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Cultivating Extreme Art Cinema

Text, Paratext and Home Video Culture

Simon Hobbs

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Examines the phenomenon of extreme cinema through an in-depth application of paratextual theory

Using paratextual theory to address the accusations of gimmickry often directed towards extreme art films, Cultivating Extreme Art Cinema: Text, Paratext, and Home Video Culture focuses upon the DVD and Blu-ray object, analysing how sleeve designs, blurbs, and special features shape the identity of the film and prepare the audience for a particular type of cinematic experience. The book discusses the complex interactions that take place on these commercial artefacts, the ways they communicate to both ‘highbrow’ and ‘lowbrow’ audiences, and the manner in which they breach tradition taste distinctions. Including case studies of features like Cannibal Holocaust, Funny Games and Antichrist, the book explores the complicated dichotomies between art and exploitation films to present a fluid history of extreme art cinema.

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Chapter 1 – A Historical Context of Art and Exploitation Film Marketing: Crossover, Slippage and Fluidity.

Chapter 2 – Early Extremity on DVD: History, Precursors, and Exploitation Auteurs.

Chapter 3 – Weekend and Cannibal Holocaust: Art, Ballyhoo, and Remediation.

Chapter 4 – Salò, Or the 120 Days of Sodom and Ilsa the Wicked Warden: Fascism, Pornography, and Disgust.

Chapter 5 – Contemporary Extremity on DVD: Trends, Hard-core, and Geographic Mobility.

Chapter 6 – Michael Haneke: Glaciation, Legitimacy, and Transgression.

Chapter 7 – Lars von Trier: Provocation, Condemnation, and Confrontation 



About the Author

Simon Hobbs is a Lecturer in Visual Culture at the University of Portsmouth. He has published in the areas of extreme art film, exploitation film and paratextual studies. His work has appeared in Transnational Cinemas and Cine-excess, as well as various edited collections.


In a deft move, Hobbs looks outside the films of extreme art cinema themselves to determine how their paratextual surroundings play starring roles in establishing "extremity" or relative lack thereof. The result is a refreshing and perceptive consideration of film cultures and textualities.

- Jonathan Gray, University of Wisconsin, Madison

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