This book argues that dominant psychoanalytic approaches to horror films neglect the aesthetics of horror. Yet cinematic devices such as mise en scène, editing and sound, are central to the viewer's visceral fear and arousal. Using Deleuze's work on art and film, Anna Powell argues that film viewing is a form of 'altered consciousness' and the experience of viewing horror film an 'embodied event'.
3. Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Woman (Becoming-Monster)
4. Fractured Time
5. Body-Horror/Body Without Organs
6. Aesthetics of Horror
i) "The Movement Image"
iii) Light and Shadow
7. Conclusion: The Neuro-Aesthetics of Film: An Evaluation.
About the Author
Anna Powell's book is both visceral and intellectual. It deftly combines attentive accounts of specific films with broader theoretical speculation. Powell gets to the heart of what's compelling and addictive about horror films: their rhythms and intensities, the feelings they arouse, the ways they get under the skin of the viewer.
Anna Powell's study seems an unlikely mash-up, combining the free-wheeling musings of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze on art cinema with the visceral frisson of an oft-despised genre, but the combination proves surprisingly fruitful... For the serious horror film scholar, Powell's study offers a welcome addition to the existing theoretical works. For the serious horror fan who does not quail before academic jargon, the book will open up many favorite films to additional aesthetic perspectives. For Deleuzian scholars, it may well provide new insight into the usefulness of frameworks usually applied only to a rarified genre of films-it may even offer the opportunity to appreciate the complexity of the much-maligned horror genre.
It is always satisfying to read a thoughtful and inventive contribution to the discipline, especially when it challenges the standard and recommended procedure of doing things... [Powell] applies Deleuzian models to horror film and demonstrates that the mind of the spectator is indeed transformed, his perceptions altered, and the "mundane modes of consciousness" (201) are extended and changed. Most importantly, Powell's examination should begin to reset the way in which films are discussed and explored.
Powell's book is brimming with ideas, focusing as she does on style, movement and time. Through the practice of her beautifully rendered close analysis she makes an excellent case for returning to Deleuze and Bergson.
With its complex but fresh theories and inviting style, this work will enhance both film and gothic studies collections.