Horror Studies – Special issue on 1980s Horror Film Culture
Guest Ed, Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlainn, Manchester Metropolitan University.
This special issue will re-evaluate the horror genre in the 1980s and the legacy of this decade in contemporary horror studies. While many disparage the decade as a period of soulless commercialism, avid consumerism and the decade that fashion forgot, the 1980s introduced new modes of communication, new commercial appreciation for horror texts, and is now, in contemporary times, suffused with a sense of nostalgia. The seeds of discontent in our contentious and fractured present were sown in the 1980s, making it an important if divisive decade. It is the decade of Threads, The Terminator, and Ghostbusters (all 1984); ‘stranger danger campaigns’, milk carton kids, and child abductions (Adam Walsh etc); media spectacle, 24 hour news cycles, and numerous ‘shocking’ TV specials; increased and explicit special FX in film and the popularity of ‘plastic reality’; the rise of censorship, the PG13 certificate, the Parental Advisory sticker, ‘video nasties’ and the 1984 Video Recordings Act. It is the last decade of the analogue era before the global advent of the internet.
This special issue is open to submissions on any geographical region or emphasis which evaluates or (re)considers the impact of horror in the 1980s. Topics of interest include but are not limited to texts and contexts around neoliberalism, culture wars; conflict crises, famine, political protest and distrust of government, Alien(ation) and homeland invasion; deadly pathogens, and fearing/fetishising the rise of new technologies; calls for censorship and concerns on increased violence; and a glut of horror-tinged children's fantasy films and TV shows (Knightmare, for example), and horror games. Contemporary culture looks back on this era paradoxically as a period of intense upheaval and neo-conservative backlash, while simultaneously fetishizing it through retro-horror nostalgia. Most striking of all, Hollywood is currently cycling through remakes/reboots featuring the decade's most iconic monsters and monster hunters, including A Nightmare on Elm Street; Halloween, Poltergeist, Friday the 13th, Ghostbusters, IT, Hellraiser etc. As a logical, if nightmarish, persistence of this nostalgia, the ascension of Donald Trump to the American Presidency in 2016 consolidates many aspects of 1980s American ideals turned nightmare, which may continue its purchase in US culture. On the whole, this special edition of Horror Studies looks back and examines the darkness of the decade as a distinct disjuncture in recent cultural history.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
- The 1980s and Postmodern horror
- The ‘serial killer’ decade in popular culture (TV culture, cases, Ramirez, Bundy, Nilsen etc.)
- Horror and politics (i.e. neoliberalism/deregulation etc)
- Remaking (and revisiting) 1980s films and aesthetics today
- 1980s film and TV industry practices (sequels, mini-series, film to TV adaptations etc)
- Explicit versus implicit horror/terror
- Horror Literature of the 1980s
- Body Horror/ Splatterpunk and reshaping the flesh
- Film and TV adaptations of 1980s texts
- Horror and 80s music and subcultures
- Nostalgia for 1980s horror programming
- Analogue vs digital horror (including VHS culture)
- Horror games (i.e board games/computer games etc)
- Film franchises/reboots/remakes
- 80s Fantasy Horror
Submissions due Monday, 17 January 2022
Decisions and/or Requests for Revisions by Monday, 07 March 2022
Revisions due Monday, 02 May 2022
Manuscript into Press by late June 2022
Published autumn 2022.