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Dr Steve Jones

Horror. Philosophy. Sex.

The Metamodern Slasher Film

Jones cover.jpg

Argues that contemporary slasher films embody a turn towards the metamodern sensibility

  • Debunks the prevailing idea that the slasher film has consisted mainly of remakes since the mid-2000s via its detailed examination of contemporary American slasher films that have been largely overlooked by critics and scholars

  • Revises dominant understandings of this popular subgenre by accounting for a variety of approaches and techniques – such as hypercoding – that filmmakers use to drive the subgenre forward and to distinguish new slasher films from their predecessors

  • Uses metamodern theory to explain these developments, and to connect these films to a broader cultural shift that foregrounds sincerity and felt experience

  • Makes an intervention by being the first monograph to apply metamodernism to a specific aspect of popular culture in a sustained way, and using that sustained focus to refine the model for future use

  • Accounts for more than 150 films, providing in-depth analysis of 20 key case study films

It is commonly proposed that since the mid-2000s, the slasher subgenre has been dominated by unoriginal remakes of “classics”. Consequently, most original slasher films have been ignored by academics (and critics), leaving the field with a limited understanding of this highly popular subgenre. This book corrects that mischaracterisation by analysing contemporary slasher films that sincerely attempt to innovate within the subgenre. I argue that these films reflect broader cultural turns towards sincerity, optimism in the face of crisis, and an emphasis on felt experience that are indicative of a metamodern sensibility.

This is the first book to use metamodernism to analyse film in a sustained way, and the first academic work to use metamodernism to examine horror. The Metamodern Slasher offers readers new ways to understand the slasher film, the horror genre, and also the cultural moment we find ourselves in.

Below are three talks that draw on the book's content


Chapter synopses

Click on the images below for more information about each chapter


Following in the footsteps of Vera Dika and Carol J. Clover, Steve Jones proposes that the unique tone and sensibility of contemporary slashers are in meaningful dialogue with the theoretical zeitgeist. Elegantly written, exhaustively researched and ambitious in scope, The Metamodern Slasher Film demonstrates that metamodernist frameworks hold real potential to revitalise debates on the cultural value of the horror genre.

– Xavier Aldana Reyes (Manchester Metropolitan University), author of Gothic Cinema (2020) and Horror Film and Affect (2016)

This essential book outlines a valuable new approach to understanding slasher films in their post-postmodern era. Through detailed and compelling analysis, Steve Jones sheds new light on the contemporary subgenre, offers valuable frameworks for understanding metamodernism, and situates the metamodern slasher as another example of the horror genre’s evolutionary potential.

– Laura Mee (University of Hertfordshire), author of Reanimated: The Contemporary American Horror Remake (2022)

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