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The Amateur Historian and the Electronic Archive: Identity, Power and
the Function of Lists, Facts and Memories on “Video Nasty”-Themed Websites

by Kate Egan

In a piece devoted to the gender dynamics of internet chatrooms, Lori
Kendall argues that the web is a particularly useful receptacle for the
performance of identities, and, in particular - considering that,
according to her research, the web remains a male dominated realm - the
performance of a variety of masculine identities. As she argues:

… because taken-for-granted visual cues are unavailable in online
text-based communication, people must make choices about what to reveal
about themselves, [and] how to describe themselves […] The limitations
and special factors of online interaction can thus make participants
more conscious of both their own identity performances and their
evaluation of others’ identity performances (Kendall, 2000: 259).

My own research into “video nasty” websites was an attempt to test this
hypothesis - to consider the nature of the relationship between online
fans of the “nasties” and the object of the “nasty” itself, and the
power relations and identity performances that might exist behind this
relationship. Although my study was on a much smaller scale to Kendall’s
(in total I polled twenty “nasty” sites and followed “nasty” debate and
discussion on four horror or cult-orientated message boards), some
interesting themes, which relate to this idea of performed online (and
implicitly gendered) identities, clearly emerged [1].

Sites differ in their origins. Some, such as Video Carnage and I Fell in
Love With a Video Nastie are small operations, devoted solely to a
discussion of previously banned video titles and reminiscences about the
“video nasty” era of the early to mid 1980s. Others, such as the “nasty”
pages in Dark Angel’s Realm of Horror, Hysteria/Slasher/Nasties, The
Horrorscope and Keith’s Flesheaters exist as off-shoots of British fan
sites devoted to horror films or exploitation cinema. Despite such
differences, all sites adopted a similar approach in terms of the
content and presentation of their information on the “nasties”. Firstly,
such sites showed an almost obsessional interest in lists, statistics,
facts and numbers (usually based around censorship information relating
to the “nasties”) as well as frequently including sections devoted to
memories and nostalgia. Secondly, on the whole, site creators appeared
to want to allow the presentation and display of this information to
foreground their ability to teach others about the “nasties”, and thus
allow this to strengthen the unique identity of the site and the site’s
creator.

Arguably, what also seems to mesh with these tendencies on “nasty” sites
is the fact that, as far as it was possible to determine, and bearing in
mind that, as a number of critics have identified, the internet is a
form of media where gendered identities are frequently masked and
indeterminate (for instance, see Bassett, 1997), such sites appeared to
have been largely constructed by male fans and collectors of the
“nasties” [2]. While this may seem a large theoretical “leap” to make
(in terms of linking such tendencies to the site creator’s gender), the
work of other cultural critics can help to firm up this idea, in
relation to my findings on “nasty” sites.

Firstly, such an approach, of presenting information and facts in a
pedagogic manner, is something that Julian Hoxter also identifies in his
study of fan sites devoted to The Exorcist (although, notably, he fails
to link this up to the fact that the majority of the Exorcist sites that
he polled were also constructed by male fans [3]). As he argues:

In terms of content, the typical fan website is helpful and friendly in
its tone, but it is helpful in the way of a “sage advisor”. There is a
pedagogic quality to the presentation of information. The site provides
a service that has to do with pleasure certainly, but that service is
offered on certain terms […] and with the understanding that the visitor
is there to be informed: to learn something. There is, in this way a
kind of double play with the notion of fandom. All fans are equal and
welcome, but this is my site, my contents (even if, as is often the
case, every other site has many of the same entries) and I’m teaching
you my way (Hoxter, 2000: 175).

Thus, if Hoxter’s findings and my own findings are to be believed, such
fan related sites: 1) appear to want to function, or present themselves
as functioning, as educational forums, where the website creator has
control through the wielding of information, and, through this wielding
of information, is given the right not only to speak but to teach, and
2) to present the site as unique because it is their site, and,
therefore, these facts belong to them. What Hoxter’s observations
suggest is that while such websites (based around banned horror video
titles or censorship cause celebres) appear to be spaces that welcome
others into the fold (and, indeed, at least on the “nasty” sites that I
visited, frequent encouragement is made to visitors to supply the site
creator with further information), such sites, on the whole, only
welcome such visitors in on certain terms - namely that they should,
fundamentally, appreciate and respect the autonomy of the website
creator as teacher and guide.

Such an approach - where the collecting together, and wielding, of facts
and figures allows the male “nasty” website creator to construct and
maintain a distinctly powerful identity as a subcultural historian of
the “nasties” - has key correlations to Joanne Hollows’ recent work on
the inherent masculinity of cult (or subcultural) audiences and their
consumption patterns. Hollows, employing the theoretical approaches
adopted by Sarah Thornton (1995) in her book Club Cultures, critiques
the supposed democracy and liberality of certain types of cult or
subcultural practices by suggesting how they hinge on ideas of
distinction and exclusion - where the authentic practices of those who
indulge in the obscure or forbidden (which the “video nasty”, with its
explicit status as a previously banned object, seems to exemplify) are
always masculinised, in opposition to a supposedly feminine, mass and
commercial mainstream. For Hollows, such authentic and implicitly
masculine practices involve a series of oppositions which can be
labelled as positively masculine versus negatively feminine - a serious
and “intense” involvement in important cultural objects as opposed to a
“random, directionless” disinterest in mere entertainment (Xavier Mendik
and Graeme Harper cited in Hollows, forthcoming); an appreciation of the
“public” arenas of the grubby “seedy” video outlet or grindhouse theatre
versus the more “private” feminised space of the home; and, perhaps most
notably, a conception of the fan as an authentic, and trivia-minded,
collector as opposed to a mindless consumer of goods.

The collecting together of facts and figures on “nasty” websites can be
seen as a part of the “nasty” fan’s primary status as a collector of
previously banned, imported or uncertified videos - with the primacy of
this idea of the “nasty” fan as collector being clear on all websites I
visited, in message board discussion (where fans’ video collections were
frequently discussed at length) and from the fan discourse (letters,
editorials, classifieds, etc.) in such UK horror magazines as The Dark
Side. Indeed, it should be noted, here, that, the approaches of
magazines such as The Dark Side provide a key link to the layout and
norms of the “nasty” website. As websites often concede [4], the
frequent source of some of the facts and information on such “nasty”
sites are niche British horror magazines like The Dark Side (who often
feature lists of “nasty” titles accompanied by facts, figures and
statistics relating to their censorship and distribution histories).
What this reveals is that the use of such lists in The Dark Side (as
well as the magazine’s frequent use of memory and nostalgia in their
discussions of the “nasty” era) [5] have become the staple means of
discussing and consuming the “nasties”, for “nasty” collectors who, on
the basis of a number of “nasty” sites, are also readers of such
magazines. This observation has key correlations not only to Hollows’
work, but also to Brigid Cherry’s research into female horror audiences,
where she notes that such audiences often avoid magazines like The Dark
Side, because of their frequent misogynism and gore, but also,
crucially, because of their obsession with trivia and facts (Cherry, 2002).

