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Steve Jones
University of Northumbria at Newcastle
  1. Porn of the Dead: Necrophilia, Feminism, and Gendering the Undead.Steve Jones - 2011 - In Christopher Moreman & Cory Rushton (eds.), Zombies Are Us: Essays on the Humanity of the Walking Dead. McFarland. pp. 40-60.
    Erotic Nights of the Living Dead (1980) may have featured both animated corpses and hardcore sex scenes, but only recently have Re-Penetrator (2004) and Porn of the Dead (2006) managed to fully eroticise the living dead, allowing these creatures to engage in intercourse. In doing so, the usually a-subjective zombie is allotted a key facet of identity - sexuality. This development within the sub-genre needs accounting for outside of the contexts of porn studies, where it has only been briefly touched (...)
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  2. Torture Born: Representing Pregnancy and Abortion in Contemporary Survival-Horror.Steve Jones - 2015 - Sexuality and Culture 19 (3):426-443.
    In proportion to the increased emphasis placed on abortion in partisan political debate since the early 2000s, there has been a noticeable upsurge in cultural representations of abortion. This article charts ways in which that increase manifests in contemporary survival-horror. This article contends that numerous contemporary survival-horror films foreground pregnancy. These representations of pregnancy reify the pressures that moralistic, partisan political campaigning places on individuals who consider terminating a pregnancy. These films contribute to public discourse by engaging with abortion as (...)
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  3. Horrorporn/Pornhorror: The Problematic Communities and Contexts of Extreme Online Imagery.Steve Jones - 2010 - In Feona Attwood (ed.), Porn.com: Making Sense of Online Pornography. Peter Lang. pp. 123-137.
    This chapter explores the tentative line between erotic spectacle and horror; a judgement that is problematic given that is based on an axis of moral or ideological normality. The contexts of viewing impact on the status of ‘obscene’ images, both in terms of the communities that view them and their motivation for viewing; for sexual arousal, out of morbid curiosity or malevolence, or perhaps all three simultaneously. The reception of an obscene image is largely based upon the issue of viewer (...)
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  4. Gender Monstrosity: Deadgirl and the Sexual Politics of Zombie-Rape.Steve Jones - 2012 - Feminist Media Studies 13 (4):525-539.
    Deadgirl (2008) is based around a group of male teens discovering and claiming ownership of a bound female zombie, using her as a sex slave. This narrative premise raises numerous tensions that are particularly amplified by using a zombie as the film's central victim. The Deadgirl is sexually passive yet monstrous, reifying the horrors associated with the female body in patriarchal discourses. She is objectified on the basis of her gender, and this has led many reviewers to dismiss the film (...)
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  5. The Pure Moment of Murder: The Symbolic Function of Bodily Interactions in Horror Film.Steve Jones - 2011 - Projections 6 (2):96-114.
    Both the slasher movie and its more recent counterpart the "torture porn" film centralize graphic depictions of violence. This article inspects the nature of these portrayals by examining a motif commonly found in the cinema of homicide, dubbed here the "pure moment of murder": that is, the moment in which two characters’ bodies adjoin onscreen in an instance of graphic violence. By exploring a number of these incidents (and their various modes of representation) in American horror films ranging from Psycho (...)
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  6. A View to a Kill: Perspectives on Faux-Snuff and Self.Steve Jones - 2016 - In Neil Jackson, Shaun Kimber, Johnny Walker & Thomas Watson (eds.), Snuff: Real Death and Screen Media. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 277-294.
    Scholarly debate over faux-snuff’s content has predominantly focused on realism and affect. This paper seeks to offer an alternative interpretation, examining what faux-snuff’s form reveals about self. Faux-snuff is typically presented from a first-person perspective (killer-cam), and as such is foundationally invested in the killer’s experiences as they record their murder spree. First then, I propose that the simulated-snuff form reifies self-experience in numerous ways. Faux-snuff’s characteristic formal attributes capture the self’s limited, fractured qualities, for example. Second, I contend that (...)
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  7. Cartesianism and Intersubjectivity in Paranormal Activity and the Philosophy of Mind.Steve Jones - 2017 - Film-Philosophy 21 (1):1-19.
