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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, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

American Independent Horror

American Independent Horror

(p.139) Chapter 7 American Independent Horror
Studying Horror Cinema

Bryan Turnock

Liverpool University Press

This chapter assesses the emergence of American independent horror, looking at George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968). By the mid-1960s, the traditional Hollywood studio system was responsible for only around 20 per cent of America's film production. The remainder came from independent film-makers and from films made outside of the United States, where labour and locations were cheaper. The 'New Wave' movements in countries such as Japan, France, Britain, and Czechoslovakia introduced new styles of film-making to American cinemagoers, who found them an attractive alternative to the classical Hollywood feature film. As such, the late 1960s saw enormous changes in American cinema, including within the horror genre. Influenced by social, political and cultural upheavals occurring in the country at the time, 1968 is often cited as the dawn of the 'modern American horror film'. The chapter considers how political and social turmoil in America led to a growing number of independent film-makers actively working against the industry establishment, taking advantage of the heavily diminished influence of the major studios, and producing films which rejected Hollywood conservatism and deliberately pushed the boundaries of acceptability.

Keywords:   American independent horror, George A. Romero, Night of the Living Dead, independent film-makers, independent film-making, American cinema, horror genre, modern American horror film, Hollywood conservatism

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