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Wither the Past: The US Slasher and New Nordic Horror
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages. (Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3293-6324
2017 (English)In: The Twenty-Fifth Biennial Conference of the Nordic Association for American Studies, SDU, Odense, May 22-24, 2017: American Colors : Across the Disciplinary Spectrum, 2017Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The wildly popular genre of Nordic Noir has been seen to elucidate ‘dark aspects of the welfare state model’ and to ‘portray violence and human darkness as “normal” parts of contemporary life’ (Brodén 2008). Crucial to this reading of Nordic Noir is the notion that the welfare state is premised on a Nordic modernity that furtively supported eugenics, colonialism and predatory capitalism (Keskinen et al 2009, Naum and Nordin 2013). Influenced by this trend, new Nordic Gothic in general, and Nordic B-Movie Gothic in particular, can also be seen to interrogate the demise of the welfare state and to open up society to the possibility of senseless violence. Increasingly, the Nordic gothic B-movie industry is now finding purchase for the bloody narratives that were successful in the US during the late 70’s and 80’s, and which were during this period largely banned in Sweden and other European countries.

From this vantage point, the present chapter examines the violent B-movie gothic of Swedish director Sonny Laguna. Inspired by, and frequently referencing, US splatter and gore cinema, Laguna explores a Nordic geographic and social context with the help of US gore and slasher cinema. Frequently set in the cabin endemic to low-budget US horror, the terror that rises to rend bodies asunder in Laguna’s films is located in a complex historical past. Madness (2010) portrays the emigrant Swede (canonized in Swedish national literature) as monstrous redneck, and Blood Runs Cold (2011) and Wither (2012) allow horror to ascend from a Swedish mythological, underground past. Thus, Laguna’s movies show a present that, in gothic fashion, is rent asunder by a past that refuses to forget the violence and injustice whitewashed by historiography, and which demands terrible retribution exacted on the society that has neglected it. 

Brodén, Daniel. Folkhemmets skuggbilder, Stockholm: Ekholm & Tegebjer, 2008.

Keskinen, Suvi, Salla Tuori, Sari Irni and Diana Mulinari. Ed. Complying with Colonialism: Gender, Race and Ethnicity in the Nordic Region, Farnham: Ashgate 2009.

Naum, Magdalena och Jonas M. Nordin. Ed. Scandinavian Colonialism and the Rise of Modernity: Small Time Agents in a Global Arena, New York: Springer, 2013.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
gothic horror, swedish film, welfare state
National Category
Cultural Studies
Research subject
Humanities, Film Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-64507OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-64507DiVA: diva2:1103653
Conference
American Colors: Across the Disciplinary Spectrum 2017 NAAS Conference, May 22-24, Odense, Denmark
Available from: 2017-05-30 Created: 2017-05-30 Last updated: 2017-06-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • text
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  • rtf