    Over the last century within the philosophy of mind, the intersubjective model of self has gained traction as a viable alternative to the oft-criticised Cartesian solipsistic paradigm. These two models are presented as incompatible inasmuch as Cartesians perceive other minds as “a problem” for the self, while intersubjectivists insist that sociality is foundational to selfhood. This essay uses the Paranormal Activity series (2007–2015) to explore this philosophical debate. It is argued that these films simultaneously evoke Cartesian premises (via found-footage camerawork), (...)
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  8. Death of the Image/The Image of Death: Temporality , Torture and Transience in Yuuri Sunohara and Masami Akita's Harakiri Cycle.Steve Jones - 2011 - Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema 3 (1):163-177.
    Sunohara Yuuri and Akita Masami’s series of six seppuku films (1990) are solely constituted by images of fictionalized death, revolving around the prolonged self-torture of a lone figure committing harakiri. I contend that the protagonist’s auto-immolation mirrors a formal death, each frame ‘killing’ the moment it represents. My analysis aims to explore how the solipsistic nature of selfhood is appositely symbolized by the isolation of the on-screen figures and the insistence with which the six films repeat the same scenario of (...)
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  9. “Extreme" Porn? The Implications of a Label.Steve Jones - 2016 - Porn Studies:1-13.
    Despite its prevalence, the term ‘extreme’ has received little critical attention. ‘Extremity’ is routinely employed in ways that imply its meanings are self-evident. However, the adjective itself offers no such clarity. This article focuses on one particular use of the term – ‘extreme porn’ – in order to illustrate a broader set of concerns about the pitfalls of labelling. The label ‘extreme’ is typically employed as a substitute for engaging with the term’s supposed referents (here, pornographic content). In its contemporary (...)
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  10. Hardcore Horror: Challenging the Discourses of ‘Extremity’.Steve Jones - 2021 - In Eddie Falvey, Jonathan Wroot & Joe Hickinbottom (eds.), New Blood: Critical Approaches to Contemporary Horror. Cardiff, UK: pp. 35-51.
    This chapter explores the relationship between ‘hardcore’ horror films, and the discursive context in which mainstream horror releases are being dubbed ‘extreme’. This chapter compares ‘mainstream’ and ‘hardcore’ horror with the aim of investigating what ‘extremity’ means. I will begin by outlining what ‘hardcore’ horror is, and how it differs from mainstream horror (both in terms of content and distribution). I will then dissect what ‘extremity’ means in this context, delineating problems with established critical discourses about ‘extreme’ horror. Print press (...)
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  11. ""Hard Times and Rough Rides: The Legal and Ethical Impossibilities of Researching "'Shock"'Pornographies.Steve Jones & Sharif Mowlabocus - 2009 - Sexualities 12 (5):613--628.
    This article explores the various ethical and legal limitations faced by researchers studying extreme or ‘ shock’ pornographies, beginning with generic and disciplinary contexts, and focusing specifically upon the assumption that textual analysis unproblematically justifies certain pornographies, while legal contexts utilize a prohibitive gaze. Are our academic freedoms of speech endangered by legislations that restrict our access to non-mainstream images, forcing them further into taboo locales? If so, is the ideological normalization of sexuality inextricable from our research methodologies? Simultaneously, can (...)
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  12. ‘Implied…or Implode?’: The Simpsons' Carnivalesque Treehouse of Horror Specials.Steve Jones - 2010 - Animation 18.
    Since 1990, The Simpsons’ annual “Treehouse of Horror” episodes have constituted a production sub-context within the series, having their own conventions and historical trajectory. These specials incorporate horror plots and devices, as well as general references to science fiction, into the series’ base in situation comedy. The Halloween specials disrupt the series usual family-oriented sitcom structure, dissolving the ideological balances that stabilise that society. By depicting the Family and community in extreme circumstances, in seeing the horror of ‘how things could (...)
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  13. Jones, S. (2017) "The Origin of the Faeces: Ten Years of 2Girls1Cup", Porn Studies.Steve Jones - 2017 - Porn Studies 4 (4):473-476.
