B Is for Bad Cinema

Aesthetics, Politics, and Cultural Value

Edited by Claire Perkins & Constantine Verevis

Subjects: Film Studies, Popular Culture, Aesthetics
Series: SUNY series, Horizons of Cinema
Paperback : 9781438449968, 274 pages, January 2015
Hardcover : 9781438449951, 274 pages, March 2014

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Table of contents

1. Introduction: B Is for Bad Cinema
Claire Perkins and Constantine Verevis
Part I. Aesthetics
2. Explosive Apathy
Jeffery Sconce

3. B-Grade Subtitles
Tessa Dwyer

4. Being in Two Places at the Same Time: The Forgotten Geography of Rear-Projection
Adrian Danks
5. Redeeming Cruising: Tendentiously Offensive, Coherently Incoherent, Strangely Pleasurable
R. Barton Palmer

6. The Villain We Love: Notes on the Dramaturgy of Screen Evil
Murray Pomerance
7. From Bad to Good and Back to Bad Again? Cult Cinema and Its Unstable Trajectory
Jamie Sexton
Part II. Authorship
8. Coffee in Paradise: The Horn Blows at Midnight
Tom Conley

9. The Risible: On Jean-Claude Brisseau
Adrian Martin
10. The Evil Dead DVD Commentaries: Amateurishness and Bad Film Discourse
Kate Egan
11. Liking The Magus
I. Q. Hunter
12. BADaptation: Is Candy Faithful?
Constantine Verevis

Considers films that lurk on the boundaries of acceptability in taste, style, and politics.


B Is for Bad Cinema continues and extends, but does not limit itself to, the trends in film scholarship that have made cult and exploitation films and other "low" genres increasingly acceptable objects for critical analysis. Springing from discussions of taste and value in film, these original essays mark out the broad contours of "bad"—that is, aesthetically, morally, or commercially disreputable—cinema. While some of the essays share a kinship with recent discussions of B movies and cult films, they do not describe a single aesthetic category or represent a single methodology or critical agenda, but variously approach bad cinema in terms of aesthetics, politics, and cultural value. The volume covers a range of issues, from the aesthetic and industrial mechanics of low-budget production through the terrain of audience responses and cinematic affect, and on to the broader moral and ethical implications of the material. As a result, B Is for Bad Cinema takes an interest in a variety of film examples—overblown Hollywood blockbusters, faux pornographic works, and European art house films—to consider those that lurk on the boundaries of acceptability.

Claire Perkins is Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. She is the author of American Smart Cinema and the coeditor (with Verevis) of Film Trilogies: New Critical Approaches. Constantine Verevis is Associate Professor in Film and Television Studies at Monash University. His previous books include Australian Film Theory and Criticism, Volume 1: Critical Positions (coauthored with Noel King and Deane Williams); Second Takes: Critical Approaches to the Film Sequel (coedited with Carolyn Jess-Cooke), also published by SUNY Press; and Film Remakes.