Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Freddy Krueger and Bordwell

It's been a while since I blogged about what I was working on or my process. This semester with finishing coursework, and acting as the Core Writing Coordinator for my department had me busier than usual, and focused on other things.

But this past week was the last week of classes, and because I had surgery the week before Thanksgiving, I had all my final papers finished and turned in early, so the semester seemed to end early for me workwise. Final grades for one class got finished this morning, and I just have the other class' final papers to grade Monday. So except for some meetings this upcoming week, the semester is finished.

Which is nice, because I have a book chapter on the Nightmare on Elm Street series (1-6) due to my editor next weekend.
I'm excited about this project because it's applying some different theory than I normally use, in this case Bordwell, and the application really came together- the argument that early Nightmare films fit the definition of auteur film, but progress on a continuum towards big Hollywood studio productions by the end of the story. Specifically how the form follows function. I examine three key areas, the form of the film, the evolution of the character of Freddy Krueger as a reflection of the form, and the mis en scene of mirrors/doors/windows.
I only own the entire series on VHS, the collector's box set, and it has seemed fitting to watch them in this medium while I wrote about how practicalities affected the aesthetics of the films, particularly the early ones.
Sitting down to rewatch all the films within a relatively short time period has been a lot of fun, and helped me see more clearly some of the differences from one film to the next. It also seemed fitting given that the films themselves only have a year or two between them.
It's funny what you forget and what you remember. For me, the characterization of Freddy Krueger is cemented in #5: Dream Child, but I also remember that characterization as appearing much earlier in the series, and that's not true. I guess I've "read back" the final evolution onto earlier incarnations.
Anyway, I have one more film to sit down and rewatch and take notes on, and then I'll spend next week writing and revising.

I love the medieval and early modern work I do. But I do find that this type of stuff- looking at folklore and popular culture, certainly comes easier to me. The research seems easier, the writing is definitely easier. I think in part this is because of the community I have with other scholars in this field- they're some of the most supportive, kind people I've ever met and worked with. The comments and feedback is always helpful, looking at improving the work, rather than tearing me down. So I guess it's that the entire experience of research, writing, and reception is great. Not that I haven't had good experiences with medieval and early modern scholars. I guess this is just comes more easily for me, and I still have a hard time believing I get to do this and consider it a job!
Anyway, I won't be posting the actual work, as it's a chapter in an edited collection on the Nightmare series, but I will post publication information as I get it.

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