Horror in Space

Critical Essays on a Film Subgenre


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About the Book

In sharp contrast to many 1960s science fiction films, with idealized views of space exploration, Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) terrified audiences, depicting a harrowing and doomed deep-space mission. The Alien films launched a new generation of horror set in the great unknown, inspiring filmmakers to take Earth-bound franchises like Leprechaun and Friday the 13th into space. This collection of new essays examines the space horror subgenre, with a focus on such films as Paul W.S. Anderson’s Event Horizon, Duncan Jones’ Moon, Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires and John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars. Contributors discuss how filmmakers explored the concepts of the final girl/survivor, the uncanny valley, the isolationism of space travel, religion and supernatural phenomena.

About the Author(s)

Michele Brittany is the book review editor for the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics and is the co-chair of the Ann Radcliffe Conference held in conjunction with Horror Writers Association’s annual Stokercon. She lives in Glendale, Arizona.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Michele Brittany

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6405-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3062-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction 1

Part One: Horror Made in America
John Carpenter of Mars: Space Horror in the Films of John Carpenter (Ben Kooyman) 13
The Cold, White Reproduction of the Same: A New Hypothesis About John Carpenter’s The Thing (Dario Altobelli) 33
Meteor Madness: Lovecraftian Horror and Consumerism in the Battle for Small Town USA (Nicholas Diak) 50
“It (never actually) came from outer space”: ­Earth-Origin Threats in Space Horror Films (Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.) 66

Part Two: Time and Space in a Sea of ­Post-Modern Isolation
Nonknowledge and Inner Experience: A ­Post-Modern Rhetoric of Space Horror (Gavin F. Hurley) 81
Out of Space—Out of Time: Looking at the Factors of Time in Space Horror Movies (Juliane Schlag) 96
We’re All Alone, Out Here: Isolation and Its Contribution to Space Horror in Film (Janet Joyce Holden) 111
That Moon Is Romantic: Duncan Jones’s Dark Fairy Tale (Adam M. Crowley) 121

Part Three: The Uncanny Body
The Architecture of ­Sci-Fi Body Horror: Mechanical Building-Bodies and Organic Invasion from Deep Space to the Anthropocene (Brenda S. Gardenour Walter) 127
Ghosts in the Machine: Emotion and Haunting in the Creation of the Irrational Robot (Casey Ratto) 140

Part Four: The Devil Made Me Betwixt and Between: Magic, Science and the Devil’s Place in Outer Space (Andrew P. Williams) 151
Under the Influence: Undead Planets and Vampiric Dreamworlds in Outer Space (Simon Bacon) 164

Part Five: Play It Again or Rip It Off
A “family of displaced figures”: Posthumanism and ­Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Alien Resurrection (1997) (Charles W. Reick) 181
Galaxies of Terror in a ­Knock-Off Universe: Atavism and the ­Rip-Off Body Horror of “Aliensploitation” Films (Jason Davis) 194
Leprechaun 4 and Jason X: Camp, Paracinema and the Postmodern Sequel (Kevin Chabot) 217

About the Contributors 233
Index 235

Book Reviews & Awards

  • Finalist, Bram Stoker Award—Horror Writers Association