[Paleopsych] CHE: Horror International

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'Horror International'
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 5.10.28


    Fear is global in horror movies. Yet film scholars focused mainly on
    American horror until fairly recently, say Steven Jay Schneider and
    Tony Williams.

    Taking those attempts further, Mr. Schneider, a Ph.D. candidate at New
    York University, and Mr. Williams, a professor at Southern Illinois
    University at Carbondale, present Horror International (Wayne State
    University Press). As editors, they join 19 other film scholars
    analyzing movies from Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic,
    Egypt, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the
    Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Scandinavia, Spain, and

    Raiford Guins opens by considering how cross-cultural perceptions of
    films by the Italian gore masters Dario Argento and Mario Bava have
    been affected by changes in technology. Their films achieved new
    popularity in the United States on videotapes but in a badly mangled
    format, chopped up and clumsily dubbed. Today aficionados can buy DVDs
    of remastered prints with subtitles and restored scenes. But when gore
    goes upmarket, does it lose some schlock value prized by cultists?

    Later, in a section on localized horror, Adam Knee considers how
    recent movies made in Thailand have resurrected haunts from folk
    culture, including the pii bporp, a "malevolent liver-consuming
    spirit" and the pii dtai tang krom, "the ghost of a woman who has died
    in childbirth." Also in the Pacific, Ian Conrich describes how a "Kiwi
    Gothic" unsettles New Zealand's "pastoral paradise."

    Exploring horror in the social realm, Suzie Young visits another
    nation often known for niceness. She considers how depictions of
    schoolgirls in Canadian horror reflect a "legitimation crisis" in a
    country where "ennui and anxiety are as persistent as the northern
    blackfly in the summer woods." While with Romanians, the world's
    cultural association of their country with vampires has not always
    been welcome, notes Christina Stojanova. During the Ceausescu
    dictatorship, state studios produced a biopic of the medieval ruler
    Vlad Tepes, known in the West as inspiration for Dracula, but at home
    as a hero. But after Ceausescu met his own violent end, films such as
    Every Day God Kisses Us on the Mouth have uncovered more of "the
    archaic core of Romanian culture, intact under the layers of rubble.
    ... "

    Interestingly, some countries' prolific film industries have almost no
    horror. In Viola Shafik's essay on Egypt, she considers why, out of
    more than 2,500 full-length features produced, she can identify only
    three as unequivocally in the genre. And in at least one, she quips,
    the monsters "do not behave all that badly."

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