“Aesthetic observance of violence”: Transfer Terror in contemporary horror

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper will focus on the tension between analogue and digital in contemporary horror texts and explore how movement between media formats plays into this. In both Sinister (Derrickson, 2012) and its sequel Sinister 2 (Foy, 2015), and Rings (Gutierrez, 2017), supernatural beings reside in analogue media formats—Super 8 film and a VHS tape respectively—but characters transfer images of these beings onto digital formats. The action of doing so enables unbound terror. A character in Sinister 2 describes the recording of horrific murders and supernatural phenomena as "aesthetic observations of violence." The film objects become totemic offerings or iconological records which both contain and control evil, while allowing it to pass from person to person like a curse.
Analogue formats are predominantly used in these texts for aesthetic effect. They amplify a sense of authenticity and an eerie tactile quality recognisable throughout the horror genre’s history, which some would argue is lost in digital media. The Super 8 and VHS mediums themselves are not integral to their effectiveness as supernatural vessels, but rather enhance the horror of the films in which they feature. The transmediation of analogue “aesthetic observation” to digital files, images and video gives the films’ antagonists unprecedented power and additional opportunities to wreak terror and inflict violence.
This paper then, takes the term “transmedia” quite literally, exploring the movement of horror from analogue to digital formats, and the horror, death, and loss that shift engenders.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2021
EventFEAR 2000: Horror Unbound - Sheffield Hallam University
Duration: 10 Sept 202112 Sept 2021


ConferenceFEAR 2000


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