Undead in the West: Vampires, Zombies, Mummies, and Ghosts on the Cinematic Frontier

Undead in the West: Vampires, Zombies, Mummies, and Ghosts on the Cinematic Frontier, Cynthia Miller & A. Bowdoin Van Riper (eds) (Scarecrow Press).

In Undead in the West: Vampires, Zombies, Mummies, and Ghosts on the Cinematic Frontier, Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper have assembled a collection of essays that explore the many tropes and themes through which undead Westerns make the genre’s inner plagues and demons visible, and lay siege to a frontier tied to myths of strength, ingenuity, freedom, and independence. The volume is divided into three sections: “Reanimating Classic Western Tropes” examines traditional Western characters, symbolism, and plot devices and how they are given new life in undead Westerns; “The Moral Order Under Siege” explores the ways in which the undead confront classic values and morality tales embodied in Western films; and “And Hell Followed with Him” looks at justice, retribution, and retaliation at the hands of undead angels and avenger.

The subjects explored here run the gamut from such B films as Curse of the Undead and Billy the Kid vs. Dracula to A-list features like From Dusk ‘til Dawn and Jonah Hex, as well as animated films (Rango) and television programs (The Walking Dead and Supernatural). Other films discussed include Sam Raimi’s Bubba Ho-Tep, John Carpenter’s Vampires, George Romero’s Land of the Dead, and Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West. Featuring several illustrations and a filmography, Undead in the West will appeal to film scholars, especially those interested in hybrid genres, as well as fans of the Western and the supernatural in cinema.

Available here

New Publications – BFI Film Stars Series

The first three books in the BFI Publishing series Film Stars were recently launched on 29 June 2012 at the Screen conference in Glasgow

The series, edited by Martin Shingler and Susan Smith, represents a major reassessment of critical developments in star studies. The mother volume by Martin Shingler maps the field and is supported by individual star case studies from the silent to contemporary period, across Hollywood, European and Asian cinemas. More details from Palgrave.

CFP – Revisiting Star Studies, The Research Centre in Film & Digital Media at Newcastle University, 12-14 June, 2013

The Research Centre in Film & Digital Media at Newcastle University, UK, will host an international conference, Revisiting Star Studies, on June 12-14, 2013.

Keynote speakers: Dr Stephanie Dennison (University of Leeds), Dr Neepa Majumdar (University of Pittsburgh), Prof Yingjin Zhang (University of California-San Diego).

Dr Martin Shingler (University of Sunderland), co-editor of the BFI Film Stars series to be launched in July 2012, will also host a panel on this new project.

Since its inception in the pioneering works of Edgar Morin (Les Stars, 1957) and Richard Dyer (Stars, 1979), studies of film stardom have been strongly associated with Hollywood structures. There have also been numerous valuable contributions to our understanding of stardom in different national cinemas, including recent work by colleagues here at Newcastle. However in all these efforts to explore stardom in a national context, not only does Hollywood often remain the ultimate reference, but Hollywood-generated paradigms often dominate the discussion of non-Hollywood stardom. Many fundamental assumptions in star studies based mainly on Hollywood stars and stardom (such as stars as phenomena of production and consumption, the onscreen and off-screen construction of star personas, and the inter-transferability between stars’ economic  power and cultural power) remain unchallenged.

This conference aims to reassess some of the dominant models in star studies, and generate new critical paradigms that are more appropriate to address non-Hollywood stardom. We also wish to identify under-researched areas in film stardom. Special attention will be given to the analysis of how stars/stardom function-and have functioned–in visual cultures outside Hollywood, such as those in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. However, any papers or panels on the theme of revisiting star studies are welcome. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Stardom in non-Western cultures
  • Transnational acting and performance
  • Star voices
  • Early stardom and pre-star system
  • Stardom and age
  • Religion and stardom
  • Stardom, power, politics
  • Amateur stars, non-professional stars, neo-realist stars
  • Stars in non-capitalist societies (past and present)
  • Pan-African, Pan-Asian and Pan-European stardom
  • Stars and film festivals
  • Stars and fashion
  • Posthumous stardom
  • Fictional characters as stars
  • Anti-stardom, virtual stardom and post-stardom
  • Stardom, fandom and the Internet
  • Stardom, gender, and sexuality
  • Stardom, ethnicity, class

Please send proposals of 250 words maximum and a short bio to Prof Guy Austin & Dr Sabrina Yu at: guy.austin@ncl.ac.uk and Sabrina.yu@ncl.ac.uk by November 19, 2012.

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