It's All Coming Back to You: 1980s Retro Film Culture and the Masculinity of Cult

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The 1980s is a formative decade in American history. America sought to reestablish itself as a global power and to reassert the dominant ideology of white, patriarchal capitalism. Likewise, media producers in the 1980s sought to reassert the dominance of the white, male, muscled body in filmic representations. The identity politics of the 1980s and the depictions of the white, muscled body once prominent in the 1980s have been the site of conservative nostalgia for a young, male-dominated, cult audience that is a subset of a larger cultural trend known as retro film culture. This thesis provides historical context behind ... continued below

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Collins, Ryan William August 2017.

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  • Collins, Ryan William

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The 1980s is a formative decade in American history. America sought to reestablish itself as a global power and to reassert the dominant ideology of white, patriarchal capitalism. Likewise, media producers in the 1980s sought to reassert the dominance of the white, male, muscled body in filmic representations. The identity politics of the 1980s and the depictions of the white, muscled body once prominent in the 1980s have been the site of conservative nostalgia for a young, male-dominated, cult audience that is a subset of a larger cultural trend known as retro film culture. This thesis provides historical context behind the populist 1980s B-action films from Cannon Group, Inc that celebrate violent masculinity in filmic representations with white, male action heroes. Equally important is the revival of VHS collecting and how this 1980s-inspired subculture reinforces white, patriarchal capitalism through the cult films they valorize and their capitalistic trading practices despite their claims of oppositionality against mainstream taste and Hollywood films. Lastly, this thesis reveals how a new cycle of contemporary films primarily produced outside of Hollywood reasserts and celebrates the dominance of the white, male, muscled body in filmic representations despite a postmodern and hyperconscious exterior. Overall, I argue how these areas of nostalgia are distinct, yet not unrelated, because they reassert white, patriarchal capitalism through the revival of conservative nostalgia for the 1980s.

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  • August 2017

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  • Oct. 9, 2017, 11:44 a.m.

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Collins, Ryan William. It's All Coming Back to You: 1980s Retro Film Culture and the Masculinity of Cult, thesis, August 2017; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1011874/: accessed October 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .