Post-9/11 Heartland Horror: Rural horror films in an era of urban terrorism, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Post-9/11 Heartland Horror

Rural horror films in an era of urban terrorism, 1st Edition

By Victoria McCollum


138 pages

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Hardback: 9781472465818
pub: 2016-07-04
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This book explores the resurgence of rural horror following the events of 9/11, as a number of filmmakers, inspired by the films of the 1970s, moved away from the characteristic industrial and urban settings of apocalyptic horror, to return to American heartland horror. Examining the revival of rural horror in an era of city fear and urban terrorism, the author analyses the relationship of the genre with fears surrounding the Global War on Terror, exploring the films’ engagement with the political repercussions of 9/11 and the ways in which traces of traumatic events leave their mark on cultures.

Arranged around the themes of dissent, patriotism, myth, anger and memorial, and with attention to both text and socio-cultural context in its interpretation of the films’ themes, Post-9/11 Heartland Horror offers a series of case studies covering a ten-year period to shed light on the manner in which the Post-9/11 Heartland Horror films scrutinize and unravel the events, aspirations, anxieties, discourses, dogmas, and socio-political conflicts of the post-9/11 era. As such, it will appeal to scholars and students of film studies, cultural studies and media studies, and those with interests in the relationship between popular culture and politics.


'Victoria McCollum peers into the dark forest of America after September 11 with Post 9/11 Heartland Horror. Her brilliant new work examines how horror films, including some of its most transgressive subgenres, deal with memory, ideology, and the often competing claims of nationalism, American exceptionalism and cultural sorrow. Historians and American Studies scholars will find rich material here in exploring how popular culture has tried to explain to itself the 'war on terrorr'.

Professor W. Scott Poole, College of Charleston, USA and author of Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting

'A significant intervention in American studies, film and media studies, and cultural studies, Post-9/11 Heartland Horror illuminates the emergence of a transgressive new sub-genre of post-9/11 rural-set horror films. Horror fans, students, and researchers will find McCollum’s insightful analyses of heartland horror films lively, accessible, and fascinating.'

Associate Professor Emily Satterwhite, Virginia Tech, USA

Table of Contents

Foreword by Emily Satterwhite



1. The Unbearable Unrightness of the Righteous & Sympathy for the Devil: War on Dissent, Forced Loyalties & Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

2. Divided We Fall: Fear God! & Loathe Thy Neighbour: Bush’s Demand For Patriotic Correctness & Smith’s Red State (2011)

3. The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together: Contesting Truth, Contempt For Weakness & Paxton’s Frailty (2002)

4. Malev(i)olence, Malevolence & Misogyny: 9/11, Gender, Torture & McKee’s The Woman (2011)

5. ‘Knock ‘Em Dead’: Bush’s White House Of Horrors: Post-9/11 Memorial Mania & Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat (2007)



Films Cited

Music Cited


About the Author

Victoria McCollum is Lecturer in Cinematic Arts in the School of Creative Arts and Technologies at Ulster University (Northern Ireland).

About the Series

The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture

Dedicated to a renewed engagement with culture, this series fosters critical, contextual analyses and cross-disciplinary examinations of popular culture as a site of cultural politics. It welcomes theoretically grounded and critically engaged accounts of the politics of contemporary popular culture and the popular dimensions of cultural politics. Without being aligned to a specific theoretical or methodological approach, The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture publishes monographs and edited collections that promote dialogues on central subjects, such as representation, identity, power, consumption, citizenship, desire and difference. Offering approachable and insightful analyses that complicate race, class, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability and nation across various sites of production and consumption, including film, television, music, advertising, sport, fashion, food, youth, subcultures and new media, The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture welcomes work that explores the importance of text, context and subtext as these relate to the ways in which popular culture works alongside hegemony.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General