4th International Conference

Digital Culture & AudioVisual Challenges

Interdisciplinary Creativity in Arts and Technology

Hybrid - Corfu/Online, May 13-14, 2022

Zombies & Inbreeders: Weird romances in contemporary films
Date and Time: 14/05/2022 (19:00-20:30)
Location: Ionian Academy
Yorgos Drosos, Styliani-Anna Klimatsaki, Dalila Honorato

During the 20th century, fringe and terrifying protagonists, such as zombies, cannibals, incestuous individuals and their respective stories were –for the most part- featured in low-budget and/or independent films, usually attracting limited and specific audiences. Notwithstanding some celebrated exceptions, the films described above pertained to cinematic genres or subgenres with limited production value and elementary cinematic and artistic requirements (with regard to aesthetics, directing, screen writing and so on).

In recent times, these protagonists as well as the cinematic current that established the illustration of fringe, terrifying and disgusting protagonists and respectively, the narrative depiction of their stories are no longer outsiders; on the contrary. Over the last two decades, the sheer numbers of screenings and the highly acclaimed TV series and films in rental and video streaming platforms as well as their access to mainstream film nominations show us that the representation of monstrosity and its relevant romantic affairs, either in their realistic or their metaphorical depictions, attract a numerous audience.

The proposed paper investigates the protagonist duets and the ways uncommon romantic affairs are portrayed (affairs between zombies and living humans and between incestuous relationships between members of the same family) despite the paradox of such relationship and/or because of it. Is it noted that the term “paradox” is being used to indicate that in spite of the negative frame of such relationships, love and devotion between monstrous love pairs a) can exist, b) do exist and c) can be represented.

Using a semiotic/aesthetic analysis, the proposed paper investigates the film Warm Bodies (2013) and the TV series Santa Clarita Diet (2017-2019) and studies the depiction of their protagonists and their love affair in the realistic monstrosity representation. It also explores the two films Delta (2008) and Strella/ A woman’s way (2009) in the metaphorical monstrosity representation.

How are the protagonists portrayed? As heroes or as Antiheroes? In what ways does their weird relationship and its negative/monstrous frame affect the core of their portrayal? In what ways their story of love (?) and devotion is depicted in relation to a cinematic sociocultural setting and In relation to the sociocultural reality?

The proposed paper will try to answer these indicative questions about weird and ghastly relationships that develop among couples who appertain to the ghastly category (zombies-leaving and incestuous individuals) in contemporary films and TV series.

Yorgos Drosos

Yorgos (Georgios) Drosos is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Audio and Visual Arts of the Ionian University. His research, entitled “Aspects of the Monstrous in 21st Century Audiovisual Fiction”, examines the impressive rise in popularity of the zombie subgenre during the last few decades. His analysis focuses on films, series and video games featuring said monster and draws on semiotics and aesthetics, along with disciplines such as film studies, psychology, anthropology, plus interviews from fans and professionals of the horror scene.

Styliani-Anna Klimatsaki
Styliani Anna Klimatsaki is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Audio and Visual Arts of the Ionian University. Her research, entitled “Incest in world cinema: the cinematic portrayal of gender, social roles, and sexual orientation within incestuous relationships” focuses on the depiction of incestuous desire, on the violation or/and transgression of the incest taboo and on the representation and performance of gender, social roles and sexual orientation within incestuous relationships. It is based on the study of the world cinema fiction films which are distributed during the last twenty years among differentiated countries and were nominated in acclaimed festivals.

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