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170 × 120 × 15 mm
240 pages
82 illustrations
01 Sep 2008
  • £16.00

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Dark Places The Haunted House in Film Barry Curtis

Horror films revel in taking viewers into shadowy places where evil resides, whether it is a house, a graveyard or a dark forest. With Dark Places, Barry Curtis leads us deep inside these haunted spaces to explore them – and the monstrous antagonists who dwell there.

In this wide-ranging and compelling study, Curtis demonstrates how the claustrophobic interiors of haunted spaces in films connect to the ‘dark places’ of the human psyche. He examines diverse topics such as the special effects – ranging from crude to state-of-the-art – used in movies to evoke supernatural creatures; the structures, projections and architecture of horror movie sets; and ghosts as symbols of loss, amnesia, injustice and vengeance. Dark Places also examines the reconfiguration of the haunted house in film as a motel, an apartment, a road or a spaceship, and how these re-imagined spaces thematically connect to Gothic fictions.

Curtis draws his examples from numerous iconic films – including Nosferatu, Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Shining – as well as lesser-known international works. Japanese horror films and their Hollywood remakes – such as Ringu and The Ring, or Juon and The Grudge – come under particular scrutiny, as he explores Japanese cinema’s preoccupation with malevolent forces from the past.

Whether you love the splatter of blood or prefer to hide under the couch, Dark Places cuts to the heart of why we are drawn to carnage.

Dark Places is a valuable work for film scholars focused on the horror genre or otherwise. In considering the widest possible legacy for the haunted house on screen and by bringing theoretical and multi-disciplinary sophistication to bear on such an unlikely topic Curtis has fashioned a noteworthy exploration of one of cinema's unsung icons.’ — Southwest Journal of Cultures

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Barry Curtis is a Fellow of the London Consortium, Tutor at the Royal College of Art, and has written widely on architecture, film, art and visual culture.

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