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Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film Paperback – 1 Apr 1993


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: BFI Publishing; New edition edition (1 April 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851704190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851704197
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.4 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 850,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Je Hoare on 3 May 2007
As a graduate in Film Studies I read my fair share of spirit-crushing texts. Wittgenstein? Freud? The notoriously difficult Lacan? Then once in a while you'd get something nice and airy come along and Carol J Clover's Men, Women and Chainsaws was an absolute breath of fresh air.

Clover's study of gender and spectatorship in the modern horror film wrestles with Freudian analysis but does so in such a lucid and entertaining way that I'm sure her ideas could be understood and used in a secondary school classroom. At the same time, it's not as if Clover's book will not challenge the more experienced reader of cultural theory.

Do the pleasures of the modern horror film really begin and end in sadism? Not so, claims Clover. Because in the early days, while some movie-goers have walked out in disgust at those who seemingly revel in the overtly sexual violence meted out to women in such films, they are as a result not around to see how these supposed sadists-in-the-theatre change their allegiance at the last, cheering on the Final Girl (it's always a girl left at the end of the slasher movie) as she fells her almost-always-male assailant. Not only that, says Clover, but it's presumptuous to think that the male spectator always undertakes a sadistic roll where slasher spectatorship is concerned. She argues the possibility that the joy to be had for the male viewer is one of homosexual transgression, in which he actually forms an identification with the female protagonist and her violent ordeal, with all its perversely sexual overtones. The same principle, then, as in the theory that men actually identify less with male players than with the women in porn movies - playing out the fantasy of being dominated rather than being the dominator.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Feb 2000
This is the only authorative book on the subject of the representation of women in the popular genre of horror films. It provides a detailed and thoughtful analysis of key films. As a teacher of Media Studies I have used it as a core text. It is a really lively and accessable read for all.
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