The American Nightmare Analysis

Powerful Essays
Stan Maria
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Proto-Indie Phenomenon

In his article, The American Nightmare – Horror in the 70s, Robin Wood tries to take the American horror movie and put it in a suggestive context, both historically and socially, exemplifying trough movies that made history by their violence, gore and the shock they created to the mental matrix of the society living in that age. He believes that trying to define those ages as the Golden Age of the American horror film is a brave thing to do, using comparisons for each of their characteristics: more gruesome, more violent, more disgusting, and perhaps more confused. He also believes that the core of the movie itself – the disturbance – is a crucial thing shared exhaustively
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In this sense, on the one hand, the basic repression is what makes us human, is the consciousness and the ability of being inherently zoon politikon, a social animal and, on the other hand, the surplus repression is what makes us individual regarding the social scheme we live in. What is more important in this surplus label is the fact that it is constructed on oppositions to the unwanted pariahs of the society, who are seen just as crazy or revolutionary if they do not become part of the a homogeneous mass of monogamous heterosexual bourgeois patriarchal capitalists. Following up, Wood offers a broader perspective upon the dichotomies created in the social world. He states that our modern culture is the best example for the surplus repressiveness and what we repress is not accessible to the conscious mind. Also, following Marx’s theory about alienated labor, Wood suggests that the results of the patriarchal capitalism are ranging from frustration to dissatisfaction, from possessiveness to jealousy, in a merry-go-round of individualism and…show more content…
Firstly, Wood considers The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as being Progressive. Although, this label is paradoxical, for that it is otherizing a group (and in this case we talk about the Proletariat, the unemployed meatpackers become the Monster which attacks the helpless young generation) in order to elevate itself above an imagined mainstream. It is fairly unusual to consider something progressive while it positions itself as better than something else.
On the other hand, Newman’s framework can be applied to this genre which can be seen as a proto-indie phenomenon, being called super-low-budget, indie-before-there-were-indies horror flick. The distinguishing of the progressive horror wave from other horror movies (which can be seen as the alternativeness) is completed by the actions of their creators and the innovation they bring to the time’s cinematography (which makes them autonomous) and by the themes represented in a innovative way (making them authentic). Wood succinctly describes it by comparing it in opposition to a Hollywood horror movie by words such as low budget, unpolished, non-bourgeois exploitation, bad family, traditional values negated, and, what is the most important, parent figures destroy
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