while the Final Girl herself is coded masculine (male sounding name, tomboyish, "not like other girls," etc.). From there Clover looks to both the possession film (identifying the supernatural as feminine and "open," forcing any male involved to accept the feminine into their lives in order to win) and the rape-revenge film (where, if the victim is male, he is already put in the feminine role as the victim and must reclaim the masculine through the act of revenge, while the female must move towards the masculine and become the vicious killer to enact her revenge) to further the point that male and female don't matter as much in horror as the accepted definitions of masculine and feminine attributes, which Clover suggests are easily altered. Finally, Clover discusses the use of the open eye in horror, both to investigate the gaze of victim and killer as well as showing that the eye works as an opening (both to the world of horror before us and the victim).

While it does trend heavily on the Freud, mainly because the psychoanalysis Clover is citing does, she is also very critical of Freud and those who don't look beyond his idea of masculine and feminine. This book sits comfortably within both horror studies and gender studies.

Clover is also very critical of the... ahem... critical reception to low budget horror, while higher budget productions seem to be doted upon while sharing the same general plots (specifically, in the chapter on the rape-revenge film, Clover is clearly annoyed by the general dislike over I Spit on Your Grave, while Deliverance is almost entirely well-received while sharing almost the exact same plot outline. The main difference? The victim and the brutality of the revenge; which, if you've seen the film, is clearly well deserved).

This book is a fascinating look at the cross-gender appeal of horror, how the killer/victim relationship is coded, and the general treatment of the male and the female within the genre. More than likely, it will give you a whole new appreciation of horror films.
… (més)
 
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regularguy5mb | Hi ha 9 ressenyes més | Oct 24, 2018 |

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