Essays on Space Horror in Film, 1950s – 2000s
Abstract Submission Deadline: August 25, 2015
In 1979, the word A L I E N was spelled out across the top of an ominous movie poster, conveying a sense of foreboding of something unknown. An eerie yellow light seeped out of the egg-shaped space pod with the tagline: In space no one hears you scream. Audiences were drawn along with the Nostromo crew as they explored the mysterious abandoned ship on LV-426 and encountered a new and hostile alien species. It was one of the first movies to successfully combine science fiction and horror in an interstellar setting, spawning several inferior imitations in the 1980s while also inspiring standout films that furthered the genre, such as Event Horizon (1997), Pitch Black (2000), Sunshine (2007), and Europa Report (2013). While it may have seemed like space horror was a new genre after the release of Ridley Scott’s film, the genre has a rich history that took hold of movie audience-goers almost thirty years prior with the space horror films that could best be classified as invasion films. With a plethora of films, much has been written about science fiction, horror or on individual films (mostly the Alien franchise), yet surprisingly, little analysis can be found on space horror as its own genre in cinema. Essays for this anthology will seek to deconstruct and analyze the genre via the films from 1950s through the present offerings with the goal of exploring and bridging the gap of critical analysis that currently exists between science fiction and the horror genres. The intended audience is expected to include individuals studying and/or curious to increase their understanding of science fiction, horror and of course, space horror.
There are several themes worth exploring when analyzing space horror, utilizing any number of theoretical framework of your choosing. Here is a brief list of ideas, which is by no means exhaustive:
- Claustrophobia, Outer Space fears (Pandorum, Dark Star, Europa Report, The Black Hole)
- The influence of slasher films (Alien, Event Horizon, Jason X, Sunshine, Leprechaun 4: In Space)
- Psychological (2001: A Space Odyssey, Solaris, Sunshine, Moon)
- Body Horror and/or transformation (Supernova, Event Horizon, Hellraiser: Bloodline, Slither)
- Final girl (Alien, Prometheus, Dead Space: Downfall)
- Paranormal/Occult (Event Horizon, Hellraiser: Bloodline, Dracula 3000, Ghosts of Mars)
- Cold War fears (most invasion films of the 1950s – 1970s)
- Doppelganger (Event Horizon, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing, Moon)
- Compare/Contrast maleficent vs. animal “aliens” (Xenomorphs in Alien franchise vs. alien species encountered in Pitch Black, Apollo 18, Europa Report for example)
- Alien abduction (Communion, Fire In The Sky, Extraterrestrial)
- Found footage (Europa Report, Apollo 18)
- Sacrifice of self and/or self-destruct sequence (Alien franchise, Event Horizon, Critters 4, The Last Days on Mars)
- Role of AI, robotics and/or the concept of “uncanny valley” (Alien franchise, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Prometheus, Dracula 3000)
- Bram Stoker and Space Vampires (Dracula 3000, Planet of the Vampires, Lifeforce)
- Exploring Literary roots such as H.P. Lovecraft, H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ray Bradbury, etc.
I am accepting up to two abstracts in order to assemble the most cohesive arrangement of essays that will provide a well-rounded exploration and representation of this little discussed genre. The deadlines are as follows:
- August 25, 2015: Abstract of 300-500 words, 1 page CV, preliminary draft bibliography
- September 1, 2015: Notification of acceptance/rejection (editor will send comprehensive style sheet)
- January 31, 2016: Essays due of 5,000-8,000 words in length (earlier submissions welcomed and encouraged)
- February 1 – April 20, 2016: Essays will be edited and returned to the author for review and revision. The final version of the essay, author’s release and a brief contributor’s bio is due to the editor by April 20, 2016
- June 1, 2016: Manuscript is received by the publisher
Accepted essays received on or before January 31st will continue through the editing process. The editor will utilize Microsoft Word’s tracking function to record all edits and return the edited version back to the author for final correction.
The final manuscript will be delivered to the publisher June 1, 2016. Contributors will receive a complimentary book copy when published, which is anticipated for late 2016.
Please direct all correspondence to:
Michele Brittany, Editor
Michele Brittany is an independent popular culture scholar residing in Southern California and is the editor of James Bond and Popular Culture: Essays on the Influence of the Fictional Superspy (2014, McFarland & Company). She is the James Bond, Espionage and Eurospy Area Chair for the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association’s annual conference. She is a West Coast Correspondent for Bleeding Cool and writes daily on all things spy related at her blog, Spy-Fi & Superspies. She annually presents at the SWPACA and has presented at Wondercon Anaheim as part of the Comic Arts Conference series. She is also an academic member of the Horror Writer’s Association in Los Angeles.