This chapter explores how, in postmodern horror cinema, the very formulaic nature of the genre becomes part of an in-joke. Wes Craven's Scream (1996) featured teen characters so familiar with slasher films that they were able to list the generic conventions with ease. The film is often credited with sparking a new wave of so-called 'postmodern' horror cinema, resulting in three direct sequels, a television series, and a slew of imitators, reboots, and re-imaginings. The chapter looks at a film that Craven made two years prior to the first Scream, and which in many respects is closer to the concept of postmodernism as it is more broadly defined. Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994) allowed the director to revisit his most famous creation with a postmodern twist, using reflexivity and circularity to adapt what had gone before and present audiences with something new. Given Craven's fascination with dreams and the overlap between the real and the imaginary, the chapter also discusses surrealism in cinema. Finally, it evaluates the cultural popularity of horror cinema, and how it affects both audiences and film-makers.
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