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Sex, Sadism, Spain, and Cinema

The Spanish Horror Film

Nicholas G. Schlegel

Hardback
eBook
From 1968 to 1977, Spain experienced a boom in horror-movie production under a restrictive economic system established by the country’s dictator, Francisco Franco. Despite hindrance from the Catholic Church and Spanish government, which rigidly controlled motion picture content, hundreds of horror films were produced during this ten-year period. This statistic is even more remarkable when compared with the output of studios and production companies in the United States and elsewhere at the same time. What accounts for the staggering number of films, and what does it say about Spain during this period?

In
Sex, Sadism, Spain, and Cinema: The Spanish Horror Film, Nicholas G. Schlegel looks at movies produced, distributed, and exhibited under the crumbling dictatorship of General Franco. The production and content of these films, the author suggests, can lead to a better understanding of the political, social, and cultural conditions during a contentious period in Spain’s history. The author addresses the complex factors that led to the “official” sanctioning of horror films—which had previously been banned—and how they differed from other popular genres that were approved and subsidized by the government. In addition to discussing the financing and exhibiting of these productions, the author examines the tropes, conventions, iconography, and thematic treatments of the films. Schlegel also analyzes how these movies were received by audiences and critics, both in Spain and abroad. Finally, he looks at the circumstances that led to the rapid decline of such films in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

By examining how horror movies thrived in Spain during this decade, this book addresses a sorely neglected gap in film scholarship and also complements existing literature on Spanish national cinema.
Sex, Sadism, Spain, and Cinema will appeal to fans of horror films as well as scholars of film history, European history, genre studies, and cultural studies.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 232Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-5115-1 • Hardback • June 2015 • $79.00 • (£52.95)
978-1-4422-5116-8 • eBook • June 2015 • $75.00 • (£49.95)
Nicholas G. Schlegel is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Alfred University. His interests include cult, exploitation and horror cinema with a global emphasis and his essays have appeared in a number of anthologies including Draculas, Vampires, and other Undead Forms: Essays on Gender, Race, and Culture (Scarecrow Press, 2009).
Foreword
Preface: Black Spanish Blood
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part I: History
1: From “Repression” to “Possession!”
Part II: The Films
2: Blood Across Borders: The International Co-productions
3: The Hidden Steps: The National Productions
4: Selections for Further Consideration
Part III: What’s Past Is Prologue
5: Aftermath and Rebirth
Appendix
Selective Filmography
Bibliography
Index
About the Author
Published scholarship on horror cinema has increased dramatically in recent years, and now Schlegel provides a readable, informative history of the genre in Spain. As Schlegel observes, the Spanish horror film has been understudied; he seeks to fill that gap with this study, which is the first English-language book on the subject. Taking a contextual approach significantly influenced by Fredric Jamesons The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act Schlegel conceives of his project as a cultural history through textual and industrial analysis. He fruitfully examines the socioeconomic, political, cultural, and historical contexts in which Spanish horror movies were produced in the boom period 19681977. Specific topics examined include Francoist censorship, the financing and marketing of Spanish national productions and international co-productions, manifestations of the zombie subgenre in Spain, and the Euro-horror tradition as manifested in several selected films. Schlegel offers close readings of key feature films, e.g., El jorobado de la Morgue . . . .The book's scholarly apparatus is thorough. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.
CHOICE


As a history buff and a horror film enthusiast, I found the book particularly rewarding and admired the way it used extensive research to explore how social, political and economic unrest can manifest in movies that have all too often been regulated to the trash bins of cinema history . . . [The book includes] insightful essays on some of the best horror films made during the period . . . Schlegel expertly blends scholarship with measured enthusiasm to deliver a valuable text that should appeal to genre novices as well as aficionados.
TCM's Movie Morlocks


Sex, Sadism, Spain, and Cinema : The Spanish Horror Film belongs to the canon of work in which valuable academic rigor is balanced with a cinephile's passion for the 'depreciated genre' par excellence -- the horror film. Nicholas G. Schlegel, a film historian who has previously written about the Mexican and Japanese horror movies, brings a considerable amount of information to the area of Spanish horror … [This is] an indispensable book for the English language market; we can only hope that its author will publish a second volume.
Hypotheses.org


[Schlegel] has written an amazing book about Spanish horror. . . .[The author's]interaction to historical settings, to historical events . . . and everything [else] that you have in the book . . . [makes it] one of the best ones I’ve ever read . . . I was very impressed that a person who is not Spanish could have done something so great about our culture.
Spanishfear.com-Horror Rises From Spain


Sex, Sadism, Spain, and Cinema is as much for fans of horror films as it is for scholars of film history and cultural studies. It is the best book on the subject. This book is very well-referenced and well-researched. It should be part of university film courses.
The Washington BookReview


[The book] represents a wonderful way of approaching our cinematography for those who want to enter on Spanish horror cinema of that time, but also for the scholars in the subject, since it offers a point of view free of nostalgia or favoritism, and lacking any kind of prejudice. . . .Proyecto Naschy strongly recommends [this book] to anyone interested in Spanish horror cinema.
Proyecto Naschy


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