DRF News

CFP: “Horror (as/is) Humor, Humor (as/is) Horror: sLaughter in Popular Cinema” (edited collection)

In his review of Tavernier’s Coup de torchon, David Kehr wrote in When Movies Mattered: Reviews from a Transformative Decade,

Death, violence, and moral corruption aren’t just slapstick props … but agonizingly real presences, and their comedy isn’t a release from horror, but a confrontation with it.… [H]umor and horror exist side by side,  they play on the very thin line that separates a laugh from a scream, touching the hysteria common to both.… The best black humor makes us feel the horror. (p.186)

Scholarly collections in Humor and Horror Studies have largely conceived of them as separate genres and fields. Yet popular culture has increasingly seen a rise in the emotional and visceral confluence of humor and horror—from black comedies, dark fantasy and a renewed interest in fairy tale adaptations, to freshliterary works, graphic novels, and politics and satire.

Scholarly essays are sought for a potential collection on the nexus of humor and horror—sLaughter—in popular culture texts with a primary focus on film. Topics may include, but are clearly not limited to: Genre (e.g., parody, science / speculative fiction, thriller, dark fantasy, cyberpunk / splatterpunk, “classical” comedy / drama, post-humanism, terror/ism, apocalyptica and TEOTWAWKI); Creator / Auteur (e.g., Joss Whedon, Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, Mary Harron, Matt Groening, Seth McFarlane, the Soska sisters, the Coen brothers, Bret Easton Ellis, Charles Bukowski, Amy Lynn Best, David Cronenberg, Tim Burton, John Carpenter); or Theory / Theorist (e.g., structuralism, grotesquerie / freakery, transgressionism, attraction=repulsion, bodily mutilation / ablation, postmodernism, biomechanics / cyborg interfaces).

We are NOT interested in Abbot and Costello, “camp,” or anything else offering the audience a chance to be “psychologically distanced” from mortal terror—beyond the fact that they are viewing images on a screen.  Though we are interested in zombies, lycanthropy, vampirism, and that lot, we envision a much broader and more scholarly collection than the fanzone tends to produce—much scarier than Twilight, etc.—that addresses the intersection of humor/horror.  We want you to make us FEEL it, and tell us why it’s important.

If you are interested, please submit a 250 word abstract and one-page CV to both Johnson Cheu (cheu@msu.edu) and John A Dowell (jdowell@msu.edu) by 15th September 2012.

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