Before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and after the attacks on New York on 11 September 2001, Hollywood had templates on which to construct its cinematic versions of evil. But how was evil constructed in the intervening period? And has this affected its representation in the post 9/11 years? Through an analysis of 201 of the most popular films released between 1989 and 2002, this book examines how popular cinema conceptualised and constructed visual representations of evil. Cinema in this period failed to engage with the concept of evil in any meaningful way. Cinematic evil mirrors the descent into the chaos and disorder of a postmodern society. All cinematic evil can do is to connect with this sense of unease in which the reality of evil cannot be represented. Stripped of narrative causality, these films express a belief that evil things and evil people may arise in any form, in any place and at any time. These factors produce a cinema of malaise, perpetually confronting an evil it is unable to define or locate. Students and teachers of media and philosophy, and anyone interested in film and how Hollywood works, will find this work fascinating and useful.
Neil E. Bather PhD, Studied Screen and Media Studies at The University of Waikato, New Zealand. Recipient of Top Achiever's Scholarship. Lecturing at Waikato, Canterbury and Auckland Universities.