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Plant Horror: Approaches to the Monstrous Vegetal in Fiction and Film

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This collection explores artistic representations of vegetal life that imperil human life, voicing anxieties about our relationship to other life forms with which we share the earth. From medieval manuscript illustrations to modern works of science fiction and horror, plants that manifest monstrous agency defy human control, challenge anthropocentric perception, and exact This collection explores artistic representations of vegetal life that imperil human life, voicing anxieties about our relationship to other life forms with which we share the earth. From medieval manuscript illustrations to modern works of science fiction and horror, plants that manifest monstrous agency defy human control, challenge anthropocentric perception, and exact a violent vengeance for our blind and exploitative practices. Plant Horror explores how depictions of monster plants reveal concerns about the viability of our prevailing belief systems and dominant ideologies as well as a deep-seated fear about human vulnerability in an era of deepening ecological crisis. Films discussed include The Day of the Triffids, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Wicker Man, Swamp Thing, and The Happening.


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This collection explores artistic representations of vegetal life that imperil human life, voicing anxieties about our relationship to other life forms with which we share the earth. From medieval manuscript illustrations to modern works of science fiction and horror, plants that manifest monstrous agency defy human control, challenge anthropocentric perception, and exact This collection explores artistic representations of vegetal life that imperil human life, voicing anxieties about our relationship to other life forms with which we share the earth. From medieval manuscript illustrations to modern works of science fiction and horror, plants that manifest monstrous agency defy human control, challenge anthropocentric perception, and exact a violent vengeance for our blind and exploitative practices. Plant Horror explores how depictions of monster plants reveal concerns about the viability of our prevailing belief systems and dominant ideologies as well as a deep-seated fear about human vulnerability in an era of deepening ecological crisis. Films discussed include The Day of the Triffids, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Wicker Man, Swamp Thing, and The Happening.

38 review for Plant Horror: Approaches to the Monstrous Vegetal in Fiction and Film

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Baugh

    This is a fascinating collection of essays, in a sometimes eavesdropping sort of way. It's a genuine academic book, which means that the pieces are part of an ongoing conversation among scholars that I'm not always competent to follow. There are responses to others' books and essays that I haven't read and specialists' terminology that I don't know, and none of this is a sign of anything wrong, even more than there would be with the same things in a book about the geology of some part of the wor This is a fascinating collection of essays, in a sometimes eavesdropping sort of way. It's a genuine academic book, which means that the pieces are part of an ongoing conversation among scholars that I'm not always competent to follow. There are responses to others' books and essays that I haven't read and specialists' terminology that I don't know, and none of this is a sign of anything wrong, even more than there would be with the same things in a book about the geology of some part of the world I'm interested in or medical issues that include problems I have. (There are a lot of stupid takes out there about how some kinds of scholarship must be immediately accessible to lay readers. Nah.) Fortunately for me, what I could read and understand included a whole lot of fascinating analysis. There are, unsurprisingly, multiple looks at significant plant-horror books and movies like Day of the Triffids, Little Shop of Horrors, The Thing From Another World, The Ruins, and The Happening. Beyond that there are gems like a history of plant-like squiggles and tendrils in art starting in the late 1400s through to 20th century sf cinema, a history of "green hell" and later portrayals of the plant life of the Amazon, an examination of Jean-Paul Sartre's novel Nausea and its influence on portrayals of plant life, and studies of Alan Moore and Stephen Bissette's tenure on Swamp Thing and Jan Švankmajer’s movie Otesánek. I love it when reading shows me something I didn't know I'd want to know about, alongside subjects I could have predicted I'd enjoy, and this collection does that. I'm very glad I read this book, even though parts of it were simply not for me. What was for me was rich and satisfying.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Barnett

    This is an academic book, so I'm rating it as such. Some essays are alright; some are weak on research; some are naval-gazing and too obscure to say anything truly useful about the genre. It is really good that someone wanted to do a collection of work on plant horror - it's an underappreciated field of study - but really more could be said and done about it. There was too much overlap to make the overall themes deeply valuable. If you are researching the subject, though, you need to buy it. It This is an academic book, so I'm rating it as such. Some essays are alright; some are weak on research; some are naval-gazing and too obscure to say anything truly useful about the genre. It is really good that someone wanted to do a collection of work on plant horror - it's an underappreciated field of study - but really more could be said and done about it. There was too much overlap to make the overall themes deeply valuable. If you are researching the subject, though, you need to buy it. It has necessary bits you won't find elsewhere. If you are just plant-horror curious, though, maybe get a nature horror book and seek out the plant section (I know, we need a proper plant horror book - I want to write one, so keep an eye on my publisher, but we need more than that too)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Will A

    The thesis on why plants are horrifying is a major addition to the growing area of ecohorror studies. Insightful and originally thought provoking

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ro Prufrock

    plant horror is the only thing i'm gonna be talking about for the rest of my life!!!! plant horror is the only thing i'm gonna be talking about for the rest of my life!!!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    J.A.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eunice Ying Ci

  7. 4 out of 5

    Wuttipol

  8. 5 out of 5

    Johnny Murray

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

  10. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Williams

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

  13. 4 out of 5

    Yeetus

  14. 5 out of 5

    Christy

  15. 4 out of 5

    Caleb Melchior

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie McGarrah

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pedro

  20. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Sales

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nscibetta

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ike Sharpless

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sammis

  26. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Peter Harris

  28. 4 out of 5

    Luděk Čertík

  29. 4 out of 5

    Franz Biberkopf

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Schluter

  31. 4 out of 5

    Gazmend Kryeziu

  32. 5 out of 5

    Vasilis

  33. 5 out of 5

    Rosa Nowak

  34. 5 out of 5

    Richard Hing

  35. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Syme

  36. 5 out of 5

    Laurens

  37. 5 out of 5

    Pentheus Bacchus

  38. 4 out of 5

    Bronte Young

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