Taking both the observations of Hollows and Cherry into account, then,
what this seems to suggest is that, while it cannot be assumed that all
fans of the “nasty” are male (and this is not what I’m attempting to
argue here), certain networks of “nasty” appreciation and fandom,
utilised on the whole by male fans, have distinct norms (of employing
facts, information and memories) which relate to the inherent
masculinity that underpins dominant notions of cult collecting and
consumption practices (identified by Hollows). Furthermore, such norms
appear to be largely influenced by the approaches adopted by such niche
publications as The Dark Side, a publication which, at least according
to Cherry’s research, has a predominantly male readership. Arguably,
then, it is such norms that are adopted on a significant number of
“nasty” websites, and are then utilised in order to construct the
“nasty” website creator’s identity as a powerful subcultural teacher and
historian.

While this approach of collecting together facts and figures as a means
of strengthening a male fan’s sense of identity can be seen (in Hollows’
terms) as a powerfully masculine act, it can also be viewed as a
problematically masculine act, in the sense that knowledge, facts and
collecting have an ambiguous position in relation to traditional notions
of masculinity. As Will Straw acknowledges, in his study of the gender
dynamics of record collecting:

… [there is an] uncertainty […] rooted in competing images of the
collection as cultural monument and private haven. Record collections
are seen as both public displays of power/knowledge and private refuges
from the sexual and social world; as either structures of control or the
by-products of irrational and fetishistic obsession; as material
evidence of the homosocial information-mongering which is one
underpinning of male power and compensatory undertakings by those unable
to wield that power (Straw, 1997: 4).

With this in mind, it is worth considering how such (in Hollows’ terms)
implicitly masculine subcultural activities as the collecting of the
facts, figures and materials surrounding an illicit or illegal object
may not be as straightforwardly masculine, dominant and powerful as they
may, at first, appear. For Straw, while such activities may appear, on
the surface, to connote masculine authority (achieved through “public
display”), they also suggest an irrational obsession with cultural
artefacts and a regression into a private world. Indeed, as should be
apparent, what is clear, here, is that if the links between collecting,
knowledge and masculinity are underpinned by an “uncertainty” in terms
of competing images of masculine identity, they are also underpinned, as
the above Straw quote recognises, by a pull between notions of the
public and the private (something which complicates Hollows’ notion that
the “private” is always a feminised space and the “public” a distinctly
masculine space).

The analysis that follows, then, focuses in on these male networks of
“nasty” appreciation and consumption and looks in more detail at the
nature of these pulls, between the private and the public and autonomy
and insecurity, within the realms of male-orientated “nasty” website
discourse. My aim will, firstly, and in line with Hoxter, be to
demonstrate how male website creators present their sites as educational
forums, or, to employ Jim Collins’ rhetoric, as “archives” (Collins,
1995), where facts and memories about the “nasties” are used to solidify
the creator’s identity as a powerful subcultural teacher and historian.
Secondly, my analysis will also attempt to demonstrate that such
websites are based on a complicated meshing of the public and the
historical, and the private and the personal, which hints at the
“uncertainty” that exists behind such male identity projects, and which,
in the more “public” arena of the message board, can lead to such
approaches appearing defensive or combative, as opposed to powerful and
masterful.

Checklists and Other Animals: The “Greedy Gathering” of Facts, Numbers
and Lists

At the top of the home page of the Video Carnage website, the site’s
creator opens with a mission statement which attempts to demonstrate the
function and the purpose of the site to its visitors. It notes that:

This web-site is aimed primarily at building an archive of the many
weird and wonderful films (horror, sleaze, exploitation, etc…) available
on tape in the UK, before BBFC video certification came into force […] I
created Video Carnage. My own humble effort to try and preserve some of
the memorable and not-so-memorable video releases of yesteryear [6].

What such a statement immediately conveys is not so much the idea that
the site will operate as a forum for discussion about the “nasties” (and
other pre-certification videos) and the relative merits, or lack of
merits, of the films concerned, but that the site’s primary function is
to operate as an online archive of lost and forgotten videos - where
materials and information will be “preserved” and offered up to those
who visit the site. What such an approach immediately suggests is that
this site is, in many respects, presented as a museum exhibit - put
together and displayed by a sole curator, who collates and archives
material for the benefit, and education, of others.

As Hoxter recognises, such an approach (where websites promote the
unique and personal service of their site) appears counter to the fact
that the majority of such sites often present similar content in
remarkably similar formats. Indeed, the same staple information does
tend to appear on the large majority of “nasty” sites - with sections
being devoted to scanned video covers and stills of video covers, lists
of different running times and distributor details for different
versions of each video, lists of cuts imposed on each version of these
videos, lists of alternative titles for each video, and a lengthy
synopsis of the censorship background behind, and the press campaign
against, the “nasties”.

Although the use of particular types of information often appears
identical and standardised (in line with the fact that some of this
information has been culled from, and influenced by, magazines or other
published sources), it is notable that the information presented is
often imperfect, inconsistent and does vary slightly from site to site.
Thus, while entries for certain “nasty” titles will include an original
ex-rental video cover (scanned on both sides) and a lengthy review,
other entries provide very little information, with maybe only a still
of a video cover, or a scanned cover of an imported video or a DVD
re-release, rather than an ex-rental original. These inconsistencies are
quite obviously based on the fact that some of the information provided
has been culled from the creators’ own video collections (which,
considering the illicit nature of some of the methods involved in “video
nasty” collecting, will include a piecemeal mixture of videos obtained
from a variety of sources and with a variety of origins). Indeed, it is
admitted by certain websites that their information is rather general in
places as they “…haven’t had the pleasure of viewing all of […the
‘nasties’] yet” [7].

In some ways, it is this mish-mash of different pieces of information
being collated together, and of significant gaps existing in this
information, that gives each site its “human” dimension, and the sense
that it is engaging in an ongoing, unique and original act of retrieving
lost and forgotten facts and materials. Such a dimension, therefore,
assists in presenting each site creator as an amateur historian, or, to
use Jim Collins’ terminology, a “popular archivist” (Collins, 1995: 27)
- committed to the activity of hunting down and placing items and pieces
of information in their collection of online artefacts. However, if this
suggests, as the Video Carnage creator does, that this role of amateur
historian is a “humble” activity, it also appears, in some ways, as a
noble and heroic one - in the sense that such website constructors are
putting together this archive for the benefit of others, and their
subcultural education. While the fan’s collection of videos, materials
and facts could have been kept as a private haven of pleasure for the
collector himself, they have been turned into a “public display” -
which, through the site’s supposed function as an archive, gives the
website constructor a sense of contributing to cultural history and of
contributing to a field of learning about the “nasty” and all that
surrounds it.

However, if a number of facts and materials are amassed in this way on
“nasty” websites (by plundering the creator’s own private video
collections and placing the materials therein for public display as a
contribution to a cultural history which can benefit and enrich the
sites’ visitors), this “collective enterprise” (Straw, 1997: 6) seems to
give the website constructor a sense of self-worth, in the sense that
this is his contribution, of his facts and materials, on his website.
While this sense of self-worth is convincingly achieved through the
placing of materials online which belong to the archivist (in the sense
that they originate from the archivist’s collection), this does not
account for the fact that a number of other materials and facts placed
online quite obviously derive not from the website creators themselves
(or even, primarily, from niche horror publications), but from academic,
official, governmental or state sources.

