Friday, 27 April 2018

Kurja Polt 2018



Last week I was at the fabulous Kurja Polt Film Festival (Slovenia) for the second year running with my Northumbria colleague Russ Hunter. and Alexia Kannas (RMIT, Melbourne). It is a great festival; I can't recommend it enough.











During our time there, I hosted a Masterclass with writer/director Fabrice du Welz. Here is a video of the interview



We also presented at the festival's public Cult Film conference, this year entitled "Contamination, Ruination and Damnation!: Cult Cinema and the Nation". 

My paper was entitled "Wild Justice: Revenge in Contemporary American Film"

Here is the abstract:
Frequently, fictional heroes are violent, angry characters. Nowhere is that clearer than in revenge films. However, revenge is typically presented in several very different ways in fiction. In some revenge films, violent action is presented as a way of upholding justice. If that is the case, revenge is morally virtuous. Sometimes revenge is associated with retaliation; a kind of unthinking, angry “lashing out”. If that is the case, revenge is a sign that when it really matters, we are not moral creatures; we cannot control our animal natures. Elsewhere, revenge is presented as an intricately planned activity. Where that is the case, revenge is a sign that humans are rational creatures who don’t simply lash out; however, we use intelligence in malicious immoral ways. This talk will explore these different ways of thinking about revenge by focusing on contemporary American revenge films such as Reservation Road (2007), I Spit on Your Grave (2010), and I Am Wrath (2016). America is supposedly founded on moral values; leading the “free world” towards betterment by upholding “liberty and justice for all”. Those values do not seem to fit well the sheer volume of revenge films coming out of the US. This talk will ask what the cultural obsession with revenge suggests about the nation and its values.

Here is a video of the full talk:



Russ and Alexia's papers are also available via Kurja Polt's YouTube channel


We were also interviewed for Slovenian national news (television and radio)

















































My deepest thanks to Festival Director Masa Pece and the festival team for inviting us, and for their warm hospitality, and to Russ for organising the conference. I hope to return to Ljubljana again next year.

Media Website


I recently launched a website for the Media team at Northumbria. To find out about the team and our activities, visit: medianorthumbria.com/


Friday, 23 February 2018

New Article

My article "Preserved for Posterity? Present Bias and the Status of Grindhouse Films in the 'Home Cinema' Era" has been published in Journal of Film and Video, 70:1 doi: 10.5406/jfilmvideo.70.1.0003

Abstract:
Despite the closure of virtually all original grindhouse cinemas, ‘grindhouse’ lives on as a conceptual term. This article contends that the prevailing conceptualization of ‘grindhouse’ is problematized by a widening gap between the original grindhouse context (‘past’) and the DVD/home-viewing context (present). Despite fans’ and filmmakers’ desire to preserve this part of exploitation cinema history, the world of the grindhouse is now little more than a blurry set of tall-tales and faded phenomenal experiences, which are subject to present-bias. The continuing usefulness of grindhouse-qua-concept requires that one should pay heed to the contemporary contexts in which ‘grindhouse’ is evoked. 

