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American Horror FilmThe Genre at the Turn of the Millennium$
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Steffen Hantke

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781604734539

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604734539.001.0001

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Whither the Serial Killer Movie?

Whither the Serial Killer Movie?

(p.119) Whither the Serial Killer Movie?
American Horror Film

Philip L. Simpson

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter offers a critical overview of the serial killer film, especially in the light of the subgenre’s intense cultural significance during the 1980s and 1990s and its subsequent descent into relative insignificance after 9/11. While pondering the larger questions of why and how horror film archetypes drift in and out of the culture’s focus of attention, it also demonstrates how the serial killer film, though often pronounced dead, has instead managed to spread throughout a field of cultural production much larger than that of a strictly defined and narrowly circumscribed cinematic genre. The chapter argues that the serial killer has even made a comeback with recent high-profile productions directed by auteurist filmmakers such as Spike Lee (Summer of Sam) and David Fincher (Zodiac).

Keywords:   American horror film, serial killer film, film genre, Spike Lee, David Fincher, Summer of Sam, Zodiac

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