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Date of Award
Thesis-ISU Access Only
Master of Arts (MA)
Department of English
Director James Wan, best known as a co-creator of Saw (2004), has a preoccupation with the uncanniness of time, as is evidenced by his post-Saw horror films, Dead Silence (2007), Insidious (2010), The Conjuring (2013), and Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013). In these films, Wan grapples with the uncanny and temporality in two ways: first, he spatially orients his signature red and black color palette in the mise-en-scéne, the red of which cues his viewers to the return of a repressed past; and second, he creates uncanny doubles of iconic horror films by pastiching their narrative frameworks and elements, along with cinematography, which in turn produces the disruptive sense of déjà vu for viewers who recognize the ghostly homage to “classic” horror cinema. Rather than critiquing the genre’s past that haunts him, however, Wan uncritically reconstructs nostalgia-infused representations of the horror films from the neo-horror era that he admires. His post-Saw films therefore take part in a larger trend within horror cinema that I term nostalgia horror, a symptom of Americans’ frustrations with the present cultural-historical moment that has given rise to a longing for the past. Wan’s newest horror film, The Conjuring 2 (2016), displays the director’s signature color palette, but further research is required to determine whether or not pastiche plays a role in constructing an uncanny temporal relationship to the past, and therefore whether or not this film adds another entry to the nostalgia horror trend Wan has thus far helmed.
Parish, Cody Herman, "Grappling with the Uncanniness of Time in the Post-Saw Horror Films of James Wan" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. 591.