Monday, June 14, 2010

PCE – Literature, Media & Cultural Studies: the Film of the Book 13.30 – 14.40

Facilitator: Robert Hill

This is third session in this pre-conference event. The session leader was both informative and most entertaining. His witty quotes and comments added a special flavour to his presentation of the relationship between films and the books on which they are based. He started by his nice play on words: Horrorgate—which sums up nicely his choice of horror novels and their various related screen reproductions. It was most humorous to hear about how Edger Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death relates to recent H1N5 and H1N1 scares. His illustration of the most recommended sneezing habits was memorable comparing the most recent sneezing tradition as The Dracula Sneeze—chosen as the most creative word of 2009 by the American Dialect Society. His most comic quote was about how IMDb includes the best and the worst reviews on the Web. “It was said that if you give a million words to a million people and they’d produce Shakespeare-like works. But the Internet has proves us wrong!”

The presenter gave examples from two interesting websites: and the famous website. The session was full of illustrative activities of how to use posters and books covers to elicit information about the films and/or books. The presenter particularly focused on Frankenstein and Dracula.

The presenter raised issues, such as the mismatch between seeing and describing posters and book covers, the emphasis placed on various visual elements (women, weapons, thunder, etc), the use of images, taglines, quotes, etc, and the choice of best posters even if you end up creating one yourself. He also used some recent film posters (Twilight) to highlight themes of contamination, hybridization, allusion, and intertextuality. He contrasted this one with the poster of Underworld where there are clichéd echoes of other films, such as Matrix, Seven, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Hulk.

The presenter nicely concluded by the idea of maintaining human-like features—i.e. the noble savage—of a monster in films. The implication is that these monsters can somehow be identified with.

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