Tuesday, 7 December 2010

@ Phil, Postmodernism

Phil, as you know i am writing my postmodernism essay on 'Scream', i thought about writing the essay based on the Scream trilogy but thought it would be more concise if i just write about the one film. I have been doing research and gathering key ideas to discuss in the essay but seem to have come to a halt, i think this is due to the title of my essay and how i have not really got one. The ideas i want to convey in this essay is basically how the film is postmodern due to its self awareness and knowledge of existing horror films, as well as possibly mentioning its multiple references and act of homage to other films. But am also struggling in relating the film to certain postmodern theories. The title for my essay which i have thought of so far quite literally consist of 'Why Scream is a visual example of postmodernism'.

Some key words which i think should be in essay include:

The Avant Garde



The Nostalgia Mode

Marcel Duchamp; Fountain (1917), L.H.O.O.Q (1919)

Sherrie Levine; After Walker Evans (1979), Fountain (1991)

Scream; Self awareness, film references, slasher movie formula

Scary Movie, spoof of a pastiche

Is this too much information, i was not sure where to pin point and what would be useful but at the same time irrelevant. I did want to speak to you in person as this would have been more simple to work out, but missed you earlier : )

Cheers, Rich


  1. Hey Rich - cutting it a bit fine, perhaps?

    Okay - yes, sticking to the original movie is a good idea.

    Scream is an example of 'meta-fiction' - a horror film about horror films. I'd suggest metafiction is your key conceptual theory, as metafictions are 'self aware', 'ironising' and often include references to other examples of the same stuff in order to be 'meta'

    The BIG question that underpins metafiction is this: why has film become so self-conscious? Or, to put it another way, why did the writer of Scream feel it necessary to go 'meta' in order to be innovative? Obviously, this has something to do with our growing understanding of how 'constructed' certain formulas are (in other words, Meta-fictions 'deconstruct' their own reality to show audiences a level of sophistication and awareness.

    Sherrie Levine makes 'art about art' (Meta)
    Scary Movie is meta (obviously)

    The ways in which Scream demonstrates that it is 'meta' (about it's own genre and associated formulas) is by 'appropriation' (of Halloween, for example).

    The point about the avant-garde is this; modernist culture sought to be innovate and radical by inventing new ways of representation - breaking with tradition; the dilemma is this: arguably, Scream was indeed very innovative, but it was original not because it dispensed with existing forms and structures, but rather because it 'revealed' them to its audience - it deconstructed itself.

    Metafiction is the big door you should walk through, Rich, and these other elements are 'ways and means'...

    Hope this helps.

  2. Cheers Phil, a little fine indeed. Whilst researching into scream and postmodernism i did look over metafiction but overlooked it and focused more on the idea of the avant garde. Also is it ok if i take direct quotes from the film to talk about its self referencing or would i need to find someone else pointing out that idea and stating it?

  3. No - you can quote directly from the original source.