Serial killing is an extremely rare phenomenon in reality that is none-theless remarkably widespread in the cultural imagination. Moreover, despite its rarity, it is also taken to be an expression of characteristic aspects of humanity, masculinity, or our times.
Richard Dyer investigates this paradox, focusing on the notion at its heart: seriality. He considers the aesthetics of the repetition of nastiness and how this relates to the perceptions and anxieties that images of serial killing highlight in the societies that produce them.
Shifting the focus away from the US, which is often seen as the home of the serial killer, Lethal Repetition instead examines serial killing in European culture and cinema - ranging from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean and from Britain to Romania. Spanning all brows of cinema - including avant-garde, art, mainstream and trash - Dyer provides case studies on Jack the Ripper, the equation of Nazism with serial killing, and the Italian giallo film to explore what this marginal and uncommon crime is being made to mean on European screens.
Richard Dyer is Professor Emeritus of Film Studies at King's College, London, and Professorial Fellow in Film Studies at the University of St Andrews, UK. He has been honoured by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies, and Turku and Yale Universities, and is a Fellow of the British Academy. His many books include Stars (1979), White (1997), The Culture of Queers (2002) and In the Space of a Song (2012).
Preface.- ISSUES.- 1. The Phantom Menace.- 2. Is it a Serial Killer?.- 3. The Same Over and Over.- 4. Procuring Extraordinary Sensations.- 5. Motives Less Adequate.- 6. Action! Kill! Cut!.- CASES.- 7. Serial Killing in European Cinema.- 8. 'Jack the Ripper'.- 9. From Haarman to Hitler to Hannibal.- 10. Anything, and More, for the Family.- Bibliography.- Filmography.- Index.