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Don’t Look Now: Ontologies of Off-Screen Violence

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The Palgrave Handbook of Violence in Film and Media

Abstract

Off-screen violence in cinema and popular culture remains an under-explored phenomenon in academic research. While many films have been criticised for their excessive violence, the use of sound, direction and the audience’s imagination all contribute to the ontological experience of unseen violence, amplifying feelings of discomfort and distress. This chapter analyses a number of popular films that feature off-screen violence, including Frenzy, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Reservoir Dogs, Seven, American History X and No Country for Old Men. By analysing these films, I illustrate not only how off-screen violence contributes to horror, but how the audience’s imagination is carefully controlled by the range of possibilities provided by directors and the film’s available imagery. To this end, films with off-screen violence constitute a collaborative effort on behalf of the creators and the audience.

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Correspondence to Siobhan Lyons .

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Lyons, S. (2022). Don’t Look Now: Ontologies of Off-Screen Violence. In: Choe, S. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Violence in Film and Media. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-05390-0_16

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