Our Fears Made Manifest

Essays on Terror, Trauma and Loss in Film, 1998–2019


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About the Book

The beginning of the 21st century was a time of unprecedented events in American society: Y2K, 9/11 and the wars that followed, partisan changes in government and the rapid advancements of the Internet and mass consumerism. In the two decades since, popular culture—particularly film—has manifested the underlying anxieties of the American psyche. This collection of new essays examines dozens of movies released 1998–2020 and how they drew upon and spoke to mass cultural fears. Contributors analyze examples across a range of genres—horror, teen rom-coms, military flicks, slow-burns, and animated children’s films—covering topics including gender and sexuality, environmental politics, technophobia, xenophobia, and class and racial inequality.

About the Author(s)

Ashley Jae Carranza teaches at both the high school and college levels in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her fiction appears in many journals including Flash Fiction Magazine, and her academic writing has been published in several collections.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Ashley Jae Carranza

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 294
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7931-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4224-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: Our Fears Made Manifest Through Film
Ashley Jae Carranza 1

Section I: Issues Presented in Individual Films
Personal and Societal Fears of Loss: At the Crossroads in the Narrative Maze of Pan’s Labyrinth
Melanie Kreitler 8
“He rode past me and kept on goin’. Never said nothin’ goin’ by”: The Silence of God in No Country for Old Men
Eric Brown 23
ParaNormative: Pressures on Sexuality Within Society in ParaNorman
Ashley Jae Carranza 36
Mad Max and the Wasteland of Commodification
Phoebe Wagner 46
A Silent Encounter with the Terrifying Other in John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place
Richard Logsdon 60

Section II: Fears Across Franchises
“I always cry at weddings”: Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky and the Horror of the American Family at the Millennium
Lisa Ellen Williams 74
“It’s like you can pretend everything’s not quite the way it is”: Interrogating the Boundary Between Fiction and Reality in the Blair Witch Franchise
Jessica Armendarez 88
Terrifying Odysseys and Pleasurable Detours: Sexuality and Xenophobia in Road Trip and EuroTrip
Mica Hilson 103
The Lord of the Rings: Environmentalism and Essentialism in Middle-earth and the Western World
Ellen A. Ahlness 117
Deadpool and the Complex “Crisis” of Masculinity
John Quinn 132
“Your government thanks you for your participation”: Schizophrenia, Late Capitalism and The Purge
Laura Henderson 150
“I want your eye, man. I want those things you see through”: Exposing America’s “Post Racial Lie” in Get Out and Us
Matthew Cormier and Amanda Spallacci 164

Section III: Comparative Manifestations in Multiple Films
The Right to Be Forgotten: Confronting the Past in Post-Millennial Cinema
James Kenward 182
“One is the loneliest”: Male Isolation, Rage and Violence in Millennium Transition Films
Holly Lynn Baumgartner and Susan Duran 196
The Evolving Fear of the One Percent: From Eyes Wide Shut to First Reformed
Donald McCarthy 212
Pocahontas Stories, or Why Americans Vote for War Before Voting Against It
Jayson Baker 224
Tragedy, Heroes and the American Imaginary: Blockbuster Conflict Film from 2006 to 2016
Adriana Mariella 239
Categorize Your Powers: Film Adaptations of Dystopian Young Adult Literature in The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Darkest Minds
Amy Cummins 258

About the Contributors 275
Index 279