My focus on one writer/director/producer/actor occurs here because the work of M. Night Shyamalan, as I will demonstrate, can be taken to exemplify a specific type of intertextual position-taking within “the field of horror” (Gelder, Horror 1 and 6, “Vampire” 30). In order to explore the “space of possibles” (Bourdieu, Field 30) that texts interact with and come culturally to occupy, I will argue that different types of horror films are intended to take up positions within this “space of possibles,” as authors, via their texts, aim to link themselves to preceding traditions in the cultural history of horror, distinguishing themselves and their texts relationally from other generic productions. The “field of horror” is thus a cultural space in which texts and authors seek distinction from their rivals at the same time as seeking recognition within horror’s generic “field of cultural production” (see Bourdieu, Field). Rather than considering intertextuality as an attribute of allegedly “postmodern” horror, this chapter will instead address distinctions in cultural value that can be constructed through horror texts’ intertextual strategies, developing a Bourdieu-derived theoretical approach to the films of M. Night Shyamalan. In the following section, I will explore some theoretical preliminaries before analyzing Shyamalan’s films extratextually and intertextually. I will then conclude with a brief audience study related to Shyamalan’s film Signs (2004).
|Title of host publication||Critical Approaches to the Films of M. Night Shyamalan|
|Subtitle of host publication||Spoiler Warnings|
|Editors||Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock|
|Publisher||Palgrave Macmillan US|
|Number of pages||16|
|ISBN (Print)||9780230104082, 9781349288571|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|