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The Ghost in the Image


Technology and Reality in the Horror Genre

Author Cecilia Sayad

29 June 2022

ISBN: 9780190065775

168 pages

In Stock

Price: £22.99


The Ghost in the Image offers a new take on the place that supernatural phenomena occupy in everyday life by examining nonfictional works not traditionally associated with the horror genre and participative forms of engaging with horror themes such as experiential viewing and game playing. The book covers a variety of media: spirit photography, found-footage horror movies, ghost-hunting reality shows, documentary and fiction films based on the Amityville and Enfield hauntings, survival games, and creepypasta. These works transform our interest in ghosts into an interactive form of entertainment and, perhaps disturbingly, brings them closer to the reality of our everyday lives.

  • Examines the role of new technologies in both documenting and fabricating "unseen" aspects of the physical world
  • Offers an original approach to supernatural horror and contributes to documentary theory
  • Includes discussions on horror in fiction and documentary films, reality TV, games, and creepypasta

About the Author(s)

Author Cecilia Sayad, Senior Lectur, University of Kent

Cecilia Sayad is Senior Lecturer in Film at the University of Kent. She is the author of Performing Authorship: Self-Inscription and Corporeality in the Cinema (2013) and co-editor (with Mattias Frey) of Film Criticism in the Digital Age (2015). Her articles have appeared in Screen, Film Quarterly, Cinema Journal and Framework, among others. Her "Found-Footage Horror and the Frame's Undoing" was the winner of the 2017 British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies award for Best Journal Article.

Table of Contents

    Introduction: Of reality and images
    1. Seeking ghosts: Spirit photography, reality television, and the web
    2. Serial tellers: The factual recreations of the Amityville and Enfield hauntings
    3. Beyond the frame: Found-footage horror and the uncontainable
    4. Beyond the film: The reality of participation in experiential cinema and games
    Conclusion: Beyond horror: An Internet legend and the faking of reality


"The Ghost in the Image is a useful attempt to develop a theoretical framework with which to analyse horror's hydra like expansion beyond its fictional domain as it co-opts the factual in its desire to keep the customers coming back for more." - Tom Ruffles, Fortean Times 430

"How does the horror genre bleed into documentary forms of seeing and knowing? The Ghost in the Image shows us how rich and complex this question becomes across a broad range of visual media in the digital era, and Cecilia Sayad proves an expert guide through the fascinating territory where nightmares and reality collide." - Adam Lowenstein, University of Pittsburgh

"A powerful book that threads the tendrils of the natural and supernatural world into a persuasive argument on popular culture and paranormal phenomena." - Annette Hill, Lund University, Sweden