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eBook Uncanny Bodies: The Coming of Sound Film and the Origins of the Horror Genre ePub

by Robert Spadoni

eBook Uncanny Bodies: The Coming of Sound Film and the Origins of the Horror Genre ePub
Author: Robert Spadoni
Language: English
ISBN: 0520251229
ISBN13: 978-0520251229
Publisher: University of California Press; First edition (September 4, 2007)
Pages: 202
Category: Humanities
Subcategory: Other
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 767
Formats: txt mbr docx doc
ePub file: 1852 kb
Fb2 file: 1504 kb

Uncanny Bodies argues that the coming of sound inspired more in these massively influential horror movies than screams, creaking doors, and howling wolves.

Uncanny Bodies argues that the coming of sound inspired more in these massively influential horror movies than screams, creaking doors, and howling wolves. A close examination of the historical reception of films of the transition period reveals that sound films could seem to their earliest viewers unreal and ghostly

UNCANNY BODIES deftly explores the connections between early silent and sound cinema reception and the development of the classic horror genre.

UNCANNY BODIES deftly explores the connections between early silent and sound cinema reception and the development of the classic horror genre. In the introduction, the author notes: "As film viewers, Hollywood's first horror filmmakers encountered the same body of films that general audiences and professional critics did during the sound transition years.

Uncanny Bodies argues that the coming of sound inspired more in these massively influential horror movies than screams, creaking doors, and . A close examination of the historical reception of films of the transition period reveals that sound films could seem to their earliest viewers unreal and ghostly. The two films that mark the dawn of the horror film as a Hollywood genre, Tod Browning’s Dracula and James Whale’s Frankenstein (both 1931), make a curious pair. When I first saw them as a child, I was at once awestruck by the creaky, majestic slowness of Dracula and disappointed to find in the film so little in the way of sensational action and monster effects.

The two films that mark the dawn of the horror film as a Hollywood genre, Tod Browning’sDraculaand .

The two films that mark the dawn of the horror film as a Hollywood genre, Tod Browning’sDraculaand James Whale’sFrankenstein(both 1931), make a curious pair. When I first saw them as a child, I was at once awestruck by the creaky, majestic slowness ofDraculaand disappointed to find in the film so little in the way of sensational action and monster effects. In this book I have argued that the coming of sound stirred up sensations of the strangeness and ghostliness of cinema, sensations that also characterized some perceptions of the medium during its first years.

Linda Ruth Williams is Professor of Film Studies in the School of Humanities at the University of Southampton, U.

1 The Uncanny Body of Early Sound Film (page 8). Read. 2 Ludicrous Objects, Textualized Responses (page 31).

Spadoni, Robert (4 September 2007). Uncanny Bodies: The Coming of Sound Film and the Origins of the Horror Genre. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-25122-9.

Robert Spadoni, Uncanny Bodies. Uncanny Bodies is a subtle and revealing study of the transition era between the silent film and the sound film, more specifically the period between 1926 until about 1931. The Coming of Sound Film and the origins of the Horror Genre. Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-520-25122-9.

In 1931 Universal Pictures released Dracula and Frankenstein, two films that inaugurated the horror genre in Hollywood cinema. These films appeared directly on the heels of Hollywood's transition to sound film. Uncanny Bodies argues that the coming of sound inspired more in these massively influential horror movies than screams, creaking doors, and howling wolves. A close examination of the historical reception of films of the transition period reveals that sound films could seem to their earliest viewers unreal and ghostly. By comparing this audience impression to the first sound horror films, Robert Spadoni makes a case for understanding film viewing as a force that can powerfully shape both the minutest aspects of individual films and the broadest sweep of film production trends, and for seeing aftereffects of the temporary weirdness of sound film deeply etched in the basic character of one of our most enduring film genres.
Shaktiktilar
I read "Uncanny Bodies" because I am such a big fan of "Dracula" and "Frankenstein", the films that most of the text is committed to studying. However, I ended up learning a lot more than I bargained for about an era in film history that is often ignored -- the four years of transition between "The Jazz Singer" and the end of silent film production from the major studios. "Dracula" was made during the end of the transition era, and by the time "Frankenstein" was produced, Universal had ended all silent film production.

The book cites many primary sources and critical writing of the era to shed light on the uncertain responses of a 1931 viewer to the novelty of sound film, and does an excellent job supporting its thesis that the producers of "Dracula" and "Frankenstein" played off of their audience's experiences of early sound films to heighten the terror of the living dead who are threatening the protagonists. Well-written and accessible, while exhaustively researched and remaining very academic, Spadoni's book uses reception study to reveal a lot about the often hailed, derided, and misunderstood early horror masterpieces.
Vareyma
UNCANNY BODIES deftly explores the connections between early silent and sound cinema reception and the development of the classic horror genre. In the introduction, the author notes: "As film viewers, Hollywood's first horror filmmakers encountered the same body of films that general audiences and professional critics did during the sound transition years. I will argue that this viewing experience predisposed these filmmakers to conceive of a new kind of film in a way that capitalized on impressions that synchronized sound film had recently made on the viewership at large." In short, the uncanny bodies of actors on the screen that viewers encountered in the transition from silent to sound cinema - with their black and white visages, processed, accented and dislocated voices, and exaggerated acting styles - gave horror filmmakers the raw material to create some of the greatest horror characters in classical cinema, namely DRACULA (1931) and FRANKENSTEIN (1931). Author Robert Spadoni provides a meticulous and well-researched argument in this study. One of the main revelations for the field of cinema scholarship (and cinema history) is the integration of the voices of various critics and filmgoers from the 1920s and 1930s about the transition from silent to sound cinema. These insights offer a time capsule of the changing attitudes toward cinema as a developing art form. I highly recommend this book for both scholars and general readers.
Haal
I would suggest that Uncanny Bodies is at the forefront of contemporary film criticism. The book's intervention in arguing that the production, mediation and consumption of classic horror must be understood in relation to the coming of sound, is compelling and original. Summarily, Spadoni's re-evaluation of the aesthetic concerns and reception contexts of Dracula and Frankenstein is theoretically rigorous, historically focused and meticulously researched. However, it is also extremely readable and very entertaining. In fact, reading this book gave me the impetus to finish my own PhD on historical film cycles. Great stuff.
GWEZJ
This illuminating study of Universal's two seminal horror pix, Dracula and Frankenstein, is good enough to stand alongside the best that Film Studies has produced on popular American cinema, and is by far the finest book on early Hollywood horror. Spadoni's thesis on the films' place in the transition from silent to sound cinema is utterly compelling. Along with conveying a cinephile's delight in his subject, he has produced a perfect compact of archive research and theoretical insight.
Goldenfang
Professor Spadoni's book is a fascinating look at the arrival of sound and its impact on the horror genre. I had the good fortune to interview him about "Uncanny Bodies" and his work in general. You can listen to the podcast interview at the following link:

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