Revisionist Rape-Revenge Redefining a Film Genre

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-10-16
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

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Rape-revenge is one of film studies' neglected genres, in spite of the plethora of examples globally over the past decade. Previously considered a notorious subset of 1970s and 1980s horror or exploitation, there has been a massive revitalization and diversification of rape-revenge in recent years. This book updates and redefines the rape-revenge genre, analyzing the politics, ethics, and affects at play in the filmic construction of rape and its responses. Henry examines significant trends in rape-revenge's temporal, cross-media, and cross-cultural shifts during the genre's revisionist phase through in-depth case studies of films such as The Last House on the Left, Katalin Varga, and Descent. These case studies are placed within the broader cultural myths and media narratives about rape. The book uncovers the current potential and limitations of this under-theorized genre for cultural explorations of political and ethical issues surrounding gender, power, sexuality, spectatorship, rape, and revenge.

Author Biography

Claire Henry is Guest Lecturer in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Reapproaching Rape-Revenge
1. Remaking Rape-Revenge: The Last House on the Left (1972/2009) and I Spit on Your Grave (1978/2010)
2. The Postfeminist Trap of Vagina Dentata for the American Teen Castratrice
3. Rape, Racism, and Descent into the Ethical Quagmire of Revenge
4. The Shame of Male Acolytes: Negotiating Gender and Sexuality Through Rape-Revenge
5. Collective Revenge: Challenging the Individualist Victim-Avenger in Death Proof, Sleepers, and Mystic River
Conclusion: Challenging the Boundaries of Cinema's Rape-Revenge Genre in Katalin Varga and Twilight Portrait

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