Elementi postmoderni nell'horror americano contemporaneo. Forme testuali e culturali della mutazione 1968-1998

Armentano, Chiara (2008) Elementi postmoderni nell'horror americano contemporaneo. Forme testuali e culturali della mutazione 1968-1998, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Studi teatrali e cinematografici, 20 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/1121.
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This research argues for an analysis of textual and cultural forms in the American horror film (1968- 1998), by defining the so-called postmodern characters. The “postmodern” term will not mean a period of the history of cinema, but a series of forms and strategies recognizable in many American films. From a bipolar re-mediation and cognitive point of view, the postmodern phenomenon is been considered as a formal and epistemological re-configuration of the cultural “modern” system. The first section of the work examines theoretical problems about the “postmodern phenomenon” by defining its cultural and formal constants in different areas (epistemology, economy, mass-media): the character of convergence, fragmentation, manipulation and immersion represent the first ones, while the “excess” is the morphology of the change, by realizing the “fluctuation” of the previous consolidated system. The second section classifies the textual and cultural forms of American postmodern film, generally non-horror. The “classic narrative” structure – coherent and consequent chain of causal cues toward a conclusion – is scattered by the postmodern constant of “fragmentation”. New textual models arise, fragmenting the narrative ones into the aggregations of data without causal-temporal logics. Considering the process of “transcoding”1 and “remediation”2 between media, and the principle of “convergence” in the phenomenon, the essay aims to define these structures in postmodern film as “database forms” and “navigable space forms.” The third section applies this classification to American horror film (1968-1998). The formal constant of “excess” in the horror genre works on the paradigm of “vision”: if postmodern film shows a crisis of the “truth” in the vision, in horror movies the excess of vision becomes “hyper-vision” – that is “multiplication” of the death/blood/torture visions – and “intra-vision”, that shows the impossibility of recognizing the “real” vision from the virtual/imaginary. In this perspective, the textual and cultural forms and strategies of postmodern horror film are predominantly: the “database-accumulation” forms, where the events result from a very simple “remote cause” serving as a pretext (like in Night of the Living Dead); the “database-catalogue” forms, where the events follow one another displaying a “central” character or theme. In the first case, the catalogue syntagms are connected by “consecutive” elements, building stories linked by the actions of a single character (usually the killer), or connected by non-consecutive episodes about a general theme: examples of the first kind are built on the model of The Wizard of Gore; the second ones, on the films such as Mario Bava’s I tre volti della paura. The “navigable space” forms are defined: hyperlink a, where one universe is fluctuating between reality and dream, as in Rosemary’s Baby; hyperlink b (where two non-hierarchical universes are convergent, the first one real and the other one fictional, as in the Nightmare series); hyperlink c (where more worlds are separated but contiguous in the last sequence, as in Targets); the last form, navigable-loop, includes a textual line which suddenly stops and starts again, reflecting the pattern of a “loop” (as in Lost Highway). This essay analyses in detail the organization of “visual space” into the postmodern horror film by tracing representative patterns. It concludes by examining the “convergence”3 of technologies and cognitive structures of cinema and new media.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Armentano, Chiara
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
film horror modernismo postmodernismo cinema contemporaneo
Data di discussione
2 Luglio 2008

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