The New Cinematic Weird argues that weird fiction is rising also in audiovisual culture. Presenting several detailed analyses of weird cinematic works, the book shows how the new cinematic weird is best understood as atmospheric worldings — affective intensities that suffuse the experience of the cinematic weird. The weird exists as an experiential field, an inflation of the world. These worldings disclose a variety of experiences. The book engagingly shows how creepy, unsettling, ominous, uneasy, and eerie atmospheres provide a way into the weird experience. This book is important to anyone interested in the audiovisual weird, cinematic atmospheres, how audiovisual media produce worlds, and how weird fiction challenges our conception of the way the world is.
Steen Ledet Christiansen is professor of popular visual culture at Aalborg University, Denmark.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Feeling Weird
1. Creepiness, Ecstasy, and Weird Narration in The OA
2. Unsettling Time in Dark
3. Ominous Metamorphosis in Starry Eyes
4. Discontinuity and Unease in Stranger Things
5. Eerieness and Disorientation: Channel Zero: Candle Cove and David Bowie’s “Blackstar” and “Lazarus”
6. Unworlding and Disquiet in Annihilation
Conclusion: For the Weird
Christiansen’s brilliant, engaging, and informative text makes a strong argument for cinematic weird’s classification as a genre, albeit underneath the umbrella of fantasy and somewhere between horror and science fiction—what Christiansen refers to as an "interzone." He clarifies what makes weird cinema weird, pointing to the defining elements—atmosphere, narration, and worlding—that combine to create eerie, uncanny cinematic spaces where anything can and does happen. Through an in-depth analysis of film, television, and music videos, the author demonstrates the extent and influence of new cinematic weird on today’s media market…. A must-read for those unfamiliar with new cinematic weird or for those wishing to expand their understanding of it, Christiansen’s text supplies a concise overview with well-chosen examples that help contextualize the techniques used to create the disquieting narrative constructs of these unique, uncanny cinematic landscapes. Recommended. All readers.
It’s a real testament to Steen Christiansen’s work that a category as abstract and slippery as the weird, marked by epistemological difficulty and genre blurring, is described here with such precision and clarity.
Extending critical feelers into the slippery, barely explored labyrinths of televisual and cinematic weirdness, The New Cinematic Weird: Atmospheres and Worldings offers a remarkably precise navigation of the techniques and tropes that evoke the weirdweave of narrative worlds, of looped times and twisted spaces, corporeal ecstasies and dissolutions, repeated undoings of look and sound. Demonstrating the importance of mood, atmosphere and affect to weirdworlding, it pursues smart and rigorously illuminating analyses of the disorienting work of the Weird.
Weirder still, unspeakable, even, in these post-critical times: the powerful revenance of a psychoanalysis dripping with jouissance, nachträglichkeit, uncannies and curious topologies carves out the shredded scaffold from which the rich and ragged worldweave hangs…