Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Biberman, Steven Matthew


Violence in mass media--Psychological aspects


This thesis is about graphic representations of violence and subjectivity. Simply stated, the violence in many recent horror films is motivated by a nihilism resulting from frustration with the inadequacy of contemporary subjectivity. I want to explore the potential such representations have for providing a means of radically undermining the contemporary category of subjectivity. This subversion is due to what I call the inverted mirror stage effect in combination with a particular dislocation of the audience that is associated with the spectacle of violence displayed in contemporary, or postmodern, horror films. My theoretical approach is a cultural materialist psychoanalytic one that facilitates the traversal of the gap between individual and society by focusing attention not merely on society as a product of individuals, or vice versa, but instead upon the dynamic interaction of the two. Also, this essay draws upon the work of several feminist film theorists, including Carol J. Clover, Judith Halberstam, and Laura Mulvey.