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Studying Horror Cinema$
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Bryan Turnock

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325895

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325895.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

In the Realm of the Fantastic

In the Realm of the Fantastic

Chapter:
(p.59) Chapter 3 In the Realm of the Fantastic
Source:
Studying Horror Cinema
Author(s):

Bryan Turnock

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781911325895.003.0004

This chapter investigates 'the realm of the fantastic'. According to philosopher Tzvetan Todorov, such a state exists only as long as there is indecision over whether the event is indeed a supernatural occurrence or a product of the imagination; once this is determined, one leaves the realm of the fantastic for that of either the 'marvellous' or the 'uncanny'. The chapter considers Jacques Tourneur's Cat People (1942), the first in a series of 'fantastic' horror films produced by Val Lewton for RKO Pictures in the 1940s. Famous for their use of suggestion and ambiguity, they are widely regarded as classics of the genre. Like Universal Studios before it, RKO used the horror film to transform itself into a major Hollywood force, injecting new life into a genre that had by then become staid and predictable. Their success came at a time of mounting problems for the majors, and when independent studios and film-makers began to play an increasingly important role in the industry.

Keywords:   Jacques Tourneur, Cat People, fantastic horror films, Val Lewton, RKO Pictures, horror genre, horror films, independent film studies, independent film-makers

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