Portsmouth academic features in upcoming series of Cursed Films

Dr Simon Hobbs from the University of Portsmouth has been interviewed for an upcoming documentary series devoted to horror cinema.

Broadcast by US television network AMC, Cursed Films focuses on some of the most iconic and controversial productions ever to reach the big screen. Dr Hobbs has published widely on extreme horror cinema, and was invited to contribute to an episode on the infamous “video nasty” Cannibal Holocaust.

Dr Hobbs, lecturer in the School of Art, Design and Performance in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, said: “This film remains the standard-bearer for extreme horror and still packs a punch some 40 years after its initial release. It is responsible for introducing the world to the found footage genre, and although today you can easily obtain copies, there was a time when owning Cannibal Holocaust on VHS was illegal.”

This film remains the standard-bearer for extreme horror and still packs a punch some 40 years after its initial release.

In the episode, Dr Hobbs appears alongside filmmakers, actors, critics and historians to discuss the impact and legacy of a film once banned in the UK. Dr Hobbs said: “While it certainly is a problematic text, and won’t be to everyone’s taste, Cannibal Holocaust’s director, Ruggero Deodato, is clearly tackling some important issues surrounding media violence and sensationalism.”

The producers of Cursed Films were most interested in discussing Dr Hobb’s work on the film’s representation of animal slaughter, which appeared in the edited volume Snuff: Real Death and Screen Media.

Dr Hobbs said: “Like many Italian cannibal-themed films of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Cannibal Holocaust includes scenes of actual animal cruelty. The scenes themselves are brutal and indefensible and while there is no justification for them, their inclusion – and ensuing public outrage – does raise interesting questions about society’s contractionary relationship to meat.

“We seem shocked when a film uses the death of an animal as part of the text’s entertainment but think little of the industrial slaughter that happens daily.”

AMC’s Cursed Films is due for release in 2022.

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