Cutting Edge: Art-Horror and the Horrific Avant-Garde Horror Book Review
Featured Book Review: Darkbound
Darkbound is an amazing book. Michaelbrent Collings outdid himself with this book. It is not at all what I thought it would be. I took three nights to finish this book because I stayed up way past my bedtime. Darkbound was so suspenseful that I just kept on reading to…
Horror books Review
Cutting Edge investigates the differences/relationships between avant-garde cinema and exploitation (what she terms as `paracinema’) - how viewers of both types tend to divorce themselves from mainstream cinema. The difference between the two types of cinema is that though both tend to use shocking material to explore certain themes whilst attempting to jolt the viewer out of complacency, `paracinema’ maintains a more ironical distance. The films used to illustrate this hypothesis are interesting choices. George Franju’s LES YEUX SANS VISAGE/ EYES WITHOUT A FACE is used in a lengthy chapter as an example of a horror film that has transcended its origins to become a respected art house film. An equal amount of space is given to Jess Franco’s GRITOS EN LA NOCHE and FACELESS, both as examples of the how Franco approaches the material in a different way. Other examples explored in depth are ANDY WARHOL’S FRANKENSTEIN, an exploitation film whose genesis was in the avant-garde scene, and Tod Browning’s FREAKS, a horror which has once again been appropriated by the avant-garde. But most fascinating for me however was a detailed description of Yoko Ono’s RAPE. It was meant to be an allegory of the media’s “rape” of Lennon, McCartney and the rest of the Beatles and their wives/families, though it raises some interesting points about the nature of spectator/victim in the role of cinema, a la PEEPING TOM. Is this “art” or “exploitation”. Undeniably it’s the latter, BUT the film was never released commerically into cinemas, just a few specialist screenings for an “art” market. The author contrasts this film with SNUFF, a fake film which masquerades itself as reality.
Well worth a read, this book. Very thought-provoking stuff indeed.