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Screening Loss: An Exploration of Grief in Contemporary Horror Cinema

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Horror films have long held a place in cinematic history as an expression of the monstrous, the un-nameable, and the unknown. They are a powerful point of catharsis in which viewers see their deepest fears played out onscreen, whether the threat is fully embodied or less concretely defined. As a result, grief and loss have always figured heavily in this genre.

This collection addresses horror films’ treatment of loss, specifically grief and how grief shapes, magnifies, and escalates the horrific. Selected films should be from the last twenty years. This contemporary approach will lend the collection a sense of urgency. Moreover, in addition to conventional horror films, we highly support explorations of less frequently examined films that contain a high degree of complexity in content and aesthetics. A24 films are the perfect example of this. Additionally, examinations of genre-defying films such as Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer and David Lowery’s A Ghost Story are especially encouraged.

We value inclusivity and welcome abstracts that focus on international films as well as those who are historically underrepresented.

The book is structured to be a reader for film seminars as well as a tool for research. As a result, each chapter will focus on a single film. And, while the chapters are narrow in this sense, we fully expect that contributors will wish to reference other films and works of art in their essays.

We welcome all theoretical approaches. Likewise, given the interdisciplinary nature of this collection, we invite abstracts from academics not only in film studies, English, and communications, but also psychology and sociology.

Suggestions for films include but are not limited to:

·       Ari Aster’s Midsommer (2019)

·       Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer’s Pet Sematary (2019)

·       Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

·       Robert Eggers’s The VVitch (a.k.a. The Witch) (2015)

·       Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook (2014)

·       Ari Aster’s Hereditary (2018)

·       David Lowery’s A Ghost Story (2017)

·       Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2015)

·       Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook (2014)

·       Tomas Alfredson’s Låt den Rätte Komma (Let the Right One In) (2008)

·       J. A. Bayona’s El Orfanato (The Orphanage) (2007)

·       Lars von Trier’s Antichrist (2009)

·       Takashi Miike’s Ôdishon (Audition) (1999)

Please submit a 500-word chapter abstract and a biography of no more than 250 words by September 30, 2019 to . All abstracts will be given full consideration. We will notify all applicants of the results by October 31, 2019. If selected, the contributor has until June 30, 2020 to submit her/his/their completed chapters.

The volume is intended for publication through Lexington Books, who has expressed interest in this project.

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