    On the ten year anniversary of 2Girls1Cup, this article examines the complex balance of shock, pleasure and disgust elicited by this viral video.
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  14. Jones, S. (2018) 'Preserved for Posterity? Present Bias and the Status of Grindhouse Films in the " Home Cinema " Era', Journal of Film and Video, 70:1.Steve Jones - 2018 - Journal of Film and Video 70 (1).
    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 (...)
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  15. Mindful Violence? The Rambo Series’ Shifting Aesthetic of Aggression.Steve Jones - 2012 - New Review of Film and Television Studies 10 (4).
    Rambo (2008) marked the return of Sylvester Stallone's iconic action hero. What is most striking about the fourth film (as the response from reviewers testifies), is its graphic violence. My intention here is to critically engage with Rambo (2008) as rewriting the series' established aesthetic of violence. My overarching aim is to highlight how the popular press has sought to read the 2008 version of Rambo according to the discursive narratives surrounding Stallone's 1980s action films. The negative response to Rambo, (...)
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  16. No Pain, No Gain: Strategic Repulsion and The Human Centipede.Steve Jones - 2013 - Cine-Excess E-Journal 1 (1).
    Tom Six’s The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009) and The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011) are based on a disturbing premise: people are abducted and stitched together mouth-to-anus. The consequent combinations of faeces and bloodshed, torture and degradation have been roundly vilified by the critical press. Additionally, the sequel was officially banned or heavily censored in numerous countries. This article argues that these reactive forms of suppression fail to engage with the films themselves, or the concepts (such as disgust (...)
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  17.  95
    Pretty, Dead: Sociosexuality, Rationality and the Transition Into Zom-Being.Steve Jones - 2014 - In Steve Jones & Shaka McGlotten (eds.), Zombies and Sexuality: Essays on Desire and the Living Dead. McFarland. pp. 180-198.
    The undead have been evoked in philosophical hypotheses regarding consciousness, but such discussions often come across as abstract academic exercises, inapplicable to personal experience. Movie zombies illuminate these somewhat opaque philosophical debates via storytelling devices – narrative, characterization, dialogue and so forth – which approach experience and consciousness in an instinctively accessible manner. This chapter focuses on a particular strand of the subgenre: transition narratives, in which human protagonists gradually turn into zombies. Transition stories typically centralize social relationships; affiliations and (...)
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  18. Sex and Horror.Steve Jones - 2018 - In Feona Attwood, Clarissa Smith & Brian McNair (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Media, Sex and Sexuality. New York: Routledge. pp. 290-299.
    The combination of sex and horror may be disquieting to many, but the two are natural (if perhaps gruesome) bedfellows. In fact, sex and horror coincide with such regularity in contemporary horror fiction that the two concepts appear to be at least partially intertwined. The sex–horror relationship is sometimes connotative rather than overt; examples of this relationship range from the seduction overtones of 'Nosferatu' and the juxtaposition of nudity and horror promised by European exploitation filmmakers to the sadomasochistic iconography of (...)
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  19. Spierig Brothers' Jigsaw (2017) - Torture Porn Rebooted?Steve Jones - 2019 - In Simon Bacon (ed.), Horror: A Companion. Oxford, UK: Peter Lang. pp. 85-92.
    After a seven-year hiatus, the Saw franchise returned. Critics overwhelming disapproved of the franchise’s reinvigoration, and much of that dissention centred around a label that is synonymous with Saw: ‘torture porn’. Numerous critics pegged the original Saw (2004) as torture porn’s prototype. Accordingly, critics characterised Jigsaw’s release as heralding an unwelcome ‘torture porn comeback’. This chapter investigates the legitimacy of this concern in order to determine what ‘torture porn’ is and means in the Jigsaw era.
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  20. 'Time is Wasting': Con/Sequence and S/Pace in the Saw Series.Steve Jones - 2010 - Horror Studies 1 (2):225-239.
    Horror film sequels have not received as much serious critical attention as they deserve – this is especially true of the Saw franchise, which has suffered a general dismissal under the derogatory banner ‘Torture Porn’. In this article I use detailed textual analysis of the Saw series to expound how film sequels employ and complicate expected temporal and spatial relations – in particular, I investigate how the Saw sequels tie space and time into their narrative, methodological and moral sensibilities. Far (...)
