Analysis Of The Depiction Of Animal Phobias In Media And Movies

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I am studying animal trauma and phobia through the use of themes and imagery in films and media, and how modern filmmakers are taking those fears away.

Annotated Bibliography

Bellin, J. D. (2009). Us or “Them!”: “Silent Spring” and the “Big Bug” films of the 1950s

The author looks into the two films Silent Spring and Big Bug from 1950’s. The article analyzes the use of insects and bugs in the film and how it creates the fear of an “insect invasion”. He talks about how films use natural insect behavior and where they live and expand it to make it feel like we need to get rid of them because they are everywhere.

The author also discusses how this fear leads people to buy pesticides that proved more of a risk to us rather more than the insects ever did. He discusses how easily we can be manipulated because of his film and how it affects many of our decisions. This source is useful because it proves how we can react without any rationality due to our new fears.

Brown, W. J. (2010). Steve Irwin’s Influence on Wildlife Conservation

This article documents the life and contribution of Steve Irwin and his role in conservation. The author talks about the influence of celebrities and other famous people and how easily they can affect every day people’s lives. This reflects how some film makers and media outlets can have negative effect of wildlife portrayal. The author also discusses a study done to see how influencers psychological and emotionally involve people into their lives, which lead to decisions people make based on someone else.

The author uses Steve Irwin as a positive example of an influencer as he tries to change our mind on a creature that is labeled as dangerous. This article is good as it gives examples of how people can be manipulated by either positive or negative media.

Desilets, S. (2012). Pedal pushers: Spielberg, De Sica, and dismemberment

The author of this journal mainly criticizes film makers and their values within the film. The author compares and contrast Jaws and Bicycle Thieves and how they exploit certain themes and characters. The author talks about how in Jaws human lives and currency are valued due to the fact they are trying to protect the good image of the resort town of Amity. The source breaks down several scenes that exposes the cynicism within the film that directly coincides with the shark. One key point that is made about the shark is its lust for only Amity residence which the author points out is wrong as this is not natural for any animal. This source is good as it explores themes and archetypal imagery of sharks that create fear.

Giblett, R. (2006). Alligators, crocodiles and the monstrous uncanny

This article focuses on crocodiles and alligator whether it be in film, or news outlets. The author brings up Steve Irwin, although he understands that Irwin is trying to promote conservancy, he states that he shows the violent side of the crocodiles. He also brings up new paper articles stressing alligator and crocodile attacks in a graphic manner. The authors main goal as he stated was that we use these creatures to project our human desires and fears onto them. The article provides many cases of these creatures as sadistic and violent instead of survivors like any other animal on this planet. This article proves to be useful as the author gives many examples and reasoning as to how we portray these animals and how it affects how we view and perceive them.

Lavery, L. (2018). Freaky farmers and sick flocks: The Locals and Black Sheep

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This review is about The Locals and Black Sheep. Black sheep in particular is a film about zombie sheep invading the New Zealand country side. How can this create a phobia? The author talks about how it isn’t the sheep, which actually seems more comedic than scary, but the fear of things we don’t know. The author refers to big city people now fearing space and outdoors.

The sheep is only used to induce this fear within city folk. The author discusses how both these films then result in people wanting to lock their gates and paddocks simply because they fear something as ridiculous as zombie sheep or anything as random as that. This source can be used at it looks into the simplicity of fears, which can create little changes in our lives such as being more precautious maybe without even knowing it.

Papson, S. (1992). “Cross the fin line of terror”: Shark week on the Discovery Channel.

The author of this journal analyzes the ecological effects of dramatizing sharks and looking into efforts made into changing people’s minds. The source actively uses numbers and other statistics to show the impact of sharks within films and media. They also analyze key characteristics given to sharks in order to induce those fears, those are things such as smelling blood and just embodiment of evil intentions. Aside from film they also look into how movies such as Jaws lead to an increase in news reporting shark attacks. Lastly it talks about the role of the show Shark Week and how it helps cure the fear or maybe contribute to it. This source is useful as it is an in-depth analysis and breaks down the reasons for fear of sharks and how people exploit that.

Rust, A. (2014). Plugging in and bugging out: The torturous logic of contemporary American horror

This source is a review of the film Bug from 2007. The author criticizes the movie for its cliché on bugs and insects, and how directors use them for the same things. The author compares this horror film to others and their use of real life themes and stories blown out of proportion within their movie. Unlike old horror movies about creatures, the author realizes that this film is aware of viewers knowledge of the world and thus they play more on metaphors and other messages through the use of bugs. The author finds this information by analyzing specific scenes and comparing it to other films or analyze it on its own context. This source is still useful as it expands on the role of animals, specifically bugs as a fear tactic within their films, but focusing on the emotional aspect.

Schaefer, J.C. (2015). Must we burn Hitchcock? (Re)Viewing trauma and effecting solidarity with The Birds (1963)

This source looks into the effects of horror movies within individuals. The movie in particular is The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock. This movie focuses on a small town that is attacked violently by hordes of birds. Now birds are not scary, but the author stresses the trauma that this film created. The author analyzes trauma studies in order to compare it to trauma within the film and trauma and fear of viewers. This source is great due to the fact it looks at the emotional experience certain films create even with such an innocent creature like a bird.

Sperb, J. (2016). From nihilism to nostalgia: Blackfish (2013) and the contradictions of the nature documentary

The movie documentary Black Fish opened many viewers eyes to the real nature of Sea World. Although the movie is praised, the author of the article is both for the film and against it. The author talks about the activism and good response the film has brought. This film lead to people boycotting the park in hopes of releasing the animals or to avoid this from happening again. The author talks about and gives example of other documentaries that have created a positive impact. This source is useful due to the fact it gives example of how filmmakers these days are trying to make a difference and instead of having people fear a “Killer Whale”, they want it to be free instead.

Wilson, S. (2010). Blowing chunks: Fear Factor, reality television and abjection as a disciplinary practice

Fear Factor is a famous show known for pushing their contestants and viewers limits. The author discusses the fears the contestants need to overcome, many of which include eating bugs, animal parts, and carcasses. This review talks about the contestants fears which reflect ours, many animal related stunts are done because film makers are aware that we love to see things that we don’t.

The author even discusses an instance where an audience member files a lawsuit due to the fact they felt the show went too far. The article is an in-depth analysis of audience and show relationship. What is too far? And what is the perfect amount of animal and contestant abusing that society can witness? This article is useful because it discusses the reactions of people and due to the fact that it focuses on a show that contains the word fear in it, the very thing they want out of their audience besides money.

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