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February 1996, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mikel Koven <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 24 Feb 1996 15:57:07 -0330
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (34 lines)
Regarding whether or not audience identification with killers is as cut
and dried as the assumption goes, or whether Carol Clover's thesis is
correct ...
I witnessed a rather interesting proof of Clover's thesis.  I was at a
midnight screening of Reservoir Dogs (it was never theatrically released
in NFLD) and everyone cheered for their favorite character during the
opening credits. ( IF you remember, everybody gets their own shot, in
slow motion, with their names on the bottom of the screen, to the song
"Little Green Back")  Obviously Tarantino and Keitel recieved major
cheers and applause, but these all paled in comparision to the cheering
for Micheal Madsen.  A bit creepy I thought, but then again, this is
Newfoundland.   I took this as an indication of, if not "identification"
then certainly preference, for specific characters.  As loud as the
cheering was for Madsen's opening credit, it was nothing in comparision
to when he was blown away by Tim Roth.  All this is a rather lengthy way
of noting that I believe what happened was not only an appreciation for a
psycho-killer (if I may be allowed to call Madsen that), but an equal if
not greater appreciation for said psycho's death.
Film studies may be a much stronger discipline if theoretical concepts
were applied to actual filmgoing experiences.  Just my discipline-centric
opinion though.
Mikel J. Koven
Department of Folklore
Memorial University of Newfoundland
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