Found Footage Horror Films

Fear and the Appearance of Reality

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About the Book

As the horror subgenre du jour, found footage horror’s amateur filmmaking look has made it available to a range of budgets. Surviving by adapting to technological and cultural shifts and popular trends, found footage horror is a successful and surprisingly complex experiment in blurring the lines between quotidian reality and horror’s dark and tantalizing fantasies.
Found Footage Horror Films explores the subgenre’s stylistic, historical and thematic development. It examines the diverse prehistory beyond Man Bites Dog (1992) and Cannibal Holocaust (1980), paying attention to the safety films of the 1960s, the snuff-fictions of the 1970s, and to television reality horror hoaxes and mockumentaries during the 1980s and 1990s in particular. It underscores the importance of The Blair Witch Project (1999) and Paranormal Activity (2007), and considers YouTube’s popular rise in sparking the subgenre’s recent renaissance.

About the Author(s)

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas is an adjunct research fellow at the Institute of Social Research at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. She publishes regularly in a number of international magazines, journals and books on horror film and related subjects.

Bibliographic Details

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7077-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1321-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface 1

Introduction 3

Part 1: Expanding the Prehistory: 1938–1998 29

One. Safety Films 42

Two. Snuff-Fictions 58

Three. Television 72

Part 2: A Critical Chronology: 1998–2009 87

Four. Revisiting The Blair Witch Project 93

Five. The Vanishing of the Real 112

Six. Approaching Paranormal Activity 129

Part 3: Further Discoveries: 2007–2013 149

Seven. Exorcism Films 151

Eight. The Family 165

Nine. Nation, History and Identity 178

Conclusion: The Specter of Commercialism 192

Notes 203

Bibliography 217

Index 227

Book Reviews & Awards

“excellent addition to the shelves or tablets of any horror scholar”—Dead Reckonings; “his research is quite impressive”—Scarlet the Film Magazine; “definitive”—SFCrowsnest; “a gratifying, thorough and wide-in-scope look”—Flick Attack.