Access a PDF of the article here

Friday, 2 February 2018

Call for Papers: Horror, Cult and Exploitation Media II

Call for Presentations:
Horror, Cult and Exploitation Media II: 
A Research Workshop for PhDs and Early Career Researchers
Friday 4 May 2018, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
A collaborative event between the Department of Social Sciences and the Department of Arts
PhD students and Early Career Researchers working in the field(s) of “horror, cult and exploitation” screen media, are invited to submit abstracts about their research to deliver at a workshop at Northumbria University on Friday 4 May 2018. The workshop – which follows on from a highly successful event last year – will take the format of a mini-symposium, and consist of three sessions, each made up of four speakers. Speakers will each deliver a 5-10 minute talk about their research to their peers and to a panel of academic experts from Northumbria’s Film and Television Research Group, providing a short introduction to their current project and identifying several questions for discussion. After each presentation, there will be an opportunity for the academic panel and other workshop participants to feedback to each speaker, and to ask follow-up questions.
The workshop is intended to be a small scale networking opportunity for scholars with shared research interests, and to provide a relatively informal opportunity for those newer to academia to engage in dialogue with more established researchers.
The event will close with a short presentation by James Campbell from Intellect Books, who will give advice about academic publishing (including converting a PhD thesis into a monograph).
The academic panel will comprise:
• Dr Russ Hunter (Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, co-editor of Italian Horror Cinema)
• Dr Steve Jones (Head of Media, author of Torture Porn: Popular Horror After Saw, co-editor of Zombies and Sexuality)
• Dr James Leggott (Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, author of Contemporary British Cinema: From Heritage to Horror)
• Dr Sarah Ralph (Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies, co-author of Alien Audiences: Remembering and Evaluating a Classic Movie)
• Dr Jamie Sexton (Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, co-author of Cult Film: An Introduction, founding series co-editor of Cultographies)
• Dr Johnny Walker (Senior Lecturer in Media, author of Contemporary British Horror Cinema: Industry, Genre and Society and co-editor of the Global Exploitation Cinemas book series)
Applicants are reminded that there are only twelve spaces available. Lunch and light refreshments will be provided throughout the day.
Please submit a 250 word summary of your project and a 50-100 word bio to the organiser, Dr Johnny Walker (johnny.walker@northumbria.ac.uk), by Friday 30 March 2018. Applicants will be notified of the outcome the following week.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Final Reminder: PhD Studentship Opporunity

Northumbria University are advertising a number of fully funded PhD scholarships. I am advertising for a project entitled “New Approaches to Contemporary American Horror Film”. 

For details about the project and how to apply, click here

The studentship includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2017/18, this is £14,553 pa) and fees. 

The deadline for applications is 28th  January 2018, and the funding would begin on 1st October 2018. 

If you know of anyone who would be interested in applying, please share the link: 


Project Description

Horror films have been subject to examination from a variety of angles in recent years, but much of the scholarship on contemporary American horror is based in one of three commonplace approaches: a) reflectionist national readings (such as post-9/11 readings of American horror); b) psychoanalytic models (drawing from Carol Clover and Barbara Creed’s work in particular); c) Deleuzian affect-based readings. Although each is useful in its own right, these well-established approaches are limited in their potential to yield new insights. In order to push the field forward, more needs to be done to understand contemporary horror texts using innovative conceptual approaches and theoretical tools. 


The aim of this project is to investigate contemporary American horror film by drawing on the kinds of conceptual approaches and theoretical tools that have not traditionally been applied to horror film. These can be drawn from other disciplines (such as philosophy, gender studies, politics, psychology, the sciences), and can encompass discussion of studio horror or independent productions originating from America, so long as it has been created within the last decade (approximately). 


The nature of this project is that it is open to a wide variety of approaches. Possible topics could include, but are certainly not limited to, the following: 

- Gender in contemporary American horror (moving beyond psychoanalytically infused models such as ‘the gaze’, ‘the final girl’, and so forth) 
- Moral or ethical problems within contemporary American horror 
- Narrative construction and playful representations of time within contemporary American horror
- Conceptions of social or legal justice within contemporary American horror 
- Cycles within contemporary American horror (such as ‘the found footage film’) 
- Psychology and contemporary American horror: depictions of selfhood, personality disorders, fractured identities (and so forth) 
- Autonomy and entrapment within contemporary American horror 
- Victimhood within contemporary American horror 
- Contemporary American horror and sex 


This PhD studentship is based within the Department of Social Sciences and builds upon the extensive research into horror cinema already undertaken at Northumbria University. 



Eligibility and How to Apply
Please note eligibility requirement: 
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement. 
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required. 
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere. 


For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see 




Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF18/…) will not be considered. 


Deadline for applications: 28 January 2018 
Start Date: 1 October 2018 


Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers 


Funding Notes
The studentship includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2017/18, this is £14,553 pa) and fees


Recent publications by supervisors relevant to this project: 


