‘Bring back lost things’ : The Recovery of Materiality in Contemporary Horror

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Retro horror has been a growing part of the wider horror genre since at least the late 2000s, heralded by such films as House of the Devil (2009): a film in which we can discern two forms of genre nostalgia that are central to this paper. The use of an analogue aesthetic and practical gore effects.

While films such as Evil Dead (2013), The Void (2016) and Censor (2021) eschew computer generated effects and recall the tactile quality of practical make up artistry and puppetry from the 1980s, other recent genre entries such as V/H/S/94 (2021), Archive 81 (2022) and X (2022) prominently feature the visual aesthetics of outmoded media formats. This paper will argue that both of these strands evoke a longing for a horror decades past and its attendant material qualities, while uncovering how they also represent an intriguing intersection between process (the maintaining of and rituals around superseded mediums) and practice (the valorisation of practical over digital effects). This paper will demonstrate that these films are part of a broader analogue approach within the contemporary genre, where the accoutrements of previous eras are recovered and made central once more. Overarchingly, I will present these texts as “love letters” to past horror eras: ones that reinsert materiality as part of their appeal to genre fans, and as part of a process of homage
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2022
EventFear 2000: Horror Undying - Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Hallam, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jul 20223 Jul 2022


ConferenceFear 2000: Horror Undying
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CitySheffield Hallam


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