Kendall Phillips

Feb 20, 2019

A Place of Darkness

The Rhetoric of Horror in Early American Cinema

University of Texas Press 2018

purchase at 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.

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Lee Pierce

Lee M. Pierce (she/they) is an Assistant Professor at SUNY Geneseo specializing in rhetoric, race, and U.S. political culture. They also host the Media & Communications and Language channels for New Books Network and their own podcast titled RhetoricLee Speaking.
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