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  21. The Lexicon of Offense: The Meanings of Torture, Porn, and ‘Torture Porn”.Steve Jones - 2012 - In Feona Attwood, Ian Hunter, Vincent Campbell & Sharon Lockyear (eds.), Controversial Images: Media Representations on the Edge. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 186-200.
    Torture porn has been vilified on grounds that are at best unconvincing and at worst incoherent. The subgenre’s remonstrators too often ignore the content of the films themselves, and fail to make sufficiently detailed connections between the subgenre and the cultural sphere. Reactions to torture porn rarely consider what values the films apparently contravene, and why, if the films are offensive, they are simultaneously so popular. The central derisive mechanism in operation is the ill-conceived combination of ‘torture’ and ‘porn’ itself. (...)
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  22. Torture Pornopticon: (In)Security Cameras, Self-Governance and Autonomy.Steve Jones - 2015 - In Linnie Blake & Xavier Aldana Reyes (eds.), Digital Horror: Haunted Technologies, Network Panic and the Found Footage Phenomenon. I.B. Tauris. pp. 29-41.
    ‘Torture porn’ films centre on themes of abduction, imprisonment and suffering. Within the subgenre, protagonists are typically placed under relentless surveillance by their captors. CCTV features in more than 45 contemporary torture-themed films (including Captivity, Hunger, and Torture Room). Security cameras signify a bridging point between the captors’ ability to observe and to control their prey. Founded on power-imbalance, torture porn’s prison-spaces are panoptical. Despite failing to encapsulate contemporary surveillance’s complexities (see Haggerty, 2011), the panopticon remains a dominant paradigm within (...)
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  23. Twisted Pictures: Morality, Nihilism and Symbolic Suicide in the Saw Series.Steve Jones - 2013 - In James Aston & John Walliss (eds.), To See the Saw Movies: Essays on Torture Porn and Post-9/11 Horror. McFarland. pp. 105-122.
    Given that numerous critics have complained about Saw’s apparently confused sense of ethics, it is surprising that little attention has been paid to how morality operates in narrative itself. Coming from a Nietzschean perspective - specifically questioning whether the lead torturer Jigsaw is a passive or a radical nihilist - I seek to rectify that oversight. This philosophical reading of the series explores Jigsaw’s moral stance, which is complicated by his hypocrisy: I contend that this underpins critical complaints regarding the (...)
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  24.  88
    The Technologies of Isolation.Steve Jones - 2010 - Japanese Studies 30 (2):185-198.
    In this investigation of the Japanese film Kairo, I contemplate how the horrors present in the film relate to the issue of self, by examining a number of interlocking motifs. These include thematic foci on disease and technology which are more intimately and inwardly focused that the film's conclusion first appears to suggest. The true horror here, I argue, is ontological: centred on the self and its divorcing from the exterior world, especially founded in an increased use of and reliance (...)
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  25. Video Nasty: The Moral Apocalypse in Koji Suzuki’s Ring.Steve Jones - 2012 - Lit 23 (3):212-225.
    Although overshadowed by its filmic adaptations (Hideo Nakata, 1998 and Gore Verbinski, 2002), Koji Suzuki’s novel Ring (1991) is at the heart of the international explosion of interest in Japanese horror. This article seeks to explore Suzuki’s overlooked text. Unlike the film versions, the novel is more explicitly focused on the line between self-preservation and self-sacrifice, critiquing the ease with which the former is privileged over the latter. In the novel then, the horror of Sadako’s curse raises questions about the (...)
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  26. XXXombies: Economies of Desire and Disgust.Steve Jones - 2013
    Drawing on the well-established understanding of the zombie as metaphor for the deadening effects of consumer capitalism, this chapter seeks to account for three distinct changes that contextualise 21st century zombie fiction. The first is situational: the global economic crisis has amplified the anxieties that inspired Romero's critique of consumer capitalism in Dawn of the Dead (1978). The second is intellectual: as Chapman and Anderson (2011) note, there has been an “explosion of research on all aspects of disgust” in recent (...)
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