Indeed, it is notable that, if “nasty” websites sometimes include pages
of video covers, and sometimes include lists of running times, cuts and
distributor details, every single site that I visited always has one
central and identical staple - the Director of Public Prosecutions’
(DPP) list of “video nasties” (or, more specifically, the list of videos
that, in the early 1980s, were deemed liable for prosecution under the
1959 Obscene Publications Act). While the contents of this list vary
from site to site - something which is perhaps inevitable, considering
that the DPP frequently removed and added titles to the list prior to
the passing of the 1984 Video Recordings Act - it is always included,
and is often given the air of a being an “official” list (in particular,
on the Hysteria/Slasher/Nasties site, where the list is introduced as
“…the original, the infamous, the banned, the…video-nasties” and on
Wayney’s Movie World, where it’s described as “…the DPP’s original list
of ‘Video Nasties’” [8]).

In terms of Hoxter’s initial comment, that such websites present
information as their facts, which they own and that they will teach, the
constant inclusion of this list, and of other British Board of Film
Classification (BBFC) press releases problematises what has been argued
thus far. To put it simply, how can websites present these facts as
their information, and as part of their archive, when the facts so
obviously derive from official documents produced by governmental or
state departments? A couple of clues can be obtained from a number of
message board discussions surrounding the “nasties”.

On a message board thread, set up as part of the Guardian Unlimited
website, a long debate on the “video nasties” (stretching to 86
messages) is initiated by a posting which asks if others have seen any
of the “nasties”, and, if so, what their opinions are of them. While the
initial debate centres around experiences of renting “nasties” in the
1980s, and of the merits of particular titles, this debate soon becomes
subsumed by a discussion of which websites to look at, and which sources
to use for further information and facts. Towards the end of the thread,
the participants begin to discuss the intricacies of cuts to particular
videos, and why such cuts were made by the censors. Constant references
are made to BBFC decisions, culminating in the recommendation that: “if
you want to keep track of the BBFC, check out
http://www.melonfarmers.co.uk or visit their website at
http://www.bbfc.co.uk. It has all their guidelines, press releases and
other geek shit” [9].

This comment, although made as a simple and friendly recommendation to
other message board users, is incredibly useful in its labelling of such
official and governmental documents as “geek shit”, and the use of this
term reveals two related, but seemingly opposed, ideas. Firstly, there
is the simple fact that these pieces of information, press releases and
lists are not seen as “governmental shit” but “geek shit”, and that they
therefore seem to function, for such “nasty” enthusiasts, as sources for
fan information, rather than as documents used and distributed amongst
official bodies. What such an approach suggests is that not only is such
information appropriated by the fan, but that, in some ways, the fan
therefore owns it - it is their property, to use as they so desire.

If this comment suggests that such fans and website creators reclaim
official sources as their collective property, it does not suggest how
they use it and why they use it. A useful example of the purpose such
information has for such fans and enthusiasts can again be found on a
message board thread. Here, as with the previous example, a thread
discussion is initiated by a fan who requests recollections and
experiences of watching slasher films in the early 1980s. While the vast
majority of this discussion is enacted by American fans, a separate
debate (woven throughout the thread) begins to occur between two British
message board users (one of whom, significantly, has his own “nasty”
site, Hysteria/Slasher/Nasties), who commence a discussion of the
intricacies of British censorship decisions. The “nasty” site creator,
Justin (responding to mentions of such titles as Nightmares in a Damaged
Brain and Texas Chainsaw Massacre) begins by explaining the background
to the “video nasties” and the “video nasty” era to the message board’s
American users, with a number of his postings sounding exactly like
entries from his website, where the “story” of the “nasties” is
recounted in the form of a mock-history lesson (beginning with the
phrase “when the Video Recordings Act came into being in the mid-80’s…”).

Justin’s dominance over this discussion is suddenly broken by another
British participant (Tim), who, while confirming that Justin is correct
in his assumption that Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Exorcist never
appeared on the DPP’s “nasty” list, notes that the former film was
rejected by the BBFC in 1975 and had not been given a cinema release
until the late 1990s. If this questioning of Justin’s ability to hold
mastery over official information does not fully succeed in bursting his
“power bubble”, Tim continues his posting by pasting in a reproduction
of the BBFC press release issued when the film was finally given a
theatrical certificate. Justin then, in turn, admits defeat on this
particular factual detail, but strikes back with a lengthy quotation
from James Ferman, secretary of the BBFC at the time the film was
resubmitted and rejected in 1977, culled from an academic book on
censorship [10].

While this message board thread seems to have the friendly air of users
passing back and forth pieces of information, and of pooling together
knowledge for the greater good (an important aspect of such threads),
such a discussion also appears to be firmly based around the need for
“nasty” fans to maintain their identity as teachers and guides, in the
sense that official sources and facts can be used as “weapons” to win
arguments and emerge as the proven expert. Further to this, it is
interesting that Tim is able to reproduce an entire official source by
visiting another website (in all likelihood, the BBFC site), and pasting
it in to his own text. Here, the particular workings of the internet
(where text from other sources can be retrieved from other sites, and
can be re-incorporated as part of the fan’s message board text) appears
as a particular advantage for such discussions - allowing for a literal
reclaiming of such official texts as the property of the fan, for the
purposes of authenticating and giving power to fan discussion and debate.

However, as this particular message board discussion should suggest,
this reclaiming of official material may appear to be a positive and
progressive act, but it also appears as an implicitly defensive one.
While the messages posted by Justin and Tim appear, on the surface, as a
friendly discussion, they appear to mutate into a “battle of wills”
where one lecture on the intricacies of the “nasties” is counter-acted
by another, and where, at sticky and awkward moments, sources of
information are utilised to back up particular points. Thus, in the
sense that such fan debates continue to fall-back on, and are dependent
on, official and published sources to win arguments and retain their
power to teach, it could be suggested that what underpins this approach
is a defensiveness and an insecurity that such power will be taken away
from them by a knowledgeable competitor, with a greater mastery over the
facts concerned. As Julian Hoxter points out:

The acquisition of fan knowledge is about learning, certainly, but its
display in websites often reads like the kind of learning Margot Waddell
describes as the “…greedy gathering-of-facts-and-information” which, for
her, signifies an overwhelming need for security […]. Waddell cites a
pattern of academic, intellectual or knowledge-based achievement of this
sort in adolescent patients, whose motivations have very little to do
with […] “learning as understanding” and “for development”[…] and
everything to do with a kind of intellectual consumption as defence
(Hoxter, 2000:179) [11].

