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‘ people are going to want to know what really went down’: Cloverfield and the return to innocence in post-9/11 America

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This article reads the American giant-monster film Cloverfield (Matt Reeves, 2008) as part of a national narcissistic response to the terrorist attacks in New York City in 2001 on September 11. Al Qaeda’s deadly assault has been reconfigured from a geopolitical act of violence into an opportunity for an intrepid if callow young man to rescue his lost lover; the gigantic, rampaging creature and its city-wide battle with the military is almost a distraction to his quest. Inspired by Gojira (Inoshiro Honda, 1956), Cloverfield presents an unknowable, unpredictable, oft-unseen monster – the perfect villain for a horror film in the age of terrorism.
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Keywords: American Exceptionalism; Cloverfield; Family values; War on Terror; cultural response to 9/11; narcissism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Auburn University

Publication date: April 30, 2012

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  • Horror Studies intends to serve the international academic community in the humanities and specifically those scholars interested in horror. Exclusively examining horror, this journal will provide interested professionals with an opportunity to read outstanding scholarship from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including work conceived as interdisciplinary. By expanding the conversation to include specialists concerned with diverse historical periods, varied geography, and a wide variety of expressive media, this journal will inform and stimulate anyone interested in a wider and deeper understanding of horror
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