Book Chapter

Found footage horror films: A cognitive approach


The cinematic image of a young woman staring into the camera – crying, hyperventilating, and talking directly to her audience – has become the definitive image of The Blair Witch Project. It is arguably the most famous scene, and certainly the most parodied image of found footage horror cinema in general, perhaps even one of the defining images of cinema in the 1990s. Economics are not the only reason for the ubiquity and popularity of these films. Their cheap-looking aesthetic is in fact a virtue because it is their look that makes them appear similar to authentic documentaries and home videos. Filmmakers working in genres other than horror have also begun to utilise the diegetic camera to create this distinctive aesthetic. There has been an increasing amount of scholarly attention to diegetic camera horror films. Psychoanalytic film theorists from Christian Metz to Laura Mulvey as well as countless others are preoccupied with cinema’s relation to the unconscious.

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Turner, Peter

Oxford Brookes departments

School of Arts


Year of publication: 2019
Date of RADAR deposit: 2019-12-02

All rights reserved.

Related resources

This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of Introduction: Why found footage horror films matter
This RADAR resource is Part of Found footage horror films: A cognitive approach [ISBN: 9781138388512] / by Peter Turner.


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