My article drawn from previous audience research based on the 2010 torture-porn shocker, A Serbian Film, has just gone live in Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies. The journal is open access, so it isn’t tucked behind one of those paywalls that most academic journals love so much. The work on this project directly builds on this work on arguably the most controversial film in recent history.
The article can be read or downloaded here for free.
This project was my master’s thesis at Aberystwyth University. I’ve always had a keen interest in censorship, having grown up as a bit of a horror nerd. With this study, I wanted to look at exactly what it was that drew people to these kinds of films, films which they probably knew would be hugely upsetting.
One of the things I found, which I thought was fascinating, was that a lot of people will seek out a film like this even though they know for a fact that they’ll absolutely hate it. This isn’t an attack on people who do that, of course. I’ve watched plenty of bad kids’ movies myself just for the pleasure of making fun of them. This seems to be just a different form of that.
The drive of the article as a whole is just looking at people who really frigging hated A Serbian Film, looking at the kind of language they use when they describe it. It’s an academic article, so it’s a bit dry, but I think it has a brilliant title, at least!
If you’re interested in academic audience studies at all, Participations is a great place to find interesting articles. One of the editors is Martin Barker, who has written some of the most accessible and generally brilliant books on audience studies. If you’ve never read an audience study before, I highly recommend Knowing Audiences: Judge Dredd by Martin Barker and Kate Brooks. It’s about the Stallone movie from the 1990s and is the book that got me excited about researching audiences. For a more horror-tinged study, try Barker’s Crash Controversy, which is about the controversial David Cronenberg movie.