1st Edition

Epidemic Cinema The Rise of a Genre

By Julia Echeverría Copyright 2024
    248 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the recent trend in global cinema to feature infectious disease.

    As the global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic materialised the anxieties and discourses of world risk that had long been portrayed in popular media, the book provides a novel definition of the epidemic film genre and offers a systematic look into the narrative and stylistic conventions that characterise it. Epidemic Cinema traces the evolution of the genre from its early cinematic origins to establish the founding principles of a genre standing at the crossroads between science-fiction and horror. It draws on close textual analysis to show how the pandemic reified one of the central predicaments of epidemic narratives: the constant tension existing between free-floating phenomena and the impulse to control and resist such phenomena, ultimately epitomised by the trope of the border. Showing how infectious diseases offer a rich allegorical frame which cinema uses to articulate timely anxieties of growingly invisible and deterritorialised risks, the author presents the prevalence of contagion in popular culture as a symptom of this growingly viral and virus-ridden context, both in its most literal and metaphorical sense.

    This insightful study will interest students and scholars of film studies, global cinema, science-fiction, horror, popular culture and genre theory.


    Chapter 1. Plague-Metaphors in the Age of the Virus

    Chapter 2. The Origins of the Genre

    Chapter 3. Defining the Epidemic Genre

    Chapter 4. Connectivity: Contagion and Viral (Dis)Information

    Chapter 5. Territorial Conversion: Children of Men and Viral Fear

    Chapter 6. Bodily Conversion: Warm Bodies and Viral Love

    Chapter 7. Containment: Blindness and Viral Media




    Julia Echeverría is a Doctor in Film Studies from the University of Zaragoza, Spain, where she works as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Humanities