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Recreational Terror: Women and the Pleasures of Horror Film Viewing (SUNY Series, Interruptions: Border Testimony(ies) & Critical Discourse/s) Paperback – 10 Jul 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (10 July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791434427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791434420
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 1.1 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,218,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Analyzes how the contemporary horror film produces recreational terror as a pleasurable encounter with violence and danger for female spectators. The author first acknowledges the apparent contradiction in her feminist views and appreciation for horror films. She then challenges the conventional wisdom that violent horror films can only degrade wom --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book. Read it on my under grad and ive come back to it for my PhD. Really good look at some classic horrors, from an excellent feminist perspective. The chapter on SFX is fantastic. If you are interested in horror, screen studies, feminism, or just want an honest look at some classic horrors, then this is for you. No horror scholar should be without it.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Isabel Pinedo as drinking and movie-watching buddy. 16 Oct. 2006
By Robert Beveridge - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Isabel Cristina Pinedo, Recreational Terror: Women and the Pleasures of Horror Film Viewing (State University of New York Press, 1997)

Imagine yourself (assuming you're not one) a hardcore horror film fan, a kind of horror film Trekkie. The kind of person who can spout filmographies from all the big directors and extemporize on, say, the similarities in the subtexts of John Carpenter's The Thing and Craig McMahon's Machined, while taking a five-minute detour in the middle to compare and contrast the differences between Carpenter's and Howard Hawks' visions of the original story on which both versions of The Thing are based (you, of course, know that that story is John W. Campbell's "Who Goes There?"), and how you can tie them all in to Brad Anderson's The Machinist with ease.

Now, aren't you the kind of person who would think to yourself, "man, it would be great to see a feminist reading of Dario Argento's The Stendahl Syndrome!"?

You won't get a reading of Argento here, which I think is one of the book's major failings-- Argento is the kind of director who just begs a feminist interpretation-- but you get a bunch of other interesting stuff, certainly enough to make this book well worth your time (again assuming you're that hardcore horror film geek). You will also find Pinedo failing one of the great acid tests of any critic who deals in horror film-- waxing poetic on the racial overtones of Night of the Living Dead without even hinting that she's aware that they're all accidental. (The casting of Ben Jones was, for all intents and purposes, an accident; Romero and Russo did not specify the race of the character in the script.) But that's not nearly enough to drag down the book's high points. As usual, many of them come in the form of tactful, pistols-at-ten-paces style attacks on other critics whom Pinedo believes have completely missed the mark when interpreting films she is also addressing. This is the kind of stuff that makes books of cultural criticism fun, and you'll get a nice dose of it here (if you want the juicy stuff first, skip forward to Chapter 4 before reading the entire book).

Getting past all that, though, there's the meat of the book to consider, in which Pinedo answers the question of why a woman, and specifically a feminist, would be interested in watching (or, heaven forbid, enjoying) horror films. Needless to say, since we're all human, some of her defenses and discoveries necessarily apply to others who enjoy the occasional blood-soaked good time. As with most critical works, one sometimes gets the feeling that perhaps this is all being overthought, but that doesn't make it any less interesting. Worth a read. You get the feeling it would be a lot of fun to watch horror movies with Pinedo and discuss them afterwards. I'm off to rent The Stendahl Syndrome. ** ½
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