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Contemporary Thai horror film: a monstrous hybrid

Ainslie, Mary Jane (2012) Contemporary Thai horror film: a monstrous hybrid. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This thesis aims to dispute derogatory and disdainful attitudes towards contemporary Thai film, ones that follow a long history of viewing Thailand and Thai culture as inferior. Through conducting a case study of the popular horror genre I illustrate that New Thai cinema follows a hybrid film form that has resulted in such condescending interpretations. This is an amalgamation of an earlier post-war 'characteristically Thai' film style that is a product of the lower-class rural context and the globally dominant EuroAmerican 'Natural Language' of horror. Furthermore, I illustrate that while Thai film in the post-war era targeted the provincial lower-classes, the post-97 New Thai industry has now shifted to an elite-sponsored model that promotes social conformity in the face of social crisis. My research indicates that the continued presence of lower-class characteristics from this earlier era of film disrupts the ideologically conservative agenda of New Thai productions and functions as a traumatic expression of lower-class subjectivity in this increasingly elitist age. The film form of contemporary Thai productions can therefore ultimately be attributed to the continuing and increasing level of social inequality within the country and the increasing political polarisation of Thai society in recent years.

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