This notion of the fan gathering together knowledge and facts as an
insecure, defensive display of learning is identified by both Kendall
and Straw as a traditional characteristic of the nerd, who can be seen
as using a mastery over facts or, in Kendall’s examples, technology as
compensation for a lack of social and implicitly male power in the real
(or off-line) world (and this is the second, and more obvious,
connotation of the labelling of official sources as “geek shit”). Thus,
for Straw, while “…nerdish dispositions are marked by their ability to
turn virtually any domain of expertise into a series of numbers on a
checklist” (Straw, 1997: 8), this is countered by the fact that
“…canonical forms of nerdishness take shape around domains of knowledge
[…] which may only in special circumstances emerge as heroic or
eroticised…” (Straw, 1997: 10)[12]. If, in the world at large, such
dispositions (and attempts to wield power through knowledge) may often
fail to appear straightforwardly masculine and powerful, within the
insular world of the fan website, where hierarchies of power operate on
different terms, such actions potentially give a sense of autonomy to
the fan. The assumed geek ownership of facts and official sources
becomes part of an attempt to contribute to and occupy the cultural
history surrounding the “nasties”.

It is with this in mind that I return to the question of why such
official sources are utilised and reclaimed by such message board
contributors and “nasty” website creators. If, as has traditionally been
argued, subcultures and fan formations, of the kind of which the
“nasties” culture is an example, have operated as subversive forces in
society [13] - existing in opposition to established and dominant bodies
and organisations (of which the DPP, the BBFC and, to some extent,
academia in general are clear examples) - then why are the press
releases, lists, published works and documents of such bodies reclaimed
in this way, and used as a defensive tool by such fans?

For Hoxter, a major sense of insecurity for the fan, when considering
their relationship to the object of their obsession, is the fact that
“in normal circumstances, the fan can only ever aspire to becoming, at
most, a post facto addition to the cultural meaning of […a] film”
(Hoxter, 2000: 178). In terms of a number of fan cultures that centre
around films, it is the background information surrounding the film
itself (star profiles, production information and critical reception)
that come together to give the film its cultural meaning. However, in
terms of the “nasties”, whose reputation and status is based more around
the details of the press campaign against them and the subsequent state
legislation which banned them, it is the activities of the government,
the censors, and the media (in the form of the national press and
campaigners) which have assisted in giving them a cultural meaning and a
history.

In this sense, for fans to obtain any closeness to their favoured
object, the history of the “nasties” needs not only to be recounted and
preserved by fans, but, through the snatching back of facts from
official bodies, to be wrenched away from those who have traditionally
been seen as the main contributors to the “nasties”’ cultural meaning.
Thus, while official sources are consistently utilised by such website
creators, the bodies from whom such sources have been obtained or
borrowed are consistently set up as the enemy (in a way which correlates
with Hollows’ notions of the need for male cult consumers to appear as
authentic and radical). This theorised enemy or “other” appears to be a
hugely malleable entity on such sites - while some cite specific bodies,
or individuals, whom they are directly opposing (for instance,
Hysteria/Slasher/Nasties has a section entitled “…why I grew up to hate
the Daily Mail!” [14]), other sites use rather general terms to describe
the perceived enemy, including such phrases as “the intelligentsia”, “a
certain vocal minority of so-called do-gooders”, “the righteous fools”,
“the blue-rinsed octogenarians”, “the media”, and “society’s
intellectually challenged” [15].

It is perhaps the fact that this enemy is so vague and malleable that
allows website creators to easily mock, dismiss and parody their
antagonist or “other”. For instance, in the Dark Angel’s Realm of Horror
message board, mysterious postings from a “Mrs Mary Whitehouse” argue
for the banning of everything - from pigeons to gardening shears. As
Mark Jancovich has pointed out, about the politics of cult fan
formations in general:

…cult movie audiences are less an internally coherent “taste culture”
than a series of frequently opposed and contradictory reading strategies
that are defined through a sense of their difference to an equally
incoherently imagined “normality”, a loose conglomeration of corporate
power, lower middle class conformity and prudishness, academic elitism
and political conspiracy (Jancovich, 2002: 315) [16].

If, as website sections on the “nasties”’ censorship history often
convey, it was this malleable enemy who not only removed their object of
obsession from them (by banning it), but also, in the process, dismissed
those who coveted it as social inadequates, deviants and, in extreme
cases, perverts, then a sense of autonomy can be achieved by the fan by
reclaiming the right to educate, to teach and to wield facts and
statistics, and to proclaim, in a total reversal of logic that it is
“them” (“normal” or dominant spheres of society) that are
“intellectually challenged”, and “us” (the fans) who are committed to an
authentic, heroic, and truly factual, project of learning.

However, while this seems a powerful act on the part of “nasty” fans,
and an act which redeems the problematic masculinity of their potential
“nerd” or “geek” status, it still remains an act that fundamentally
depends on those they so fervently oppose. If such fans want to obtain a
sense of themselves as authentic and original educators and historians,
and to achieve dominance over other fans by knowing the most facts,
figures and information, then this can only be achieved 1) by “propping
themselves up” with bookish and factual sources, which are wrenched away
from their original contexts and reclaimed as their own, 2) by adopting
a educational, pedagogic and journalistic tone, which replicates the
tone and approaches of those newspapers, magazines, and books that they
wish to distinguish themselves from, and 3) by closeting themselves away
in the safe and secure realm of the website, where they call the shots
and where power can be wielded without being challenged or questioned.

If this dependency on second-hand information is sometimes exposed in
debates with other “nasty” fans (as in the message board discussion
between Justin and Tim), then the fan can always unleash a second weapon
to demonstrate their true authenticity, power and knowledge - their
ability to reminisce and recount nostalgic memories and experiences
about renting the films themselves. If one prominent staple of the
“nasty” site is to collate together facts, materials and statistics, as
a means of educating others and constructing a history around the object
of their obsession, then another staple is the site section where
creators regress away, not only into the private and autonomous haven of
their online archive, but back in time to a nostalgic past - the “golden
age” of the “video nasty”.

The “Halcyon Days of Horror”: Nostalgia and the Construction of a Male
Rite of Passage

In terms of what has been argued thus far, it can be seen that the
activities of “nasty” website creators are underpinned by a particularly
contradictory logic. While the creation of an archive and the wielding
of facts are presented as heroic and, implicitly, powerful activities
within the confines of a “nasty” website, they could also, from an
external point of view, be seen as irrational and anti-social activities
- in the sense that such website creators are displaying an attachment
to a series of lifeless objects, factual information and materials. The
inclusion of sections which recount nostalgic memories on such sites
seems to add to this sense that website creators are not just hiding
behind facts, sources and materials, but are hiding away in a
romanticised past.

This contradictory state of affairs is something that Fred Davis is
quick to identify in his book-length study of nostalgia Yearning for
Yesterday. Here, in one of the few direct references to gender in the
book, Davis confirms that nostalgia appears to be an activity and a tool
that, historically, has tended to be utilised more by men than by women,
and that, in some respects, this stands in opposition to the idea that
nostalgia is popularly considered to be an emotional, irrational and,
thus, a particularly feminised activity. As he argues:

Early studies, including the many by American psychologists during the
1930-1960 heyday of the “personality inventory” approach to behavioural
phenomena, seemed to establish, though by no means conclusively, that
men are the more nostalgic. This, of course, flies in the face of that
familiar strain in popular thought which holds that women are the more
sentimental, more romantic, more open to emotional influence, and in
general more “feelings-orientated” and hence, one would infer, more
nostalgia-prone (Davis, 1979: 55).

