Horror Studies: «Masks in Horror Cinema – Eyes Without Faces» by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

by Nyctophilia

Language: English
Genre(s): Media Film and Theatre
Series: Horror Studies
November 2019
288 pages
Paperback – 9781786834966
eBook – epub – 9781786834980
eBook – mobi – 9781786834997
eBook – pdf – 9781786834973

About The Book

Why has the mask been such an enduring generic motif in horror cinema? This book explores its transformative potential historically across myriad cultures, particularly in relation to its ritual and myth-making capacities, and its intersection with power, ideology and identity. All of these factors have a direct impact on mask-centric horror cinema: meanings, values and rituals associated with masks evolve and are updated in horror cinema to reflect new contexts, rendering the mask a persistent, meaningful and dynamic aspect of the genre’s iconography. This study debates horror cinema’s durability as a site for the potency of the mask’s broader symbolic power to be constantly re-explored, re-imagined and re-invented as an object of cross-cultural and ritual significance that existed long before the moving image culture of cinema.


Introduction – Why Masks? Ritual, Power and Transformation
Chapter One: Situating Masks and Horror Cinema
Part One: Masks, Horror and Cinema: Towards Codification
Chapter Two: Masks and Horror in Literary and Performance Traditions and Early Cinema
Chapter Three: Masks in Horror Film Before 1970
Part Two: Horror Film Masks from 1970
Chapter Four: Skin Masks: Ritual, Power and Transformation
Chapter Five: Blank Masks: Ritual, Power and Transformation
Chapter Six: Animal Masks: Ritual, Power and Transformation
Chapter Seven: Repurposed Masks: Ritual, Power and Transformation
Part Three: Masks as Transformational Technologies – Moving Forward By Looking Back
Chapter Eight: Technological Masks: Ritual, Power and Transformation

About the Author

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas is an Australian film critic, speaker and consultant who specialises in horror, cult and exploitation cinema. She is a researcher at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne.

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