Apocalyptic Dread: American Film at the Turn of the Millennium

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SUNY Press, Mar 8, 2007 - Social Science - 195 pages
In Apocalyptic Dread, Kirsten Moana Thompson examines how fears and anxieties about the future are reflected in recent American cinema. Through close readings of such films as Cape Fear, Candyman, Dolores Claiborne, Se7en, Signs, and War of the Worlds, Thompson argues that a longstanding American apocalyptic tradition permeates our popular culture, spreading from science-fiction and disaster films into horror, crime, and melodrama. Drawing upon Kierkegaard s notion of dread that is, a fundamental anxiety and ambivalence about existential choice and the future Thompson suggests that the apocalyptic dread revealed in these films, and its guiding tropes of violence, retribution, and renewal, also reveal deep-seated anxieties about historical fragmentation and change, anxieties that are in turn displaced onto each film s particular monster, whether human, demonic, or eschatological.
 

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Contents

Apocalyptic Dread Kierkegaard and the Cultural Landscape of the Millennium
1
Cape Fear and Trembling
29
Strange Fruit Candyman and Supernatural Dread
59
Dolores Claiborne Memorial Dread
83
Se7en in the Morgue Dystopian Dread
105
Signs of the End of the World Apocalyptic Dread
127
War of the Worlds Uncanny Dread
145
Notes
155
Works Cited
175
Index
181
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Kirsten Moana Thompson is Associate Professor of Film Studies at Wayne State University and coeditor (with Terri Ginsberg) of Perspectives on German Cinema.

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