Found Footage Horror - special issue

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Horror Homeroom
contact email: 

Horror Homeroom's Special Issue #7: Found Footage Horror

In today’s media landscape, questions of authenticity, truth, and manipulation of fact are more pertinent than ever. While journalists herald the dawning of a ‘post-truth’ era, and deepfakes bring to a boiling point the anxiety of online communication and documentation, the subgenre of found footage horror seems to encapsulate a terror that is both commonplace and elusive. 

 

From the Unfriended films(2016, 2018) to Host (2020), recent years have heralded an uptick in digital iterations of the medium as an outlet for articulating our fraught relationship with new media technologies. But the concept isn’t new. If we consider Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 film, Haxan—with its integration of truth claims and archived materials—as one of the earliest found footage horror films, then the legacy of the subgenre is approaching just over 100 years. Nor are the impulses of the medium confined to the screen. Foundational horror works like Frankenstein (1818) and Dracula (1897), or found testimonies like Cotton Mather’s records of the Salem Witch trials (1693), all serve as precursors to ongoing experiments with the found footage subgenre. 

 

While a wide variety of texts have been labeled ‘found footage,’ we are interested in efforts to identify the distinctive features of the subgenre, which include:  

 

  • The camera, or the author recording/compiling the story, becomes its own character within the text;

  • The text was found, or recorded by the author, after the events of the text occurred;

  • The text is invested in claims of truth, authenticity, and the question of proof when it comes to the supernatural;

  • The text plays with, manipulates, or relies on new developments in technology.

 

We are also interested in the ways texts intersect or play with the tropes/‘rules’ of found footage, including interpretive claims about texts that should (or could) be read as found footage, a focus on mediums beyond novels and film, and the intersection between found footage horror and other genres or subgenres. Possible topics include but are not limited to: 

 

  • Found elements within traditional horror films 

  • Found footage & folk horror 

  • Genre intersections with the form 

  • Truth claims & media epistemology 

  • Settler colonialism & the supernatural 

  • Intersections with archival studies 

  • Text compilations 

  • Voyeurism, exploitation, violence 

  • Technology’s connection to horror 

  • Motives behind found footage 

  • Amateurism/democratization of production 

  • Studio adaption of found footage aesthetics 

  • Cultural memory 

  • International found footage films 

  • Trauma studies 

Please send an abstract of no more than 500 words along with a brief bio to Dawn Keetley (dek7@lehigh.edu), Ellen Boyd (ejb321@lehigh.edu), and Lauren Gilmore (ltg221@lehigh.edu) by October 31st, 2022. We will select essays to include in the special issue within three weeks and notify everyone who submitted an abstract. Completed essays, which will be limited to 2,500 words, will be due by January 9th, 2023, and should be written for a general audience. We welcome all questions and inquiries!