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Beyond psychoanalysis: post-millennial horror film and affect theory

Aldana Reyes, X (2014) Beyond psychoanalysis: post-millennial horror film and affect theory. Horror studies, 3 (2). pp. 243-262. ISSN 20403283

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Abstract

This article suggests the possibility that psychoanalytic frameworks may prove insufficient to apprehend the workings of post-millennial horror. Through a sustained exploration of how affect theory may be applied to horror, and, more specifically, how it may exceed cognitivism in favour of an understanding of the genre founded on Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of the ‘body without organs’, I consider the implications of a new theoretical approach that accounts for the popularity of films such as Saw (Wan, 2004) and Hostel (Roth, 2005). The article proceeds by considering how psychoanalysis offers limited help in the study of a form of horror that appeals directly to the somatic body. It then considers the potential benefits of a theory that acknowledges its viscerality and its recent three-dimensional investments.

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