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Brian De Palma's Split-ScreenA Life in Film$
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Douglas Keesey

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781628466973

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2016

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628466973.001.0001

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Blow Out (1981)

Blow Out (1981)

(p.147) Chapter 14 Blow Out (1981)
Brian De Palma's Split-Screen

Douglas Keesey

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines De Palma's distancing from his pigeonholed role as a “specialist in B-movie horror” in the film, Blow Out (1981). The film itself begins with a parody of a B-grade horror film, before transitioning into the more serious film that De Palma really wants to make—one where he is “dealing with a kind of material that I'd never dealt with before and trying not to pander to the bloodlust of the audience, which is what I've been accused of doing many times.” The chapter explores the psyche of Blow Out's main character, Jack (John Travolta), in his conflicting views of the woman Sally (Nancy Allen) as either a good or a bad girl, and furthermore in his conscious and subconscious distancing from his “dark” doubles, Manny (Dennis Franz) and Burke (John Lithgow), once again highlighting similarities between the film's characters and De Palma's own personal life.

Keywords:   Blow Out, B-movie horror, political conspiracies, Coed Frenzy, female sexuality, genre films

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