Disorder and fear
in The cultural politics of contemporary Hollywood film
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Within the notion of security, order and disorder are twin concepts. When the emphasis is on security as order (as in war movies), the antagonist or enemy is rarely represented in any detail. By contrast, the movies explored in this chapter attend to order’s necessary counterpoint: security as disorder. The focus shifts to that which generates fear, the scary ‘them’ or ‘it’. This chapter introduces ‘fear films’ to illustrate how movies not usually considered to be ‘political’ address power relations through their representations of threat and its containment. We discuss the history and meaning of ‘fear films’ across three sources of disorder: strangers, disasters, and monsters.


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