However, in another part of the book (devoted to nostalgia and
identity), Davis attempts to demonstrate how nostalgia can be used as a
powerful, rather than an emotional or regressive, tool, allowing a
person to strengthen their sense of identity - by making them feel,
through a use of past memories, that at one time in their life (in
particular, in their adolescence or early adulthood) they were not only
active and dynamic, but that they participated in radical, subversive
and illicit activities. To put it simply, such an approach, and its use
on “nasty” websites, can act as a demonstration that such fans were
there at the beginning - doing radical things, opposing the mainstream
and taking part in what would later become a phenomenon. As Davis puts it:

…[nostalgia] likes to fasten on those periods in our past when we
thought and felt ourselves different; when we espoused minority tastes
in movies, music, comics, clothes, and ice cream flavors; when our
secret sorrows and exclusion from the mainstream seemed somehow more
enobling than the “vulgar enjoyments” of the crowd (Davis, 1979: 40).

This feeling of participating in illicit activities and of taking part
in the making of the history of the “nasties” (before it was even known
about or widely documented) does not just succeed in giving a unique
autobiographical and “human” quality to each site. In contrast to the
idea that a “nasty” archive is a stuffy, anti-social realm, this feeling
also gives each site a sense of dynamism - mixing together the distinct
romanticism of a past age, with the excitement, risk-taking and danger
which are part and parcel of traditional ideas of what it’s like to be
young and male.

This pull (between romanticism and ideas of danger and risk-taking, or,
to put it another way, emotional attachment and active participation) is
something that comes across distinctly in the sections devoted to
memories and nostalgia on a number of “nasty” sites. Notably, such
stories operate in three different, but related, threads. Firstly,
sub-headings or titles such as “growing up during a moral panic…”
combine with stories of parents renting “nasties” and watching them in
the family home, and of kids swapping stories about “nasties” in the
schoolyard [17], to give a sense of how the “nasties” impacted on the
fan’s life - how it permeated their existence and how it was, to all
intents and purposes, part and parcel of their generation.

Secondly, website creators pinpoint their particular personal and
emotional relationship to the “nasties”, through accounts of the
delights of the early 1980s video-shop (replete with descriptions of
dusty or dirty local shops, with over-sized rounded video cases, and
gory posters on the wall, which stand in opposition to ideas of the
stream-lined, and implicitly mainstream, Blockbuster Video type outlets
of today) [18], and their particular romantic attachment to such
delights and the experiences that surrounded it. Thus, while one fan
states that “I fell in love with a video nastie…” and talks about the
local video shop which has now been turned into an Indian takeaway,
another notes, in his site’s opening mission statement, that “the early
80s in England were the halcyon days of horror films for me” [19].

Thirdly, while such descriptions demonstrate a distinct emotional
attachment to imagined and romanticised times, places and objects from
the fan’s past life, these descriptions also demonstrate the fan’s
active participation in such a time, and the dangerous and illicit
activities they took part in, in order to obtain and watch the object
that fascinated them. As the Hysteria/Slasher/Nasties site notes:

…so, yes I did get to see quite a few horror movies - including some of
those mythical nasties, on friends VCRs. Despite the virulent crackdown
on all things dubious there were still a number of local shops that had
the odd unsavoury item tucked away on a dusty shelf and would turn a
blind eye to a trembling fourteen year old with his parents video card [20].

Here, the site creator not only demonstrates how the “nasties”
phenomenon provided the background to his generation, and how he felt a
sense of attachment to the “nasties”, but also, notably, how he got
involved himself, responding positively to the “nasties”’ connotations
of danger, illicitness and scarcity, taking his parents’ video card into
the video shop, and watching “nasties” on friends’ VCRs.

These three approaches (in combination) allow the fan to demonstrate,
and describe, how he was a part (and is a part) of a particular
community of other fans - those of the same age, nationality and
upbringing, and with the same cultural heritage. At the same time, the
fan can demonstrate his own particular authentic status as someone who
grew up with the “nasty”, is intrinsically tied to it, and has
participated in activities surrounding it from an early age. This
demonstration of the fan’s link to the “nasties” (through nostalgic
descriptions of renting them and experiencing the “video nasty” era)
seems to act, for this particular generation and particular group of
internet-users, as a standard (almost default) way of demonstrating
their status as truly authentic card-carrying “veterans” of a “nasties”
subculture, with a true, deeply ingrained and long-running investment in
all that is illicit and subversive. In addition to this, it also seems
to act as a useful means of solidifying a website creator’s identity as
active and masculine, where descriptions of participating in the “nasty”
phenomenon have a distinct air of male rites of passage (in the sense
that such fans seem to talk about watching and renting the “nasties” as
part of growing up, taking risks, and, implicitly, of becoming a man [21]).

To return to my initial observation, if this use of nostalgia and memory
appears to operate as a way of solidifying a powerful and dynamic
subcultural identity, it still does not account for the fact that such
supposedly heroic activities exist in the past - that they are a
subsidiary of the website creator’s past identity, and not their present
one. Indeed, it is noticeable that while websites remember, in a
positive fashion, the dynamic activities of their past - where “nasties”
were sought out and rented from the grubby local video shop, and stories
were swapped in the schoolyard - these sites also express (as the
comment about the Indian takeaway should demonstrate) a sense of regret
that the video shop, and the consumption activities surrounding it, have
changed. As the Hysteria/Slasher/Nasties site puts it: “…even the days
where one or two ‘nasties’ would cling to the shelves was in decline,
gradually replaced by cut-to-shit Friday the 13th sequels, and soon
there would [be] none left ..." [22].

Taking the earlier-cited mission statement from the creator of Video
Carnage into consideration, it is apparent that such memories, while
functioning on the one hand as a demonstration of the authenticity of
the “nasty” website creator, are also offered up as particular materials
that will be preserved in the website - alongside the facts and figures
re-claimed from official bodies and the materials from the website
creator’s collections - as part of a unique “nasty” archive. In this
sense, these materials operate almost like oral histories, presented as
precious, undiscovered and unique artefacts and slotted into the
“nasties”’ official cultural history (and thus, in some ways, allowing
the fan to rewrite this history from their perspective). To employ the
terms used by Stuart Tannock in his discussion of Bakhtin’s nostalgic
vision in Rabelais and His World, the use of nostalgia on such sites
appears to be a key means of “…opening up a space in the historical
record, of recuperating a set of practices and discourses, within which
we can now read formerly illegible activities and potentialities of
resistance” (Tannock, 1995: 462).

