The impact of the Friday the 13th
films on film theory can be seen throughout multiple scholarly (and
not-so-scholarly) texts. There are many different interpretations and
ways to analyze these movies, and below are compiled examples of these
Click on the title of the book to read excerpts relating to our very own Jason Voorhees, or relating to the Friday the 13th series and slasher films in general.
Ultraviolent Movies : From Sam Peckinpah to Quentin Tarantino. Laurent Bouzereau. (2000)
. . .Violence in the movies has undergone a complete revolution. Beginning with Bonnie and Clyde, The Wild Bunch, Taxi Driver, and A Clockwork Orange,
violence has become a regular part of the moviegoing experience. While
many of these films number among the greatest ever made, today they
seem rather tame. With the recent release of Scream 2, Halloween H2O, and L.A. Confidential, ultraviolence continues to gain new fans, push the envelope... and cause controversy.
Men, Women and Chainsaws
: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. Carol Clover. (1992)
. . .Do the pleasures of horror movies really begin and end in sadism?
So the public discussion of film assumes, and so film theory claims. Carol Clover argues, however, that these
films work mainly to engage the viewer in the plight of the victim-hero - the figure, often a female, who
suffers pain and fright but eventually rises to vanquish the forces of oppression.
Film Theory Goes to the Movies
: Cultural Analysis of Contemporary Film. Jim Collins & Hillary Radner. (ed. 1993)
. . . "This ambitious anthology examines popular American films of the 1980s
and 1990s in light of ongoing issues in contemporary film theory. The work it sets out to accomplish is nothing
less than an engagement between recent commercial film practice and methodologies of criticism that often seem,
at first glance, to privilege the critic over the work itself. . . . [This] is a book that is long overdue, and
one that should be useful in any survey course of current American genre films. It displays a real love for the
pleasures of genre, but also reserves the right to critique and examine the popular films we embrace." -
Planks of Reason
: Essays on the Horror Film. Barry K. Grant. (ed. 1984)
. . .A collection of film theory essays ranging from Nosferatu to
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Mostly focuses on older horror movies, but has comments on
modern day horror. Analyzes the cinematic processes of different sub-genres of horror films.
The Dread of Difference
: Gender and the Horror Film. Barry K. Grant. (ed. 1996)
. . .An undying procession of Sons of Dracula and daughters of darkness has
animated the horror film genre from the beginning. Indeed, in this pioneering exploration of the cinema
of fear, Barry K. Grant and twenty other film critics posit that horror is always rooted in gender,
particularly in anxieties about sexual difference and gender politics
. . .The Dread of Difference
demonstrates that horror is hardly a uniformly masculine discourse. As these essays persuasively show,
not only are horror movies about patriarchy and its fear of the feminine, but they also offer feminist
critique and pleasure.
: Modern Hollywood Horror and Comedy. William Paul. (1994)
. . .William
Paul's exploration of an extremely popular box office genre - the
gross-out movie - is the first book to take this lowbrow product
seriously. Writing about "movies that embraced the lowest common
denominator as an aesthetic principle, movies that critics constantly
griped about having to sit through," Paul examines their unique place
in our culture. He argues that gross-out movies challenge social tastes
and values, but without the self-consciousness of avant-garde art. Paul
establishes gross-out as a true genre - one that "speaks in the voice
of festive freedom, uncorrected and unconstrained by the reality
principle... aggressive, seemingly improvised, and always ambivalent."
: Women and the Pleasures of Horror Film. Isabel C. Pinedo. (1997)
. . .In Recreational Terror, Isabel C. Pinedo analyzes how the
contemporary horror film produces recreational terror as a pleasurable encounter with violence
and danger for female spectators. She challenges the conventional wisdom that violent horror
films can only degrade women and incite violence, and contends instead that the contemporary
horror film speaks to the cultural need to express rage and terror in the midst of social upheaval.
Hearths of Darkness
: The Family in the American Horror Film. Tony Williams. (1996)
. . .Tony Williams's Hearths of Darkness follows the
development of what he calls the American "family horror film" from the 1930s through
the early 1990s. Professor Williams argues that the cinematic horror genre deliberately
subverts the idealized position of the family unit in American ideology. The genre does
so through subjecting representative families to brutal assaults by horrific and/or
supernatural elements and, more often than not, demonstrating the beleaguered family possesses
an equal capacity for violence and indeed is itself culpable in the cultural attitudes that
Sexuality in the Land of Oz
: Searching for Safer Sex at the Movies. Wayne Wilson. (1994)
. . .Going to the movies? Chances are you'll see a little sex, maybe a lot
of sex. Chances are, too, that you may not think much about it later. After all, you've been watching
movies for years and years. why should one more portrayal of seduction change your attitude regarding
the use of sex as entertainment?