Along with my thoughts on the encoding-decoding-recoding model, what follows comes from my dissertation on gendered media engagings and describes how I consider the fundamental elements of media reception and audience studies.
What are media products?
Media products are the technologies, channels and contents that constitute our understanding of what is ‘the media’. They are the items produced for the purposes of disseminating meaning in the form of information, whether or not it is deemed to be entertaining, from one person to other(s). All three aspects are necessary in order to transmit meaning from sender to receiver; that is, a media product exists as some combination of the three. Thus, for example, the media product Orange is the New Black is a specific content that exists only in the Netflix channel which utilizes online technology. When these three aspects converge, we can analyze them as ‘texts’ in that they are created by human beings to serve human beings and are thus imprinted with the meaning-making processes of human beings that can be decoded.
Christopher J. Olson makes a compelling argument for how adaptation theory needs to take into account different cultural contexts when texts are adapted from one culture into another. His analysis of the three primary versions of the Oldboy text serve to illustrate his call for an intercultural adaptation theory.
Read all about it in: Oldboy: A case study in intercultural adaptation theory.
The Amityville Horror (1979) has had a long lasting cultural impact, spawning a remake in 2005 and numerous sequels, prequels, sidequels, TV references, and more. Based on a true story, and another example of a supernatural occurrence investigated by the Warrens (of The Conjuring fame), the original film focuses on a family where a father becomes increasingly unstable and a threat to his family, seemingly due to the past events that occurred within the house they recently purchased. While the father’s fall from grace may be due to possession, and the Catholic officials who visit the house experience some immensely negative reactions to it, there is no exorcism in the film.
The sequel to this film, which serves as a prequel to it, does.
It also features incest, rape, and pedophilia.
UPDATED: Submissions Due Wednesday, September 24th
Earlier this year, I wrote about my experience meeting Mick Foley, my new found interest in professional wrestling, and my initial academic thoughts on professional wrestling and Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment in particular.
Since that time, I signed up for the WWE Network, the new online-only initiative recently launched by the WWE to serve as their “television network.” With the network, we can watch old matches, including the ECW and WCW shows, and we can watch the live pay-per-view extravaganzas as well as current shows like Main Event and NXT. We haven’t explored too much yet, but we have found it fun to have this huge library of content available.
Now, this post is not a plug for the network. From an academic angle, the existence of the network is interesting, although it may be doing more harm than good for the company at this time. What the presence of the network indicates is another example of what interests me about professional wrestling: the convergent nature of it.
I remember coming to the Planet of the Apes not through the original movies but through other cultural products. There was the musical rendition on The Simpsons. There was the end of the neighborhood in Spaceballs. And I am sure there were others. I was, after all, not born when the series started, and given my love of science fiction even as a child, it would have been nearly impossible for me not to stumble upon the twist ending before seeing it.
But knowing the twist ending did not impair my love of the movie when I first saw it. Yes, the reveal is a perfect Twilight Zone ending to drive home the anti-war message of the movie. But the movie has many more layers than just containing an anti-war message. Indeed, a movie about apes was able to speak to many aspects and problems of humanity of the 1960s and 1970s, but also of the centuries before and the time after that tumultuous period. And the movies that followed have continued the thematic nature of the first, all the way up to the current Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
When The Exorcist (1973) was first released, it spawned numerous foreign rip-offs and B-movie exploitative versions. From Şeytan (1974) in Turkey to the reworking of the Italian film ‘Lisa e il diavolo’ (1974/1975)into The House of Exorcism, foreign producers created their own takes on the story of young women being possessed, with more or less successful results. Other foreign appropriations and perspectives include:
- the German film Magdalena, Possessed by the Devil aka Magdalena: The Devil Inside the Female aka ‘Magdalena, vom Teufel besessen’(1974)
- the Braziilian film The Bloody Exorcism of Coffin Joe aka O Exorcismo Negro (1974)
- the Italian film The Antichrist aka The Tempter aka “L’anticristo” (1974)
- the Italian film Beyond the Door aka ‘Chi sei?’ (1974)
- the Spanish film Exorcismo (1975)
- the Italian film The Night Child aka ‘Il medaglione insanguinato’ (1975)
- the French film Exorcisme aka Exorcism aka “Les possédées du diable“ (1974/1975)
- the British film To the Devil a Daughter (1976)
Similarly, in the United States, Abby (1974) aka The Blaxsploitation Exorcist brings a different cultural perspective to this idea of possession and exorcism. The extent to which these movies deal specifically with demonic possession and subsequent exorcism, or are just marketed as being about such, varies from movie to movie, but the existence overall represents an attempt to capitalize on the popularity and financial success of the exorcist film that started it all.