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Philip Brophy

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From the late 1970's to mid-1980's the horror genre was dominated by the slasher film, triggered in large part by the mega-successes of Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980). The early-1980's saw a welcome shift away from the tired and simplistic emotional responses, narrative conventions and repetitive camera strategies of the slasher film. Philip Brophy in his perceptive 1983 essay "Horrality -the Textuality of Contemporary Horror Films" discusses a cycle of films instrumental in signalling this shift away from the slasher film: the "body-horror" film. [1] To define this film he coined the term "horrality," meant to encompass "horror, textuality, morality, and hilarity." According to Brophy these films are marked by an increased viscerality and pleasure in defilement of the human body, with the body gruesomely deformed on-camera without the aid of editing, such as the stomach bursting scene in Alien (1979), the exploding head in Scanners (1981), and the bone crunching, body extending human-to-monster transformations in The Howling (1981), An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Beast Within (1982) and The Thing (1982). --Donato Totaro http://www.horschamp.qc.ca/new_offscreen/goregag.html

Rock & gore

From Screaming Jay Hawkins to Wolfman Jack, horror was ever-present during Rock'n'Roll's puberty years. If you were into Rock'n'Roll you just had to be into monster movies. B-Grade filmmakers cottoned onto this fairly quickly and churned out appropriate films like The Giant Gilla Monster, The Blob, I Was A Teenage Werewolf, Werewolf In A Girls Dormitory and Teenagers From Outer Space. This kind of merger of horror and rock has been dead since the fifties, but now thirty years later it is on the rise again. Horror have been creeping back since the late seventies, and many rock groups have started to display outward affection (and affectation) for these kind of films.

It all appears to have started with The Ramones and The Cramps in the late seventies. Their early songs collectively referred to films like Freaks, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Fly and Blood Feast, and their trash-punk/shockabilly has spawned many admirers and imitators. But this new fusion of rock and horror was different. Gone were the oh-so-mysterious wonderings of Brian Jones, Jimmy Page and Black Sabbath, whose music attempted to seriously penetrate the dark forces of satanism. Gone too were the camp sensibilities of horror as promoted by Glam acts like David Bowie, Alice Cooper and The Tubes. The eighties have nurtured heady hommages and delerious debts to anything and everything trashy, cheapo, B-Grade, tacky, tasteless, illicit, sick, wacko, over-the-top, perverse, freaky, psychotic and maniacal. The endless offspring of The Cramps and The Ramones have formed a subculture whose epitaph reads : "sex, drugs, rock'n'gore equals teenage heaven". -- Philip Brophy, 1986 via http://media-arts.rmit.edu.au/Phil_Brophy/R&PVCSartcls/RockGore.html [Mar 2005]

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