Through studying images of blood in film from the mid-1950s to the end of the 1960s, this path-breaking book explores how blood as an (audio)visual cinematic element went from predominately operating as a signifier, providing audiences with information about a film’s plot and characters, to increasingly operating in terms of affect, potentially evoking visceral and embodied responses in viewers. Using films such as The Return of Dracula, The Tingler, Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs, Color Me Blood Red, Bonnie and Clyde, and The Wild Bunch, RÃ¸dje takes a novel approach to film history by following one (audio)visual element through an exploration that traverses established standards for film production and reception. This study does not heed distinctions regarding to genres (horror, western, gangster) or models of film production (exploitation, independent, studio productions) but rather maps the operations of cinematic images across marginal as well as more traditionally esteemed cinematic territories. The result is a book that rethinks and reassembles cinematic practices as well as aesthetics, and as such invites new ways to investigate how cinematic images enter relations with other images as well as with audiences.
’How do images of blood and gore work in American cinema? In this book, Kjetil RÃ¸dje discusses, not so much what bloody images mean, as what they do: how they move and perturb us, and why we keep on coming back for more. This book makes a major contribution to affect theory, to film studies, and to the ever-perplexing question of how our culture profoundly changed over the course of that unsettled decade, the 1960s.’ Steven Shaviro, Wayne State University, USA ’Movie blood, Kjetil RÃ¸dje shows, is an assemblage: at once a cinematic image, a material product of inventive special-effects technicians, and an effect in the bodies and minds of audiences. In demonstrating how, over two decades, blood in movies metamorphosed from a sign to an affect, RÃ¸dje’s lively and well-researched book makes a strong contribution to media studies, theory of affect, and interdisciplinary methodology.’ Laura U. Marks, Simon Fraser University, Canada