"Looks Like Cotton Candy": Deconstructing Fascism in Post-War Japanese and Italian Horror Cinema
Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
The giallo films of Italy and the pink films of Japan are often written off as "B-film trash" by the public, journalists, critics, and even sometimes academics. Yet as "cliche" or "gratuitous" as these films tend to be, they are deeply engaged with the fascist pasts of the nations. This thesis argues that the rampant historical and cultural revisionism that plagued (and continues to plague) post-war Italy and Japan are responsible for this unprecedented boom in horror cinema. Furthermore, this thesis posits that the horror film is the most well-equipped cultural tool for deconstructing the fascist pasts of Italy and Japan. Focusing specifically on Dario Argento's Deep Red (1975), this thesis illustrates how the giallo film works through Italy's culpability in the Holocaust. Similarly, this thesis examines how Nobuhiko Obayashi's House (1977) and Teruo Ishii's Horrors of Malformed Men (1969) critique the post-war Japanese official narrative of culpability in war crimes and the fetishization of the atomic bomb.
Hall, Nicholas, ""Looks Like Cotton Candy": Deconstructing Fascism in Post-War Japanese and Italian Horror Cinema" (2023). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1966.