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Carol Clover

Related: final girl trope - American academia - paracinema - feminist film theory - psychoanalytical film theory


Men, Women, and Chain Saws (1992) - Carol J. Clover [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Late 2002, Donato Totaro published a review of Carol Clover's book Men, Women, and Chainsaws.. He points out that Carol Clover's "Final Girl" analysis is valid for American horror but not enitirely applicable to European horror movies., which often features the women as agressor and femme fatale. In the words of Donato Totaro: "Returning to Carol Clover, her central argument does not work as consistently well in the European horror film, simply because the killers/murderers in Euro horror are often female! "

Biography

Carol J. Clover (Class of 1936 Professor in the departments of Rhetoric, Film, and Scandinavian) is both a medievalist and a film scholar. Her research and teaching in Film/Rhetoric have ranged across such topics as race and tap dance; gender; revenge; legal procedure and narrative procedure; trials and cinematic practices; and film history, theory, and genre (especially horror, noir, and courtroom). Her film publications include Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film (Princeton Univ. Press) and "Dancin' in the Rain" (originally published in Critical Inquiry), and she is at work on a book entitled "The People's Plot: Trials, Movies, and the Adversarial Imagination." --http://filmstudies.berkeley.edu/faculty_bios/clover.html

Men, Women, and Chain Saws (1992)

Reviews:
"[A] brilliant analysis of gender and its disturbances in modern horror films. . . . Bubbling away beneath Clover's multi-faceted readings of slasher, occult, and rape-revenge films is the question of what the viewer gets out of them. . . . [She] argues that most horror films are obsessed with feminism, playing out plots which climax with an image of (masculinized) female power and offering visual pleasures which are organized not around a mastering gaze, but around a more radical "victim-identified' look."--Linda Ruth Williams, Sight and Sound

"Carol Clover's compelling [book] challenges simplistic assumptions about the relationship between gender and culture. . . . She suggests that the "low tradition" in horror movies possesses positive subversive potential, a space to explore gender ambiguity and transgress traditional boundaries of masculinity and femininity."--Andrea Walsh, The Boston Globe

"Fascinating, Clover has shown how the allegedly na´ve makers of crude films have done something more schooled directors have difficulty doing - creating females with whom male veiwers are quite prepared to identify with on the most profound levels"--The Modern Review

Before Men, Women, and Chain Saws, most film critics assumed that horror (especially slasher) films entail a male viewer sadistically watching the plight of a female victim. Carol Clover argues convincingly that both male and female viewers not only identify with the victim, but experience, through the actions of the "final girl," a climactic moment of female power. As the Boston Globe writes, Men, Women, and Chain Saws "challenges simplistic assumptions about the relationship between gender and culture... [Clover] suggests that the 'low tradition' in horror movies possesses positive subversive potential, a space to explore gender ambiguity and transgress traditional boundaries of masculinity and femininity." Be forewarned, though: Clover addresses an academic audience, so her language can be heavy going. -- via Amazon.com

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