Critical Essays on James Wan

deadline for submissions: 
May 31, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Matthew Edwards
contact email: 

Critical Essays on James Wan


Deadline for abstract submissions:  May, 2019


Full name / name of organization:

Matthew Edwards/ Independent Scholar


Contact email:

Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns/Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina).

contact mail:


Critical Essays on James Wan


Edited by Matthew Edwards and Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns


Critical essays are sought on the cinema of Malaysian/Australian director, screenwriter and producer James Wan. As 2018 marks Wan’s first incursion into superhero cinema with Aquaman, a film that reportedly is DC Films’ biggest worldwide grosser, critical attention on the director keeps intensifying. With huge critical and box office successes such as Saw (2004), a film that kickstarted a whole franchise, The Conjuring I and II (2013 and 2016), films that started a whole filmic universe, together with Death Sentence (2007), Insidious I and II (2010 and 2013), Furious 7 (2015) and Dead Silence (2007), it can be argued that we are facing a new Hollywood auteur with an identity of his own.


Still, there is a striking lack of critical studies on the works of James Wan, even when he has been responsible of some of the most interesting blockbusters of the last few years.


Creating for the new millennium a form of film horror that relies more on atmosphere than in jump scares ― a kind of dread almost extinct at the big screen since the times of director Jacques Tourneur and producer Val Lewton― Wan has imposed a uniquely rich style and vision which does not reject the commercial and the genre formula but in fact embraces it. His efforts as producer follow this marked interest in genre, franchise and remake, both in film (Lights Out ―2016―; Annabelle: Creation ―2017―, The Curse of La Llorona ―2019­―) as in TV (MacGyver; Swamp Thing).


From Stygian (2000) to Aquaman, Wan has directed nine feature films and one episode for television, all in different genres, all of them provoking stylistic reflections on the medium, on genre and franchise cinema.


This anthology seeks previously unpublished essays that explore James Wan’s body of work. We welcome interdisciplinary approaches —­including philosophy, psychoanalysis, posthumanism, queer, contextual, etc. — that can illuminate the different aspects of the director’s work. Our purpose is this volume to address the entirety of his work.


Contributions could include – but are not limited to – the following topics:


Old Hollywood and classicism/influence of Val Lewton’s cinema​

Film genres (horror, action, etc.)​

The James Wan’s universe.

Hollywood masculinity

His influence in no-Wan directed projects.

Photography​ and cinematography

Work on television

Adaptation of real supernatural cases

Uncanny dolls

Superhero cinema

Depiction of the family unit

The haunting and the gothic

The unconscious, dreams and nightmares​

Music and sound

Philosophical, posthuman and psychoanalytic approaches


Feel free to contact the editors with any questions you may have about the project and please fell free to share this announcement with any colleague who may be interested in the volume.


Submit a 300-500 word abstract of your proposed chapter contribution, a brief CV and complete contact information to both Matthew Edwards and Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns by May, 2019.


It must be noted that acceptance of a proposed abstract does not guarantee the acceptance of the full chapter into the completed volume.


Please send a full abstract and full biography to All abstracts should be in Times Roman, pt 12. If invited to submit a full essay for the collection, a style guide will be sent to adhere to (all essays should use the MHRA referencing system).


Matthew Edwards is the editor of a number of scholarly books relating to cinema. He is the editor of The Atomic Bomb in Japanese Cinema, was was published by McFarland to co-inside with the 70th Anniversary of the bombings (2015); Film Out of Bounds (2007, McFarland and Co) and a forthcoming anthology on German actor Klaus Kinski (McFarland and Co, 2016). He is also the author of Twisted Visions: Interviews with Horror Filmmakers, which will be published in 2016 by McFarland and Co. McFarland and Co are interested in the collection as well are a number of other publishers. His forthcoming collection is entitled Killer Flicks, an interview anthology with film directors of films based on serial killers/mass murderers.



Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns (PhD student) works as Professor at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) - Facultad de Filosofía y Letras (Argentina)-. He teaches courses on international horror film and is director of the research group on horror cinema “Grite.” He has published chapters in the books Divine Horror, edited by Cynthia Miller, To See the Saw Movies: Essays on Torture Porn and Post 9/11 Horror, edited by John Wallis, Critical Insights: Alfred Hitchcock, edited by Douglas Cunningham, A Critical Companion to James Cameron, edited by Antonio Sanna, and Gender and Environment in Science Fiction, edited by Bridgitte Barclay, among others. He has authored a book about Spanish horror TV series Historias para no Dormir.