The connoisseurship of the condemned - A Serbian Film, The Human Centipede 2 and the appreciation of the abhorrent

Kenneth Weir, Stephen Dunne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The aesthetic appreciation of horror film remains inseparable from concerns with personal and public morality: the reception of A Serbian Film and The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence offers two compelling cases in point. Both films were heavily cut by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) prior to their release and both continue to provoke impassioned moral objections. Such moral opprobrium is simultaneously dismissed as exaggerated – hysterical, even – by others. The situation merits empirical analysis. By codifying 1,338 publicly available reviews into a series of response matrices, this essay demonstrates how proportionately significant the question of morality was for these two film’s audiences. The essay also compares and contrasts the grounds for assessment used by critical and lay audience members. The work seeks to contribute to our understanding of the reception of the extreme horror/torture porn genre and to provide an empirically grounded account of an audience which is often dogmatically presumed to require protectionist censorship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-99
Number of pages22
JournalParticipations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies
Volume11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

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