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Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film

Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film
Your Price: $26.95 CDN
Author: Carol J. Clover
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Series: Princeton Classics
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 280
Pub. Date: 2015
Edition: Updated
ISBN-10: 0691166293
ISBN-13: 9780691166292

About the Book:

From its first publication in 1992, Men, Women, and Chain Saws has offered a groundbreaking perspective on the creativity and influence of horror cinema since the mid-1970s. This book, subtitled Gender in the Modern Horror Film, about the psychology and gender dynamics of horror entertainment, was "the big game changer" that in part gave us permission "to understand that maybe gender works in a far more fluid way" when it comes to watching horror.

Investigating the popularity of the low-budget tradition, American academic Carol Clover looks in particular at the so-called "slasher", occult, and rape-revenge films, from a feminist perspective. Although such movies have been traditionally understood as offering only sadistic pleasures to their mostly male audiences, film scholar Carol Clover demonstrates that they align spectators not with the male tormentor, but with the females tormented. She developed the concept of the "final girl" in horror movies: the resilient female heroine who will endure fear and degradation before rising to save herself and defeat the "monster" after all others have failed. She will walk away bloodied but unbowed, inevitably to fight again in the sequel. The lesson was not lost on the mainstream industry, which was soon turning out the formula in well-made thrillers.

Including a new preface by the author, this Princeton Classics edition is a seminal work of pop culture analysis that has found an avid readership from students of film theory to major Hollywood filmmakers.

What people say:

"[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." — 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." — The Boston Globe

"Clover makes a convincing case for studying the pulp-pop excesses of 'exploitation' horror as a reflection of our psychic times." — San Francisco Chronicle

"Clover actually bothers (as few have done before) to go into the theaters, to sit with the horror fans, and to watch how they respond to what appears on screen." — Washington Post

About the Author:

Carol J. Clover is an American Professor Emerita in the departments of rhetoric, film, and Scandinavian literature and culture at the University of California, Berkeley. She has been widely published in her areas of expertise, and her book, Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film achieved popularity beyond academia. She is credited with developing the "final girl" theory in the horror genre, which has changed both popular and academic conceptions of gender in horror films.