Wednesday, 25 August 2021

New Publication: Evil Seeds - The Ultimate Movie Guide to Villainous Children

The collection Evil Seeds - The Ultimate Movie Guide to Villainous Children (edited by Vanessa Morgan) is out now

I contributed sections on Plac Zabaw/Playground (2016) and Ils/Them (2006)... 

...although I wrote them before becoming a father (not as a reaction to my daughter's arrival) 😂

Slasher Studies Conference Keynote and Roundtable

 I recently had the pleasure of delivering a Keynote talk about my current book project - The Metamodern Slasher Film - at the Slasher Studies Summer Camp conference (on Friday the 13th August, no less!)

Here is a recording of the keynote:

I also participated in a roundtable discussion about Slasher Studies alongside Wickham Clayton, Joan Hawkins and Murray Leeder. Here is a link to that discussion:

My thanks to the organisers - Wickham Clayton and Daniel Sheppard  - for inviting me to contribute to this event

Thursday, 10 June 2021

The Metamodern Slasher Film [video]

My talk on the Metamodern Slasher for Kurja Polt Festival is now live:
The paper is based on my forthcoming book about the Metamodern Slasher film

The virtual other talks are available here: 
Dr Shellie Mcmurdo and Dr Laura Mee - "Ghosts in the (VCR) Machine: Video, the Horror Genre, and Dead Media"

Dr Alexia Kannas - "The Dead Can Dance: Cinematic Ghosts of Post-Punk Melbourne"

The final paper will be available tomorrow:
Dr Johnny Walker - "Activist Horror Film: The Genre as Tool for Change"

Monday, 17 May 2021

Keynote Talk: The Metamodern Slasher

On Friday 13th august, I'll be delivering a keynote talk (alongside Prof Vera Dika) at the Slasher Studies Summer Camp conference

Here is my abstract:

It is commonly proposed that since the mid-00s, the slasher has predominantly followed a trend for remaking and rebooting established properties. While there certainly have been many remakes of classic slasher properties, a significant body of original slasher films have also been made in the era. This talk will focus on one of the most distinctive trends in the subgenre since the mid-00s: the metamodern slasher film.

​A comparison with the Scream-era postmodern slasher will help to explain what distinguishes the metamodern slasher from its immediate predecessors. Postmodern slasher films tend to be cynical, flippant or even nihilistic in tone. Postmodern slasher films are usually ludic, goading viewers into guessing the killer’s identity but then wrongfooting the audience with restricted or unreliable epistemic access to the narrative events. These films also commonly suggest that subgenre conventions are immutable, and that originality is no longer possible.  
​The metamodern slasher is distinguished from the postmodern slasher in several ways. First, the metamodern sensibility is characterised by its sincere tone. Second, although these films are playful, they react against the postmodern slasher’s duplicity. Instead of foregrounding epistemic restrictions, the value of individual characters’ idiosyncratic, subjective experiences is emphasised. Third, the metamodern slasher is characterised by a desire to innovate within the subgenre, underpinned by the assumption that originality is still possible. This talk will draw on a variety of contemporary examples to demonstrate how the metamodern slasher film operates, and why it constitutes a significant development within the subgenre.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

New Chapter Out Now

I have a chapter in the edited collection New Blood: Critical Approaches to Contemporary Horror. My chapter is titled "Hardcore Horror: Challenging the Discourses of Extremity".

This chapter explores the relationship between ‘hardcore’ horror films, and the discursive context in which mainstream horror releases are being dubbed ‘extreme’. This chapter compares ‘mainstream’ and ‘hardcore’ horror with the aim of investigating what ‘extremity’ means. I will begin by outlining what ‘hardcore’ horror is, and how it differs from mainstream horror (both in terms of content and distribution). I will then dissect what ‘extremity’ means in this context, delineating problems with established critical discourses about ‘extreme’ horror. Print press reviewers focus on theatrically released horror films, ignoring microbudget direct-to-video horror. As such, their adjudications about ‘extremity’ in horror begin from a limited base that misrepresents the genre. Moreover, ‘extremity’ is not a universally shared value, yet it is predominantly presented as if referring to an objective, universally agreed-upon standard. Such judgements change over time. Moreover, in contrast to marketers’ uses of ‘extreme’, press critics predominantly use the term as a pejorative. Although academics have sought to defend and contextualise particular maligned films and directors, scholars have focused on a handful of infamous examples. As I will explain, academic publishers implicitly support that narrow focus. As such, the cumulative body of scholarly work on ‘extreme’ horror inadvertently replicates print press critics’ mischaracterisation of the genre. These discursive factors limit our collective understandings of ‘horror’, its ostensible ‘extremity’. and of ‘extremity’ qua concept. Given that the discourse of ‘extremity’ is so commonly employed when censuring representations that challenge established genre conventions, it is imperative that horror studies academics attend to peripheral hardcore horror texts, and seek to develop more robust conceptual understandings of extremity.

The editors - Eddie Falvey, Joe Hickinbottom and Jon Wroot - hosted a book launch event featuring some of the contributors (including me). The video of that event is available here:


Friday, 11 December 2020

Article on Slasher films in Slovenian

Way back in April, my article on slasher films was published in Kino 

Here is a link to the abstract (in Slovenian):

The article was based on papers I presented at Abertoir (2018) and Kurja Polt (2019). That work is the foundation for a book I'm currently writing on the metamodern slasher film.