Merchants of Menace

Merchants of Menace : The Business of Horror Cinema

4.67 (6 ratings by Goodreads)

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Even though horror has been a key component of media output for almost a century, the genre's industrial character remains under explored and poorly understood. Merchants of Menace: The Business of Horror Cinema responds to a major void in film history by shedding much-needed new light on the economic dimensions of one of the world's most enduring audiovisual forms. Given horror cuts across budgetary categories, industry sectors, national film cultures, and media, Merchants of Menace also promises to expand understandings of the economics of cinema generally. Covering 1930-present, this groundbreaking collection boasts fourteen original chapters from world-leading experts taking as their focus such diverse topics as early zombie pictures, post-WWII chillers, Civil Rights-Era marketing, Hollywood literary adaptations, Australian exploitation, "torture-porn" Auteurs, and twenty-first-century remakes.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 280 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 20.32mm | 381g
  • Bloomsbury Academic USA
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 20 bw illus
  • 1623564204
  • 9781623564209
  • 1,454,045

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
There's Gold in them there Chills
Richard Nowell
Section One
Production Lines, Trends, and Cycles
Chapter One
'House of Horrors': Corporate Strategy at Universal Pictures in the 1930s/Kyle Edwards
Chapter Two
The Undead of Hollywood and Poverty Row: The Influence of Studio-Era Industrial Patterns on Zombie Film Production, 1932-46/Todd K. Platts
Chapter Three
By the Book: American Horror Cinema and Horror Literature of the late 1960s and 1970s/ Peter Hutchings
Chapter Four
Risen From the Vaults: Recent Horror Film Remakes and the American Film Industry/Kevin Heffernan
Chapter Five
Monster Factory: International Dynamics of the Australian Horror Movie Industry /Mark David Ryan
Section Two
Film Content, Style, and Themes
Chapter Six
'Bad Medicine': The Psychiatric Profession's Interventions into the Business of Postwar Horror/Tim Snelson
Chapter Seven
Horror Film Atmosphere as Anti-Narrative (and Vice Versa)/Robert Spadoni
Chapter Eight
'A Kind of Bacall Quality': Jamie Lee Curtis, Stardom, and Gentrifying Non-Hollywood Horror/Richard Nowell
Chapter Nine
'New Decade, New Rules': Rebooting the Scream Franchise in the Digital Age/Valerie Wee
Section Three
Movie Marketing, Branding, and Distribution
Chapter Ten
'Hot Profits Out of Cold Shivers!': Horror, the First Run Market, and the Hollywood Studios, 1938-42/Mark Jancovich
Chapter Eleven
Strange Enjoyments: The Marketing and Reception of Horror in the Civil Rights Era Black Press/Mikal J. Gaines
Chapter Twelve
Bids for Distinction: The Critical-Industrial Function of the Horror Auteur/Joe Tompkins
Chapter Thirteen
Low Budgets, No Budgets, and Digital-Video Nasties: Recent British Horror and Informal Distribution/Johnny Walker
Chapter Fourteen
Hammer 2.0: Legacy, Modernization, and Hammer Horror as a Heritage Brand / Matt Hills
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Review quote

Unearthing the industrial logics of the horror genre, Merchants of Menace provides lively case studies that expose the tactics of their production as well as unusual quirks in the process. These studies will reanimate and refashion our histories of the genre and the standard maxims about horror-film fabrication, cultural tastes, the films' heroines and heroes, and the audiences for these movies. An outstanding collection! * Janet Staiger, Professor Emeritus of Communication, University of Texas at Austin, USA * A major advance in our understanding of the industrial underpinnings of horror cinema and of commercial filmmaking generally. * Robert E. Kapsis, Professor of Sociology and Film Studies, Queens College (CUNY), USA, and author of Hitchcock: The Making of a Reputation * As the first collection to explore the economics of horror movies from Dracula to Scre4m, Merchants of Menace offers a new and illuminating perspective on the history of the genre. Challenging the conventional accounts of horror movies as symptoms of cultural unease, the spectator's unconscious or renegade politics, its contributors examine the commercial strategies that have shaped their production and marketing of fear for entertainment, and the audiences who have consumed horror for recreation. * Richard Maltby, Flinders University, Australia, and author of Hollywood Cinema * Taking us through a century of Anglo-American horror production, Merchants of Menace illustrates how production strategies, target markets, product differentiation and brand identities have all impacted on the themes and preoccupations of this most vital and persistent of popular film genres. Packed with insightful historical research and analysis from some of the most influential scholars in contemporary horror film studies, this book highlights the importance of attending to the industrial and commercial factors that have shaped trends within the horror film from the height of the Hollywood studio system to the digital age. Shedding new light on the studios, production companies, star names, auteur directors, and canonical-and previously under-explored-films that characterise horror film history, Merchants of Menace asks us to look at the history of horror cinema-and the vicissitudes of horror production and distribution-from new and vital perspectives. Essential reading for horror film scholars and fans alike. -- Kate Egan, Lecturer in Film Studies, Aberystwyth University, UK
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About Dr. Richard Nowell

Richard Nowell teaches American Cinema at the American Studies Department of Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. He is the author of Blood Money: A History of the First Teen Slasher Film Cycle (2011), he has served as a guest editor of the journal Iluminace, and he has published articles in several journals including the New Review of Film & Television Studies, Post Script, the Journal of Film and Video, InMedia, and Cinema Journal.
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