  • Jones, S. (2017) “Cartesianism and Intersubjectivity in Paranormal Activity and the Philosophy of Mind”, Film-Philosophy, 21:1. 
  • Jones, S. (2016) “A View to a Kill: Perspectives on Faux-Snuff and Self”, in Jackson, N., Kimber, S., Walker, J. and Watson, T. (eds.) Snuff: Real Death and Screen Media. New York: Bloomsbury. 
  • Jones, S. (2016) “Torture Pornopticon: (In)security Cameras, Self-Governance and Autonomy”, in Aldana Reyes, X. and Blake, L. (eds.) Digital Horror: Haunted Technologies, Network Panic and the Found Footage Phenomenon. London: IB Tauris. 
  • Jones, S. (2015) “Torture Born: Representing Pregnancy and Abortion in Contemporary Survival-Horror”, Sexuality & Culture, 19:3. 
  • Jones, S. (2014) “Pretty, Dead: Sociosexuality, Rationality and the Transition into Zom-Being”, in Jones, S. and McGlotten, S. (eds.) Zombies and Sexuality: Essays on Desire and the Living Dead. Jefferson: McFarland. 
  • Jones, S. (2013) Torture Porn: Popular Horror after Saw. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan

Monday, 8 January 2018

Reminder: PhD Studentship Opportunity

Northumbria University are advertising a number of fully funded PhD scholarships. I am advertising for a project entitled “New Approaches to Contemporary American Horror Film”. 

For details about the project and how to apply, click here

The studentship includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2017/18, this is £14,553 pa) and fees. 

The deadline for applications is 28th  January 2018, and the funding would begin on 1st October 2018. 

If you know of anyone who would be interested in applying, please share the link: 


Project Description

Horror films have been subject to examination from a variety of angles in recent years, but much of the scholarship on contemporary American horror is based in one of three commonplace approaches: a) reflectionist national readings (such as post-9/11 readings of American horror); b) psychoanalytic models (drawing from Carol Clover and Barbara Creed’s work in particular); c) Deleuzian affect-based readings. Although each is useful in its own right, these well-established approaches are limited in their potential to yield new insights. In order to push the field forward, more needs to be done to understand contemporary horror texts using innovative conceptual approaches and theoretical tools. 


The aim of this project is to investigate contemporary American horror film by drawing on the kinds of conceptual approaches and theoretical tools that have not traditionally been applied to horror film. These can be drawn from other disciplines (such as philosophy, gender studies, politics, psychology, the sciences), and can encompass discussion of studio horror or independent productions originating from America, so long as it has been created within the last decade (approximately). 


The nature of this project is that it is open to a wide variety of approaches. Possible topics could include, but are certainly not limited to, the following: 

- Gender in contemporary American horror (moving beyond psychoanalytically infused models such as ‘the gaze’, ‘the final girl’, and so forth) 
- Moral or ethical problems within contemporary American horror 
- Narrative construction and playful representations of time within contemporary American horror
- Conceptions of social or legal justice within contemporary American horror 
- Cycles within contemporary American horror (such as ‘the found footage film’) 
- Psychology and contemporary American horror: depictions of selfhood, personality disorders, fractured identities (and so forth) 
- Autonomy and entrapment within contemporary American horror 
- Victimhood within contemporary American horror 
- Contemporary American horror and sex 


This PhD studentship is based within the Department of Social Sciences and builds upon the extensive research into horror cinema already undertaken at Northumbria University. 



Eligibility and How to Apply
Please note eligibility requirement: 
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement. 
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required. 
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere. 


For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see 




Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF18/…) will not be considered. 


Deadline for applications: 28 January 2018 
Start Date: 1 October 2018 


Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers 


Funding Notes
The studentship includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2017/18, this is £14,553 pa) and fees


Recent publications by supervisors relevant to this project: 


  • Jones, S. (2017) “Cartesianism and Intersubjectivity in Paranormal Activity and the Philosophy of Mind”, Film-Philosophy, 21:1. 
  • Jones, S. (2016) “A View to a Kill: Perspectives on Faux-Snuff and Self”, in Jackson, N., Kimber, S., Walker, J. and Watson, T. (eds.) Snuff: Real Death and Screen Media. New York: Bloomsbury. 
  • Jones, S. (2016) “Torture Pornopticon: (In)security Cameras, Self-Governance and Autonomy”, in Aldana Reyes, X. and Blake, L. (eds.) Digital Horror: Haunted Technologies, Network Panic and the Found Footage Phenomenon. London: IB Tauris. 
  • Jones, S. (2015) “Torture Born: Representing Pregnancy and Abortion in Contemporary Survival-Horror”, Sexuality & Culture, 19:3. 
  • Jones, S. (2014) “Pretty, Dead: Sociosexuality, Rationality and the Transition into Zom-Being”, in Jones, S. and McGlotten, S. (eds.) Zombies and Sexuality: Essays on Desire and the Living Dead. Jefferson: McFarland. 
  • Jones, S. (2013) Torture Porn: Popular Horror after Saw. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan

Monday, 18 December 2017

Reminder: PhD Scholarship Opportunity

Northumbria University are advertising a number of fully funded PhD scholarships. I am advertising for a project entitled “New Approaches to Contemporary American Horror Film”. 

