The poster image from the film [REC]3, a woman in a wedding dress holding a chainsaw


Date(s) - Thu. Feb. 18, 2021
7:30 pm EST - 8:45 pm EST

Vicente Rodríguez Ortega

$10 BUY TICKETS HERE or buy a Miskatonic NYC Full Semester pass for $40 HERE

In the 1980s and early 1990s Horror Cinema had mostly disappeared from the Spanish film industry due to a variety of factors, most remarkably the marginalization of genres through the introduction of a series of legislative changes that favored auteur films. This situation radically changed in the mid 1990s with the arrival of a younger generation of filmmakers that attempted to make it new, often looking inwards (the very history of Spanish cinema) and outwards (international forms of cultural engagement) in order to appeal to the younger generations of film spectators. In this regard, two films, Tesis (Alejandro Amenábar, 1996) and The Day of the Beast (Álex de la Iglesia, 1995) are key landmarks, deploying horror categories and tropes within a dynamic of generic hybridization. In this respect, Tesis also is particularly pioneering in as much as it utilized the “imperfect aesthetics” of digital video. Thus, the film explicitly connects with the wider Spanish mediascape of the 1990s and the rise of reality TV and its characteristic visual “noise” as a key strategy to engage spectators.

In the late 20th century and early 21st century, new directors such as Jaume Balagueró, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Paco Plaza, J.A. Bayona or Amenábar himself radically changed the contours of Spanish horror through a fundamental strategy: the internationalization of the national film output from an aesthetic and industrial viewpoint to appeal to both the domestic and foreign markets. In this context, this session will continue through a detailed analyzes of the four installments of the [Rec] franchise (Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza), a series of films that extensively uses the imperfect aesthetics of video, and, simultaneously epitomizes the configuration of Horror as the main exportable asset for the national film industry. While discussing the specificities of the above-mentioned films, this session will connect Spanish horror with other international films that deploy the imperfect aesthetic of video as a key stylistic feature, such as The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield.

To sum up, the session will analyze the main industrial dynamics at the core of contemporary Spanish cinema and also scrutinize a variety of aesthetic strategies in order to pin down one of its dominant trends—the mix of filmic and videographic imagery—exploring also how they relate to transnational modes of address and spectatorial engagement. We will seek to answer the following question: taking horror as a case study, in what ways and how can we speak about Spanish national cinema or should we find an alternative template or conceptualization to define the studied body of works?

Please note these are live events – they cannot be downloaded and watched later, so please be sure you are available at the time and timezone the classes are being offered in before registering.