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This city is killing me: The circulation of Argentine horror cinema and Buenos Aires in Pablo Pars and Daniel de la Vega's Jennifer's Shadow (2004) and De la Vega's Death Knows Your Name (2007)

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Argentine horror cinema traditionally has not enjoyed ample state support, and several directors have turned to making films for the US low-budget horror DVD market. The films' content (English-language dialogue, both legible and anonymous depictions of Buenos Aires, and use of well-established horror conventions) often reflects its target audience in the United States. Likewise, US producers have gone to Argentina to make horror films aimed primarily at the US market. Jennifer's Shadow (2004) and Death Knows Your Name (2007) are two English-language Argentine horror films distinguished by their financing. Death Knows Your Name is a homegrown production, while Jennifer's Shadow was funded chiefly by a US-based company, Hybrid Pictures, using US and Argentine actors and Argentine directors and technicians. The films' English-language dialogues help them to overcome what Rutalo and Tierney call Latin American exploitation cinema's doubly marginalized status: first, as a film from the so-called Third World and, second, as belonging to the minor film genre of horror (2009: 6). Although an ostensible target audience lies beyond the country, Argentine horror films made for export are nevertheless viewed in Argentina through various channels of circulation, including film festivals, downloading and as DVDs sold at informal street markets. The multiple channels of circulation through which US and Argentine viewers see English-language Argentine horror films suggest a corrective to what Garca Canclini sees as globalization's asimetra de los flujos [asymmetry of flows] (1999: 54).

Keywords: Argentine cinema; circulation; horror cinema

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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