Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Tuesday, 21 September 2010 16:20

Cinephilia series: Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue

Cinephilia series: Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

Webster University's Cinephilia series continues with Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film. In it, writer/director Andrew Monument traces the changes exhibited in the horror genre over the course of cinematic history.

Beginning in 1910 with the commercial failure of Edison's adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein,Monument proceeds decade by decade. He identifies the major horror film characteristics, relating them to social and psychological fears and anxieties. Based on Joseph Maddrey's book, the advantage of the documentary is the liberal inclusion of very brief clips to illustrate the works.

Director Monument intercuts snippets from interviews with renowned horror films directors, including George A. Romero, Larry Cotton, Roger Corman, and John Carpenter. He also sandwiches in comments from film historians. For example, the fear of the nuclear bomb and what science has wrought gets displaced into the science fiction/horror films of the 50s expressing that fear through monstrous creatures created by radiation. Similarly, the Vietnam era films focused on the horrors of real life. But Hitchcock's landmark contributions receive credit, as do other noteworthy, even iconic works like the Freddy Krueger series.

Often provocative questions are explored with insights worth thinking about further: Why do American viewers remain so obsessed with violence? Do horror films really help us cope with our fear of death? Did more monsters with various mutilations appear after World War I than at other times? And some categorizing helps organize the clutter of this popular genre that, just between 2003 and 2008, produced 135 theatrical titles worth almost $3 billion at the box office. For example, a distinction is made between the external monster and the internal monstrous, and how much easier it is to talk about the horror of the other as opposed to that harbored within.

However, the too cute and self-conscious strobe effect used to change shots and to superimpose names and titles gave me a headache, and the interpretation does sometimes remains quite superficial, assuming a rather naïve audience satisfied with the obvious. Some of this comes from the ambitious undertaking. Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film covers a lot of ground in 96 minutes, so it can't always deliver substantive analysis. Nevertheless, it presents a good first step in giving horror films their due as a mirror held up to social dimensions we may not always want to acknowledge.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

KDHX Recommends

May
Thursday
28

KDHX Discovery Series: Soul-Jazz and its Resurgence with Andy Coco

This multimedia session led by KDHX DJ Andy Coco of The Rhythm Section, explores the invention of the soul-jazz genre, its influence, and its contemporary resurgence. With live music from The Provels.   The Discovery...


May
Saturday
30

Brunch at the Stage: The Ozark Highballers

KDHX is now curating a Saturday brunch series at the Stage with live music from local musicians and delicious, locally-sourced food and drinks from the Magnolia Café. Brunch at the Stage takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m....


May
Saturday
30

Official Pride St. Louis Kick Off Party

Please be our guest for this event at the only Official Pride St Louis Kick Off Party. Enjoy a complimentary bar featuring Pinnacle Vodka, Cruzan Rum, Sauza Tequlia, Jagermeister and Jagermeister Spice, Red Bull, select beers from...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Upcoming Events HAPPENING

Online Users

2 users and 11242 guests online
Sign essay writing service in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook