Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Phillip J. Sipiora, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Victor E. Peppard, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael W. Clune, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Margit Grieb, Ph.D.


violence, serial killer, commodification, Reagan, ideology


This dissertation explores a style of literature known as "blank" fiction that became popular in the United States in the mid-1980s, focusing on its stark, limited form, its minimal plots, its focus on commodification, and its scenes of graphic violence. The author presents the argument that filmmakers were producing pieces of cinema during the same time period that are similar in both form and content to the works of blank fiction. These films are a part of a style she labels "blank" cinema.

Blank fiction and cinema are politically charged and highly critical of the social and political situation in America during the time in which they are produced. The authors and filmmakers producing blank works interrogate issues of social irresponsibility, rampant consumerism, and the global domination of capitalist values. Blank artists frequently criticize the perpetuation of such issues by the dominating power of white, middle- and upper-class men. The serial killer figure is used by many to represent the "unexamined" threat of those in power.

The use of popular culture references and marketing tags are ubiquitous in blank fiction and film, and it is through the use of such signs that blank artists show their audiences that the power of those that traditionally control cultural ideologies in America can be manipulated and controlled by anyone, thus giving power to those who may have traditionally felt powerless and submissive to the dominant ideologies of American culture.