However, while the “nasty” website creator can use nostalgia to re-write
a history of the “nasties” (a powerful act within itself), he can
simultaneously justify the importance and uniqueness of his site and
further demonstrate his own important position within an ongoing “nasty”
subculture. While the gathering together and constructing of an online
archive of his own memories is shown to be a goal that can only be
achieved by the website creator himself (for the purposes of preserving
the memories of a generation), it also, in turn, justifies his
possession and control over the object of the “nasties” and the facts
(official or un-official) surrounding it, as well as his right to teach
others about these facts.

Thus, while the use of nostalgia by website creators can be seen as a
highly progressive act (allowing the site creator to feel a sense of
power and of direction for himself, and a sense that he is also
participating in a shared subcultural project of archiving the memories,
and the heritage, of a particular generation), it is still (in line with
Hollows’ arguments) based on the exclusion of others - whether those who
are excluded from the particular narrative that is constructed around
the “nasties” and its history, or those who refuse to “buy in to” and
invest in the logic around which it is constructed.

While such exclusions operate to solidify and secure the carefully
constructed world of the “nasty” website (and the logic around which it
operates), there is always the danger that such excluded parties will
“bite back” in more “public” fan arenas - exposing and challenging the
“uncertainty” that underpins this approach. A discussion on the Dark
Angel’s Realm of Horror message board appears to provide a particularly
illuminating example of this, where a debate occurs between a number of
male and female horror fans.

The Dark Angel board, while claiming to be a general forum for the
discussion of horror films, tends to concentrate, in the main, on
discussions of collecting and watching the “nasties”. While the board
appears to be dominated by male horror fans, at least during the course
of my research (from July to September 2001), two female horror fans
also used the board. During the course of this time, an argument was
initiated by one of these female fans (Andrea), as to the particular
merits of the “nasty” title I Spit on Your Grave. Andrea argues, in ways
which correlate with Cherry’s observations on female horror fans
(Cherry, 1999; Cherry, 2002), that this film (which, for her, is
misogynist and “tasteless”) gives horror fans a bad name, is vastly
inferior to the “art” and “flair” of such films as The Blair Witch
Project and The Haunting, and, as she puts it, allows for the “…painting
[of] the picture that all horror fans are into snuff pics…” [23]. While
previous message board discussions involving Andrea had been friendly
(experiences being shared with other fans of watching, enjoying and
collecting horror films, including a number of “nasty” titles such as
The House by the Cemetery and Evil Speak), this comment receives a
particularly defensive response from the other message board users,
including the other female participant, who defends the film as a
feminist tract. In particular, one male participant (CJ) warns that
“…you asked for it Andrea!!!”, and then proceeds, in an argument which
correlates with Hollows’ observations, to dismiss Andrea’s tastes as
mainstream “Hollywood pap” and to defend I Spit on Your Grave and
Cannibal Holocaust as “honest” and ground-breaking (in opposition to
this “Hollywood pap”). He gives further power to his argument, in an
approach which is based around all the power games and defensive
displays that I have identified thus far, by acknowledging his status as
a “qualified” fan who has been watching horror films for “over twenty
years”, and, most notably, by referencing the 1980s “video nasty” era as
evidence that “…to the masses we are equally disturbed” [24].

Such a defence appears to be a means of telling Andrea “to get back in
line”, show other fans the respect they deserve [25], and “play by the
rules of the game”, but this is something that Andrea is clearly not
willing to do. In a large spate of invective (running over several pages
of message board discussion), Andrea notes that “…the year is not
1984…”, that CJ’s reference to the 1980s is “pointless”, and, most
markedly, that I Spit on Your Grave is a film that is valorised and
adored by “…young dumb drive-in males or wannabe movie critics,
helplessly repeating lines they have read in magazines or on the
internet in a vain attempt to give validity to the kind of movies they
watch”. Notably, she also defends The Blair Witch Project by arguing
that “…even Alan Bryce from [The] Dark Side liked it, and many of you
seem to like to have your options written for you…” [26].

While I do not wish to offer this message board discussion as an
emblematic example of the differences between male and female horror
fans (indeed, as I’ve acknowledged, two female fans were on opposite
sides of the argument in this particular discussion), it is particularly
illuminating for two reasons. Most obviously, it correlates convincingly
with Hollows’ arguments, in terms of the frequent use of notions of the
anti-commercial to defend and distinguish the tastes of male horror
fans, or female horror fans who, in Hollows’ terms, wish to present
themselves as “culturally ‘one of the boys’” (Thornton cited by Hollows,
forthcoming). More interestingly for my purposes, what it also reveals
is the extent to which facts and nostalgia can be used as a defence by
male “nasty” fans, but a defence which, in its inherent insecurity, can
be deflated by an excluded female opponent. By exposing all that other
“nasty” fans wish to sideline and avoid about their carefully
constructed online world, Andrea connects the fan’s imputed maleness to
a regression into the past (“…the year is not 1984…”) and to a
dependence on other people’s words or opinions. As a result, she is able
to devalorise all the supposed male power that has been set up around
specific narratives of the “nasty” fan - allowing her to dismiss their
logic as “pointless”, “dumb” and unoriginal (insults which immediately
deflate the fans' wish to prove themselves as authentic and original
educators and important cultural historians).

Conclusion: The ambiguities and insecurities of the “popular archivist”

For Jim Collins, “the emergence of new repositories of information such
as the computer network […] exemplify the widespread reformulation of
what constitutes an archive, and just as importantly what constitutes an
archivist” (Collins, 1995: 25). As my analysis of “nasty” website
discourse demonstrates, this new democracy of archivization (achieved
through the emergence of the web) has allowed male “nasty” fans to
operate like even more liberated versions of Henry Jenkins’ “textual
poachers” (Jenkins, 1992), reclaiming official facts and collating
memories, and giving them new uses and new meanings within the realm of
the personal website.

Through the meshing together of the objective - facts, figures and lists
- and the subjective - memories and nostalgia and the use of items from
fans’ collections - within online archives, such fans carve a niche for
themselves between the public (fan magazines such as The Dark Side, as
inspiration and primary source of the facts and information used on such
sites, but also wider, more legitimate bodies such as the BBFC and the
DPP) and the private (the individual activities of “nasty” video
collectors, who watch, order and catalogue such videos in the private
spaces of their homes).

However, as Will Straw recognises, while such approaches seem to have a
social, dynamic and heroic bent (with published and establishment
sources being reclaimed, with ongoing archives being constructed, with
dynamic memories being recounted and preserved), they also have an
anti-social and insecure flipside (a “propping up” with published
sources, an emotional attachment to past objects and past times, a
hiding away in the stuffy realm of the archive and the collection). What
the existence of such a flipside reveals is that while the uses of the
“video nasty” on such sites can operate as a means of obtaining a
feeling of autonomy, power and activeness for the identity-seeking fan,
the ambiguities that exist behind these uses always run the risk, on
more free-flowing message board discussion, of being easily exposed and
opened to criticism. Particularly, if the earlier-cited message board
discussion is taken into consideration, by female horror fans with
differing approaches to the appreciation or consumption of horror and/or
cult cinema.

