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Be Afraid: Fear in North American Cinema

The Australian Cinémathèque celebrates North American horror cinema from the postwar period onwards with a terrifying selection of slasher, splatter, science fiction, thriller and apocalyptic disaster films. A collection of films that most brutally register collective fears, paranoias and anxieties about our experience of the modern world, ‘Be Afraid: Fear in North American Cinema’ maps 50 years of fear on screen and the resurgence of these primal impulses in contemporary cinema today.

Emerging often in response to the legacies of government administrations, the brutality of war and civil unrest, developments in science and technology and, more recently, the confluence of torture and terrorism in contemporary media and history, North American horror films have a decidedly apocalyptic tone. They offer audiences the opportunity to witness their fears played out on the big screen, and acts of violence that shatter dreams and illusions of a civilised society.

The Australian Cinémathèque offers an opportunity to revisit and discover some of the genre’s most popular titles within a unique cinema experience. The program includes films presented in their original format, recent restorations and archival film prints from Australia and around the world.

‘Be Afraid: Fear in North American Cinema’ curated by Jose Da Silva with accompanying film notes.

The generous assistance of May Haduong (Academy Film Archive), Paul White (Cine Sales), Anthony Timpson (The Exploitation Archive), Harry Guerro (Exhumed Films), Daniel Haig, Eve Goldin (The Film Reference Library Toronto), Laurem Productions, Jimmy Maslon, National Film and Sound Archive, Mark Ryan, Paul Syvret and Digital Retribution forum members, Caroline Bertucci (Umbrella Entertainment) and Peter Langs (Universal Studios) is gratefully acknowledged for this program.