Rational Fears

Rational Fears : American Horror Genre in the 1950s

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This re-assessment of 1950s American horror films relates them to the cultural debates of the period and to other examples of the horror genre: novels and comics. Through close analysis of a wide range of films such as "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" and "Creature of the Black Lagoon" Mark Jancovich argues that horror films of the 1950s developed a critique of conservatism, conformity, mass society and masculinity. In addition, he claims that while many critics have seen contemporary horror as the product of a "break" with that of the 1950s, most of the key elements within recent horror films and novels were actually established during this time.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 139.7 x 215.9 x 33.02mm | 521.63g
  • Manchester, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9 illustrations, bibliography
  • 0719036232
  • 9780719036231

Table of contents

Part 1 Creatures from beyond - rationalization and resistance in the 1950s invasion narratives: alien forms - horror and science fiction in the 1950s; the end of civilization as we know it? - from mass destruction to depersonalization. Part 2 The outsider narratives: fantasies of mass culture - the fiction of Ray Bradbury; the dilemmas of masculinity - the fiction of Richard Matheson; the critique of maturity - the films of Jack Arnold; teenagers and the independents - AIP and its rivals. Part 3 Resituating "Psycho" - paranoid horror and the crisis of identity at the end of the decade: self-division, compulsion and murder - the fiction of Robert Bloch; the crisis of identity and the American Gothic revival - from "Forbidden Planet" to the films of Roger Corman; mothers and children - maternal dominance and childhood trauma in "The Haunting of Hill House" and Hitchcock's "Psycho"; conclusion.
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