Kate Egan is a PhD Student at the Institute of Film Studies, University
of Nottingham, UK. Her thesis is provisionally titled “The ‘Video Nasty’
as Cultural Object”, and aims to assess the variety of cultural meanings
and cultural uses that have been ascribed to the “nasty” from the early
1980s up until the present day (by the press, academia, fans and
collectors, and a variety of other media institutions). She is also an
editorial board member of Scope: An Online Journal of Film Studies.

Endnotes

[1] Most of this research was conducted during August and September
2001, using the http://www.google.co.uk search engine. I chose to
disregard a number of sites that appeared amongst my search results
(including the British Board of Film Classification site, a number of
sites which dealt with the sale or exchange of “video nasties”, and the
infamous Melonfarmers Video Hits site), on the basis that I wanted to
look at a representative sample of explicitly personal and unofficial
sites. back

[2] Clear, in most cases, from either the site’s URL (which frequently
featured the name of the site creator), from the site’s title, from the
biographies or mission statements on such sites, or, in one instance
(Hysteria/Slasher/Nasties), from the fact that the website creator used
his real name in message board discussions. back

[3] As Hoxter acknowledges, “…my own investigation into Internet fan
sites has concentrated, in as much as this is possible to ascertain
given the structure of the object of enquiry, on young, male (mainly
British), adolescent fans of The Exorcist” (Hoxter, 2000: 174). back

[4] Most explicitly, Dark Angel’s Realm of Horror references The Dark
Side and recommends Allan Bryce’s book (see note 5). See
http://website.lineone.net/~darkangel5/nasties.htm (Accessed on: 28th
August 2001). back

[5] To date, The Dark Side has published two special “nasty” issues,
complete with a list of “nasty” titles, facts and figures, stills of
original sleeves, and short reviews, in May 1992 and July 1996, with the
second issue being produced due to reader demand, and the fact that the
original issue had sold out. It also published a limited edition book,
written by The Dark Side’s editor, Allan Bryce, which included similar
material (sleeves, censorship and distributor details, running times and
short reviews). The centrality of nostalgia to The Dark Side’s
construction of the “nasties” is clear from an advertisement for this
book, which featured in the magazine. The ad reads: “It was the best of
times, it was the worst of times […] For all too short a time, movies
like Driller Killer, The Last House on the Left, Zombie Flesh Eaters and
Cannibal Holocaust were legally available in an uncut form, and we
grabbed our viewing chances while we could” (The Dark Side, 1998:
48-49). In addition, Nigel Wingrove & Marc Morris’ limited edition book,
The Art of the Nasty, which is referenced in a number of message board
discussions about the “nasties”, also appears to be a key influence on
the structure of such sites. back

[6] See http://www.videocarnage.co.uk/vccontents.html (Accessed on: 29th
August 2001). back

[7] See http://website.lineone.net/~darkangel5/nasties.htm (Accessed on:
28th August 2001). Also see the “video nasty” list on
http://www.south-over.demon.co.uk/Hysteria/slasher_nasties_1.html
(Accessed on: 9th October 2000). back

[8] See
http://www.south-over.demon.co.uk/Hysteria/slasher_nasties_1.html
(Accessed on: 9th October 2000). back

[9] See Kittt, sent on: 19th May 2001,
http://filmtalk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?50@211.89sQfdXQmr6^0@.ee6ec50
(Accessed on: 4th September 2001). While Melonfarmers Video Hits is not
an official site, it is also not strictly a personal site. Instead, it
is widely known amongst fans and, increasingly, academics as an
extensive and exhaustive provider of UK censorship information -
detailing cuts to film and video releases in the UK, and often including
lengthy press releases from the BBFC. back

[10] See Justin, “Texas Chainsaw vs. the BBFC”; Tim, “Chainsaw was
rejected by the BBFC in 1975”; and Justin, “The Pornography of Terror”,
from:
http://www.mhvf.net/cgi-bin/anyboard.cg…z&aK=4810&gV=0&kQz=&a0=1&iWz=0
(All sent on: 8th October 2000, and accessed on: 4th September 2001).
Incidentally, the book cited by Justin is Tom Dewe Matthews (1994),
Censored: What They Didn’t Allow You to See, and Why: The Story of Film
Censorship in Britain, London: Chatto & Windus Ltd. back

[11] Hoxter takes the terms, and the idea of, “learning for
understanding” and “for development” from Wilfred R. Bion (1991),
Learning From Experience, London: Karnac. back

[12] Also see Lori Kendall’s discussion of the problematic status of the
nerd in terms of computer technology, where, for Kendall, an adeptness
at computer technology, while seen as ambivalently masculine by society
at large, can also allow a person to indulge in “…aggressive displays of
technical self-confidence…” (R. Wright cited in Kendall, 2000: 261).
Another example of this nerdish disposition, where “any domain of
expertise [is turned] into a series of numbers on a checklist”, can be
found on the Dark Angel’s Realm of Horror message board, where
participants frequently compare their personal lists of the top ten best
banned videos. See, for instance, Darkest Desires, “All Time Top 10
Uncut/Banned Collectors List”, (Sent on: 13th July 2001from:
http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=126992&article=2500&date
_query=995257783 (Accessed on: 5th September 2001) back

[13] I’m referring, here, to arguments in such classic subcultural texts
as Dick Hebdige (1979), Subculture: The Meaning of Style, London:
Methuen, and Stuart Hall and Tony Jefferson, (eds.), (1976), Resistance
through Rituals: Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain, London:
Hutchinson. back

[14] See
http://www.south-over.demon.co.uk/Hysteria/slasher_nasties_1.html
(Accessed on: 9th October 2000) back

[15] See, for instance,
http://website.lineone.net/~darkangel5/vnphenom.htm (Accessed on: 28th
August 2001) and
http://www.south-over.demon.co.uk/Hysteria/slasher_nasties_1.html
(Accessed on: 9th October 2000). back

[16] Jancovich is explicitly concerned with issues of class-related
distinction within cult fandom (using the work of Pierre Bourdieu).
While the class demographic of “nasty” site creators would be even more
difficult to determine than issues of gender, research into such issues
(in terms of “nasty” collectors and fans) is something that would,
arguably, be extremely illuminating, in the sense that issues of class
quite clearly permeated the original “video nasty” press campaign and
the Parliamentary Group Video Enquiry’s Video Violence and Children
report (for instance, see Petley, 2001). back

[17] See http://www.geocities.com/spuffjockey19/nastie.html (Accessed
on: 4th September 2001) and
http://www.south-over.demon.co.uk/Hysteria/slasher_nasties_1.html
(Accessed on: 9th October 2000). Interestingly, when recently
interviewing a “nasty” collector, such themes emerged again: the trips
to the shop with his parents’ video card and the story swapping in the
schoolyard (where it was a recognised symbol of coolness to have watched
I Spit on Your Grave and The Evil Dead). Notably, such discussions were
not prompted by me, but were initiated by the respondent himself.
(Interview with “Nasty” Collector, conducted on 14th June 2001). back

