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Science Fiction Double FeatureThe Science Fiction Film as Cult Text$
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J. P. Telotte and Gerald Duchovnay

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381830

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381830.001.0001

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“It’s Alive!”: The Splattering of SF Films

“It’s Alive!”: The Splattering of SF Films

(p.53) 3. “It’s Alive!”: The Splattering of SF Films
Science Fiction Double Feature

Stacey Abbott


The 1970s produced an increasingly independent and confrontational approach to cinema in terms of both narrative content and aesthetic display. Filmmakers broke violently with film-making conventions through splatter cinema, which sought to mortify audiences with scenes of explicit gore. This chapter examines the manner in which the science fiction (sf) genre was cultified not just through ‘splatter’ imagery, but through the ‘splattering’ of sf tropes themselves, particularly those surrounding the science/military machine and the creation of monsters, within the changing production context of the 1960s/1970s that privileged independent film production typified by cult auteurs George Romero, Larry Cohen, and David Cronenberg. It considers how the conventions of exploitation merged with sf to create a series of subversive texts, targeted at the growing cult cinema audience of the 1970s, whose ‘interests and concerns — drugs, rock music, sexual experience, alienation from their parents and established society — clearly surfaced in such films’. This new confrontational aesthetic made sf an ideal genre with which to express the cultural rupture at the heart of the decade.

Keywords:   splatter movies, splatter cinema, science fiction, cult film, graphic imagery, exploitation, subversive texts, sf genre

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