A cinema of confrontation : using a material-semiotic approach to better account for the history and theorization of 1970s independent American horror
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In The Films in My Life, Francois Truffaut describes how "cinematic success" results from a fragile, temporary confluence of elements: the director, the film itself, and its audience, but also critical reception, marketing, competition, and the zeitgeist in which the film is released. "When a film achieves a certain amount of success," Truffaut observes, "it becomes a sociological event." Accounting for such a sociological event seemingly warrants a sociological approach. Material-semiotic methods have been used in sociology to map relations between people, materials and concepts, and given the similar confluence of elements involved in filmmaking , such methods seem ideal for critical interventions in cinema studies. This thesis offers an example of such a material-semiotic approach to film history and theorization, illustrated through close readings of three films: George Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968), Wes Craven's Last House on the Left (1972), and Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).