[18] This idea of dusty, dirty, marginal video shops as an implicitly
masculine space is something which is developed by Hollows. Replacing
the local video shop with the cult movie theatre (and noting its status
a smelly, run-down space, on the outskirts of town), she argues that a
sacralization of such spaces “…works to confirm the figure of the cult
fan as a […] ‘manly adventurer’ who sets out into the urban wilderness
(Straw, 1997: 13), a position less open to women.” (Hollows,
forthcoming). back

[19] See: http://www.geocities.com/spuffjockey19/nastie.html (Accessed
on: 4th September 2001) and
http://www.wayney.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/video%20nasties.htm (Accessed on:
29th August 2001). Another website, Videocream, while being official and
journalistic (rather than an unofficial fan-based site), is noteworthy,
here, as it actually sets itself up as an electronic version of an
“old-fashioned video shop”, asking visitors to the site to enter the
realm of “…the TV Cream Video Rental Shop, where the shelves still heave
under those slightly oversized video cases […] you know, the ones with
the rounded spine. You never see ‘em any more…”. See
http://tv.cream.org/videocream.htm (Accessed on: 4th September 2001). back

[20] See
http://www.south-over.demon.co.uk/Hysteria/slasher_nasties_1.html
(Accessed on: 9th October 2000). back

[21] This air of “manliness” about the fan’s nostalgically constructed
era of the 1980s comes across again in a discussion on the Dark Angel’s
Realm of Horror message board, where a male participant notes, about the
superiority of the “nasties” and other low-budget slasher films over
more recent examples of the horror genre, that: “…my girlfriend would
kill me for sayin it - but […] The 80s were better because most were
made on the tinyest budgets (you can tell), had LOADS more death scenes
in, terrible storyline and dialogue and […] loads of T/A”. See
Mutilator, “Girls Who Just Scream and Die”, (sent on: 27th August 2001,
from: http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=126992&article=3440.
(Accessed on: 28th August 2001). back

[22] See
http://www.south-over.demon.co.uk/Hysteria/slasher_nasties_1.html
(Accessed on: 9th October 2000). back

[23] See Andrea, “How Far is too Far?” (Sent on: 24th August 2001, from:
http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=126992&article=3320) “Please
Don’t Take This The Wrong Way But…” (Sent on: 24th August 2001, from:
http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id+126992&article+3326) “Personal
Insults?” (Sent on: 25th August 2001, from:
http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=126992&article=3370 ), (All
Accessed on: 28th August 2001). back

[24] See Beatrice, “What Are You Missing?” (Sent on: 24th August 2001,
from: http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=126992&article=3322) CJ,
“Re: Please Don’t take this the Wrong Way But…” (Sent on: 24th August
2001, from:
http//:disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=126992&article=3343); and
Anonymous (but later equated to CJ), “Re: A Classic? Oh Please!” (Sent
on: 25th August 2001, from:
http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=126992&article=3372) (All
Accessed on: 28th August 2001). It is interesting, in some senses, that
The Blair Witch Project and Scream are the films which are brought into
this discussion, and attacked by CJ and the other female participant,
Beatrice. For Mark Jancovich, Scream has provoked “struggles between
horror audiences”, with Jancovich arguing that the film’s high budget
and success with teenage females has allowed other fans to claim that
such films are “…not just inauthentic horror but […] are made for, and
consumed by, inauthentic fans: young girls who cannot have the
subcultural capital to define what is hip!” (Jancovich, 2000: 29-30).
See also Timothy Noble’s unpublished MA dissertation, which also
explores these issues (using internet fan discourse) in relation to both
Scream and The Blair Witch Project (Noble, 1999). back

[25] Or, as CJ puts it: “…I would appreciate a little more civility and
respect, as I have shown you”. See Anonymous (but later equated to CJ),
“Re: A Classic? Oh Please!” (Sent on: 25th August 2001, from:
http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=126992&article=3372, Accessed
on: 28th August 2001). back

[26] See Andrea, “A Classic? Oh please!” (from:
http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=126992&article=3364), Andrea,
“Re: Ooops…that was me above!! (nt)” (from:
http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=126992&article+3375), and
Andrea, “Personal Insults?” (from:
http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=126992&article=3370 ) (All sent
on: 25th August 2001, and accessed on: 28th August 2001). back

Bibliography

Bassett, Caroline (1997), “Virtually Gendered: Life in an On-Line
World”, in Ken Gelder and Sarah Thornton, (eds.), The Subcultures
Reader, London and New York: Routledge.

Cherry, Brigid (1999), “Refusing to Refuse to Look: Female Viewers of
the Horror Film”, in Melvyn Stokes and Richard Maltby, (eds.),
Identifying Hollywood’s Audiences: Cultural Identity and the Movies,
London: BFI.

Cherry, Brigid (2002), “Screaming for Release: Femininity and Horror
Film Fandom in Britain”, in Steve Chibnall and Julian Petley, (eds.),
British Horror Cinema, London: Routledge.

Collins, Jim (1995), Architectures of Excess: Cultural Life in the
Information Age, New York and London: Routledge.

The Dark Side: The Magazine of the Macabre and Fantastic (May 1992, July
1996, June/July 1998).

Davis, Fred (1979), Yearning For Yesterday: A Sociology of Nostalgia,
NewYork: The Free Press.

Hollows, Joanne (forthcoming), “The Masculinity of Cult”, in Mark
Jancovich, Antonio Lazaro-Reboll, Julian Stringer, and Andrew Willis,
(eds.), Defining Cult Movies: The Cultural Politics of Oppositional
Taste, Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Hoxter, Julian (2000), “Taking Possession: Cult Learning in The
Exorcist”, in Xavier Mendik and Graeme Harper, (eds.), Unruly Pleasures:
The Cult Film and its Critics, Surrey: FAB Press.

Jancovich, Mark (2000), “’A Real Shocker’: Authenticity, Genre and the
Struggle for Distinction”, Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural
Studies 14.1.

Jancovich, Mark (2002), “Cult Fictions: Cult Movies, Subcultural Capital
and the Production of Cultural Distinctions”, Cultural Studies 16.2.

Jenkins, Henry (1992), Textual Poachers: Television Fans and
Participatory Culture, London: Routledge.

Kendall, Lori (2000), “’Oh No! I’m a Nerd!’: Hegemonic Masculinity on an
Online Forum”, Gender and Society 14.2 (April).

Noble, Timothy (1999), In Cyberspace No One Can Hear You Scream: Horror
Fan Subcultures on the Internet, Unpublished MA dissertation, University
of Nottingham, UK.

Petley, Julian (2001), “Us and Them”, in Martin Barker and Julian
Petley, (eds.), Ill Effects: The Media/Violence Debate (Second Edition),
London: Routledge.

Straw, Will (1997), “Sizing Up Record Collections: Gender and
Connoisseurship in Rock Music Culture”, in Sheila Whiteley, (ed.),
Sexing the Groove: Popular Music and Gender, London and New York: Routledge.

Tannock, Stuart (1995), “Nostalgia Critique”, Cultural Studies 9.3
(October).

Thornton, Sarah (1995), Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural
Capital, Oxford: Blackwell.

Wingrove, Nigel and Morris, Marc (1998), The Art of the Nasty, London:
Salvation Films Ltd.

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