Spectacles Of Death Jeffrey Sconce Analysis

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In the article “Spectacles of Death: Identification, Reflexivity, and Contemporary Horror,” Jeffrey Sconce compares two wildly different films (“Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” and “Freddy’s Dead”) as a way to explain how self-reflexivity and identification make the films all the more appealing to its demographic audience. In all films, the “enunciator” crafts a window of “psychological reality” where the spectator identifies with the visual field as a bona fide reality through the use of editing, natural lighting and other magic tricks in order to amplify realism and even enjoyment, no matter how absurd the themes or story. A true Hollywood film “sets out to erase or at least obscure all marks of enunciation” (Sconce 107). By doing this, …show more content…
It’s horrifying, it’s comedic, but most of all, it’s a paradox. The audience is essentially watching the making of a horror film, using all the familiar elements to the genre to its surprising advantage. It’s a film within a film, playing not as entertainment, but rather as a sacrificial offering to ancient gods living below the surface of earth. The audience is different, but our sadistic voyeurism remains true. We wish to see these characters die gruesomely, as do the ancient gods threatening global destruction. The five teenagers in this film are watching a production play out. They are immersed completely; convinced psychologically (and physically) that everything around them is legitimate. But they are not in control. They are witnessing a story unfold right before their eyes and it is the job of Sitterson and Hadley to make sure all signs of enunciation are, technically, enunciated. Otherwise, the “film,” if you will, would be a failure. The end result is a remarkable one. It’s a contradiction, yet makes complete sense. The film’s use of reflexivity helps the audience identify not with the environment, or even the characters, but rather, to the horror genre

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