Video/MP4; File size: 231.4 MB; Duration: 1:07:19
Fear 2000: Horror Undying
Film studies, Horror films, Environmental justice, Social justice, Racial justice, Decolonization, Settler colonialism, Hegemony, Patriarchy, Anti-racism, Race discrimination, Indigenous peoples -- Study and teaching
To live under the conditions of settler-colonialism as an Indigenous person is to exist under a terrifying structure of dispossession and violence. And yet, American cinema has tended to imagine the opposite by rendering white settlers and the state as the victims of terrifying Indigenous others seeking violent revenge. This talk examines representations of Indigenous peoples in contemporary American horror cinema from the 1970s to the present, focusing on the trope of the vengeful Indigenous killer.
I link these contemporary representations to early colonial texts which circulated during initial “contact” with Indigenous peoples and the colonization of the Americas in order to gesture towards a genealogy of the revenge trope. Although in recent years Hollywood has begun to render Indigenous peoples more sympathetically, these narratives nonetheless continue to perpetuate harmful stereotypes about Indigenous peoples that are premised upon western white supremacist and patriarchal worldviews. Indigenous filmmakers, writers, critics, and audiences have responded to this long history of harmful representation in their works and in doing so they expose these works’ foundational colonial ideologies and challenge longstanding national mythos.
Kali Simmons is an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. She holds a PhD in English from the University of California Riverside. An Indigenous feminist scholar of Oglala Lakota descent, her work examines depictions of North American Native peoples in film and literature with an emphasis on the genres of horror, speculative fiction, documentary, and ethnography. Her writing on Indigenous representation in contemporary media has appeared in the Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Science Fiction Film and Television, Los Angeles Review of Books, and on vulture.com.
Fear 2000 is a conference series dedicated to twenty-first century horror media convened by Craig Ian Mann, Chris Cooke and Oli Hicks and hosted by the Centre for Culture, Media and Society at Sheffield Hallam University.
Simmons, Kali. Keynote Lecture, “The Savage Screen: Vengeful Indigeneity in the Modern American Horror Film” Fear 2000 Conference, Sheffield-Hallam University, August 5, 2022.