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Title: A View to a Killing : the emergence, evolution and establishment of the teen slasher film, 1974-1981
Author: Nowell, Richard
ISNI:       0000 0001 1851 7700
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2009
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In late 1980, eleven films that shared the same basic story-structure were produced by North American independent filmmakers. Each of these films depicted a shadowy blade-wielding killer stalking and murdering a group of hedonistic young people in an everyday setting. As of summer 1980, only four examples of this type of film had ever been shown in US theatres. By the time that most of the eleven films had been distributed in summer 1981, a new filmtype had been widely recognised by industry personnel. the trade and popular press and young theatregoers. This thesis examines the emergence. evolution and establishment of that film-type between 1974 and 1981. I combine textual and industry analyses to explain the developments that caused the first cycle of the teen slasher film to unfold. Whereas scholars and popular writers have typically framed teen slashers as ultra-violent exploitation that was crafted for the drive-in circuit and for male patrons, this thesis demonstrates that production and textual content were governed by different principles. I show that independent filmmakers actually fashioned teen slashers like Black Christmas (1974), Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980) to appeal to major studio distributors. To increase their chances of securing a distribution deal from these companies, filmmakers selfregulated violent content, mobilised textual elements from contemporaneous blockbusters and crafted their films to appeal to female as well as male youth. The thesis builds upon the work of industry historians such as David A. Cook, Peter Kramer and Thomas Schatz to contribute to understandings of Hollywood in the mid-to-late 1970s and early 1980s. It also looks to enrich understandings of the US and Canadian independent sectors in this period. The case of the teen slasher reveals that these segments of the North American film industry were more heavily intertwined than has been commonly assumed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available