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Tracy Gaynor Harwood, De Montfort University
and Ben Grussi
Since its birth in 1996, machinima (machine-cinema) has grown into a truly global phenomenon – and its latest transformation is evident in the Lets Play community. Machinima is the first digital culture to have emerged from the internet into a mainstream creative genre and it has taken shape as an important fan culture. Its impact has been felt across many aspects of popular culture and its influence can be found in contexts such as the arts and cinema, performance, creative technologies and social media, politics and citizenship. This book traces its history and impacts through a selection of the most culturally significant works. It firstly sets out to describe the key films, provides an overview of the creative processes and interviews with filmmakers and contributors involved in their development. It then traces their release and impact among fans, users and appropriators, supported with material and interviews. This important new work focuses on the specific disruptive socio-cultural impacts of key works identified by the community and Harwood research over a period of 10 years – from film and filmmaking to digital arts, practice and theory. The book will be of interest to machinima researchers and practitioners, including game culture, media theorists and digital artists, and those interested in how creative technologies influences communities of practice over time.
Availability: In stock
299pp. ¦ $64 £48 €55
This volume explores the complex horizon of landscapes in horror film culture to better understand the use that the genre makes of settings, locations, spaces, and places, be they physical, imagined, or altogether imaginary. In The Philosophy of Horror, Noël Carroll discusses the “geography” of horror as often situating the filmic genre in liminal spaces as a means to displace the narrative away from commonly accepted social structures: this use of space is meant to trigger the audience’s innate fear of the unknown. This notion recalls Freud’s theorization of the uncanny, as it is centered on recognizable locations outside of the Lacanian symbolic order. In some instances, a location may act as one of the describing characteristics of evil itself: In A Nightmare on Elm Street teenagers fall asleep only to be dragged from their bedrooms into Freddy Krueger’s labyrinthine lair, an inescapable boiler room that enhances Freddie’s powers and makes him invincible. In other scenarios, the action may take place in a distant, little-known country to isolate characters (Roth’s Hostel films), or as a way to mythicize the very origin of evil (Bava’s Black Sunday). Finally, anxieties related to the encroaching presence of technology in our lives may give rise to postmodern narratives of loneliness and disconnect at the crossing between virtual and real places: in Kurosawa’s Pulse, the internet acts as a gateway between the living and spirit worlds, creating an oneiric realm where the living vanish and ghosts move to replace them. This suggestive topic begs to be further investigated; this volume represents a crucial addition to the scholarship on horror film culture by adopting a transnational, comparative approach to the analysis of formal and narrative concerns specific to the genre by considering some of the most popular titles in horror film culture alongside lesser-known works for which this anthology represents the first piece of relevant scholarship.
Availability: In stock
298pp. ¦ $65 £48 €55
We know all kinds of monsters. Vampires who suck human blood, werewolves who harass tourists in London or Paris, zombies who long to feast on our brains, or Godzilla, who is famous in and outside of Japan for destroying whole cities at once. Regardless of their monstrosity, all of these creatures are figments of the human mind and as real as they may seem, monsters are and always have been constructed by human beings. In other words, they are imagined. How they are imagined, however, depends on many different aspects and changes throughout history. The present volume provides an insight into the construction of monstrosity in different kinds of media, including literature, film, and TV series. It will show how and by whom monsters are really created, how time changes the perception of monsters and what characterizes specific monstrosities in their specific historical contexts. The book will provide valuable insights for scholars in different fields, whose interest focuses on either media studies or history.
Availability: In stock
176pp. ¦ $57 £45 €50
For many the postcard may seem trivial, little more than a mundane souvenir or a way to keep in touch with friends and relatives while on vacation. But if we look carefully, postcards offer valuable insights into the time periods in which they were created and the mentalities of those who bought or sent them. Frank Marhefka, while serving in the U.S. Army Motor Transportation Corps during the First World War, amassed a collection of more than 150 postcards and photographs while in France, and bound them into a souvenir album. Marhefka’s collection provides a diverse and vivid look into a period of history that – in many soldiers’ accounts – is not usually visualized with all its cruelties. Emphasizing the pictorial turn of the Great War, this album offers personal insight into a conflict that caused so much death and destruction. The book begins with an introduction providing a history of postcards and their extensive use by soldiers during the Great War. Then, after a biography of Marhefka, his postcard collection is presented in its entirety. Accompanying the images are brief texts that place them into historical context, as well as suggestions for further reading. As a visual artifact of the First World War and the perspective of one U.S. soldier, this book is aimed at students, scholars, postcard collectors, and general readers alike who have an interest in military history and popular culture.