For details about the project and how to apply, click here

The studentship includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2017/18, this is £14,553 pa) and fees. 

The deadline for applications is 28th  January 2018, and the funding would begin on 1st October 2018. 

If you know of anyone who would be interested in applying, please share the link: 


Project Description

Horror films have been subject to examination from a variety of angles in recent years, but much of the scholarship on contemporary American horror is based in one of three commonplace approaches: a) reflectionist national readings (such as post-9/11 readings of American horror); b) psychoanalytic models (drawing from Carol Clover and Barbara Creed’s work in particular); c) Deleuzian affect-based readings. Although each is useful in its own right, these well-established approaches are limited in their potential to yield new insights. In order to push the field forward, more needs to be done to understand contemporary horror texts using innovative conceptual approaches and theoretical tools. 


The aim of this project is to investigate contemporary American horror film by drawing on the kinds of conceptual approaches and theoretical tools that have not traditionally been applied to horror film. These can be drawn from other disciplines (such as philosophy, gender studies, politics, psychology, the sciences), and can encompass discussion of studio horror or independent productions originating from America, so long as it has been created within the last decade (approximately). 


The nature of this project is that it is open to a wide variety of approaches. Possible topics could include, but are certainly not limited to, the following: 

- Gender in contemporary American horror (moving beyond psychoanalytically infused models such as ‘the gaze’, ‘the final girl’, and so forth) 
- Moral or ethical problems within contemporary American horror 
- Narrative construction and playful representations of time within contemporary American horror
- Conceptions of social or legal justice within contemporary American horror 
- Cycles within contemporary American horror (such as ‘the found footage film’) 
- Psychology and contemporary American horror: depictions of selfhood, personality disorders, fractured identities (and so forth) 
- Autonomy and entrapment within contemporary American horror 
- Victimhood within contemporary American horror 
- Contemporary American horror and sex 


This PhD studentship is based within the Department of Social Sciences and builds upon the extensive research into horror cinema already undertaken at Northumbria University. 



Eligibility and How to Apply
Please note eligibility requirement: 
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement. 
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required. 
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere. 


For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see 




Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF18/…) will not be considered. 


Deadline for applications: 28 January 2018 
Start Date: 1 October 2018 


Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers 


Funding Notes
The studentship includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2017/18, this is £14,553 pa) and fees


Recent publications by supervisors relevant to this project: 


  • Jones, S. (2017) “Cartesianism and Intersubjectivity in Paranormal Activity and the Philosophy of Mind”, Film-Philosophy, 21:1. 
  • Jones, S. (2016) “A View to a Kill: Perspectives on Faux-Snuff and Self”, in Jackson, N., Kimber, S., Walker, J. and Watson, T. (eds.) Snuff: Real Death and Screen Media. New York: Bloomsbury. 
  • Jones, S. (2016) “Torture Pornopticon: (In)security Cameras, Self-Governance and Autonomy”, in Aldana Reyes, X. and Blake, L. (eds.) Digital Horror: Haunted Technologies, Network Panic and the Found Footage Phenomenon. London: IB Tauris. 
  • Jones, S. (2015) “Torture Born: Representing Pregnancy and Abortion in Contemporary Survival-Horror”, Sexuality & Culture, 19:3. 
  • Jones, S. (2014) “Pretty, Dead: Sociosexuality, Rationality and the Transition into Zom-Being”, in Jones, S. and McGlotten, S. (eds.) Zombies and Sexuality: Essays on Desire and the Living Dead. Jefferson: McFarland. 
  • Jones, S. (2013) Torture Porn: Popular Horror after Saw. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan