Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Major Professor

Scott Ferguson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Maria Cizmic, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew Berish, Ph.D.


distance, found footage, phenomenology, proximity, Steadicam


This thesis uncovers a remote entanglement of phenomenological experience and abstract aesthetics in postmodern horror, a space that historically celebrates the former and critically undervalues the latter. Framed as a case study, I mobilize close readings of Alex Garland’s science fiction horror film, Annihilation (2018), to complicate the immersion/abstraction binary that implicitly structures much of contemporary horror scholarship. By recovering horror’s distanced and decentered forms and aesthetics I point to the interdependent faculty of a composite aesthetic collaboration.

These collaborations, which I refer to as aesthetic exchanges, place pressure on the localized emphasis of horror’s situated assaultive and reactive positions. I place Annihilation’s tactile, embodied handheld found footage and the abstract, “hovering” nature of the Steadicam aesthetic into a dialogue that sutures together immersion and abstraction, as well as distance and proximity. Additionally, I mobilize the film’s audiovisual arrangement to demonstrate how the exchange of on/offscreen sound manifests different modalities of vision and distant presence. By recovering theses points of spatiotemporal difference, I establish a productive aesthetic exchange that renegotiates the viewing positions of postmodern horror into infinite collaborations.