On this episode of the New Books Network, Lee Pierce (she/they) interviews Dr. Kendall Phillips (he) of Syracuse University
on his fabulous new book A Place of Darkness: The Rhetoric of Horror in Early American Cinema
(University of Texas, 2018). In it, Phillips explores the emergence of the horror film genre before it was horror and a post-Civil War national American identity. Dr. Phillips discusses the unique role of Universal Studio’s 1931 Dracula,
the turning point of the Phantom’s revelation in The Phantom of the Opera,
and what horror was before it was horror. Along the way, Dr. Phillips discusses how shifts in filming technologies and international politics at the turn of the century forged a distinctly American identity based upon incredulousness, narrative depth, and rationality.