GHOSTS IN THE (VCR) MACHINE: VIDEO, THE HORROR GENRE, AND DEAD MEDIA
June 8 / 14:00 CEST
Presentation by Dr Shellie McMurdo and Dr Laura Mee
The horror genre and video culture have long been intertwined. In contemporary horror media however, video is utilised in various ways: as an object of nostalgia to be collected, as a reverent nod to the genre’s past, to foreground a gritty analogue aesthetic, or to engage with the horror of repetition, recycling, and recording – areas which are ever more relevant in our hypermediated world. This talk will explore how video is used as an object of terror in recent horror films, and how video aesthetics enhance the horrifying elements of genre texts, for example through the use of glitches, static or other forms of analogue decay. Through analysis of a range of case studies including Videomannen (Kristian A. Söderström, 2018), Beyond the Gates (Jackson Stewart, 2016), Ring (Hideo Nakata, 1998) and V/H/S (David Bruckner et al, 2012), we will show how contemporary horror remains attached to a spectral past full of fading memories of VHS rental stores and 1980s horror, while underlining the malevolent possibilities of dead media in our digital world.
Dr Shellie McMurdo is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Roehampton. She is the author of Blood on the Lens: North American Found Footage Horror Cinema and Cultural Trauma (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming) and Pet Sematary for the Devil’s Advocate series (Liverpool University Press). She has previously published on American Horror Story and serial killer fandoms, post-peak torture horror, and has a forthcoming chapter on Blumhouse Productions. Shellie is a co-convenor for the BAFTSS Horror Studies subject interest group, and her research interests are contemporary American horror cinema, dead media, and cultural trauma.
Dr Laura Mee is a Senior Lecturer in Film and Television at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, where she also leads the Media Research Group in the School of Creative Arts. She is co-convenor of the BAFTSS Horror Studies SIG. Her research focuses on horror cinema, adaptation, and seriality. She is the author of Reanimated: The Contemporary American Horror Film Remake (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming) and Devil’s Advocates: The Shining (Auteur, 2017), and has published on rape-revenge remakes, the critical reception of horror remakes, Room 237 and cinephilia, and American Psycho and gender.