European horror films have often been characterised by a tendency towards co-production arrangements. Recent developments within regional European funding bodies and initiatives have led to a proliferation of films that combine traditional co-production agreements with the use of both regional and intra-regional funding sources. This article examines the extent to which the financial structuring of Creep(Christopher Smith, 2004), Salvage (Lawrence Gough), and Trollhunter (André Øvredal, 2010) informed the trajectory of their production dynamics, impacting upon their final form. Sometimes, such European horror films are part of complex co-production deals with multiple partners or are derived from one-off funding project. But they can also utilise funding schemes that are distinctly local.
Regarded by fans and critics alike as the Queen of Horror, Barbara Steele stands as one of the few bona fide cult icons of the genre, whose ability to project an uncanny blend of deathliness and eroticism imbues her characters with a kind of necrophiliac appeal. Horror film scholars have tended to read Steele‘s films in feminist terms, as texts that play to our fascination with the monstrous-feminine. This article approaches them from a different standpoint – that of cinephilia studies. Steele‘s cult horror films are at their most basic level horror movies about cinephilia, presenting her as the very embodiment of the ghostly medium that cinephiles cherish. In so doing, they convert Steele into a necrophiliac fetish-object, an intoxicating fusion of death and desire. Considering Steele‘s work from this perspective reveals the fluidity of the boundary between horror and cinephilia, demonstrating that horror has something important to teach us about cinephilia and cinephilia has something important to teach us about horror.
The body in the swimming pool as metonym for trouble in paradise is a recurrent motif bordering on cliché in Hollywood/West Coast sunshine noir. Through an intermedial survey of film, TV and literary fiction, photography, design and architectural history, crime and environmental, reportage, public health and safety documents this article examines the domestic swimming pools ambiguous status as a symbol of realised utopia within the Californian mythos from the boom years of the backyard oasis in the wake of the Second World War to the era of mass foreclosures, restricted water usage and ambient dread inaugurated by 9/11, the global recession and the severest drought in the states recorded rainfall history.
This article examines the role of automobility in the Greek cinema of the 1960s. It focuses on the representations of the automobile’s domestication in selected films. Particular attention is paid to the technical and symbolic reconstruction of space and the redefinition of socioeconomic and gender stereotypes. The article’s conclusions concern the role of the automobile in a specific period within Greek film history, as well as its place within cinema in general and in the theoretical and material construction of what is perceived as ‘modernity’.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (dir. Don Siegel, 1956), The Birds (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1963), and Night of the Living Dead (dir. George Romero, 1968) imbue scenes that take place at a gas pump with a horror so intense, it petrifies. As three of the earliest American horror films to feature a monstrous exchange at the pump, they transform the genre by reimagining automotive affect. This article examines the cinematic mood created when petrification meets petroleum, providing an alternative look at American oil culture after 1956, but before the oil crisis of 1973.
Self-driving cars have long been depicted in cinematic narratives, across genres from science fiction films to fantasy films. In some cases, a self-driving car is personified as one of the main characters. This article examines cinematic representations and imaginaries in order to understand the development of the self-driving technology and its integration in contemporary societies, drawing on examples such as The Love Bug, Knight Rider, Minority Report and I, Robot. Conceptually and methodologically, the article combines close readings of films with technological concerns and theoretical considerations, in an attempt to grasp the entanglement of cinematographic imaginaries, audiovisual technologies, artificial intelligence and human interactions that characterise the introduction of self-driving cars in contemporary societies. The human–AI machine interaction is considered both on technological and theoretical levels. Issues of automation, agency and disengagement are traced in cinematic representations and tackled, calling into question the concepts of socio-technical assemblage.
This article examines how the ironic construction of queer masculinity from biker culture, a realm of consumer fetishism and hetero-masculinity, in Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising (1964), influences Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 film Drive. As Anger’s film appropriates pop-culture images and icons of biker culture, fetishes of post-Second World War American masculinity, Refn uses overt references to Anger’s film to wage a similar reappropriation of muscle car culture, in the process challenging contemporary images of heterosexual masculinity in Drive. Like Anger, Refn relies upon the dynamics of fetishism and postmodernism’s illumination of the distance between sign and object to subvert muscle cars’ associations with masculine violence and rivalry, mobilising them instead to exploit the inherent multivocality of the fetishised object, seizing the car (and its mobility) as a getaway vehicle to escape prescriptions of identity and limiting definitions of gender and sexuality.
The open road is popularly imagined as both cinematic and male, a space suited to the scope afforded by the cinema and the breadth demanded by the male psyche. However, while these connotations are ingrained within the aesthetics of driving, its kinaesthetics – the articulations between bodies, movement and space – have more in common with television and with stories of women’s desire. Drawing from Iris Marion Young’s theories of gendered embodiment, this article argues that driving, television and female desire are all marked by the same contradictions between movement and stability, and between public and private. It analyses two recent television programmes concerned with women behind the wheel – Black Mirror’s ‘San Junipero’ (Netflix, 2016) and the first two seasons of Big Little Lies (HBO, 2017–present) – to argue that driving on television affords a space through which to negotiate feminine embodiment, agency and desire.
By focusing on Helmut Käutner’s In Those Days/Stories of a Car (In jenen Tagen, 1947) this article analyses the role of the car as a cinematic object. The automobile is the narrator of Käutner’s film: by giving voice to an object to discuss the Third Reich, Käutner raises – as it is often the case in the ‘rubble films’ – the question of objectivity when dealing with the recent past. At the same time, through the motif of the automobile, which Käutner uses a reflection of and on cinema, the director questions the role that the filmic medium can or should play in postwar Germany.