New Israeli Horror: Local Cinema, Global Genre (Hardcover)

New Israeli Horror: Local Cinema, Global Genre By Olga Gershenson Cover Image

New Israeli Horror: Local Cinema, Global Genre (Hardcover)


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Before 2010, there were no Israeli horror films. Then distinctly Israeli serial killers, zombies, vampires, and ghosts invaded local screens. The next decade saw a blossoming of the genre by young Israeli filmmakers. New Israeli Horror is the first book to tell their story. Through in-depth analysis, engaging storytelling, and interviews with the filmmakers, Olga Gershenson explores their films from inception to reception. She shows how these films challenge traditional representations of Israel and its people, while also appealing to audiences around the world.
Gershenson introduces an innovative conceptual framework of adaptation, which explains how filmmakers adapt global genre tropes to local reality. It illuminates the ways in which Israeli horror borrows and diverges from its international models. New Israeli Horror offers an exciting and original contribution to our understanding of both Israeli cinema and the horror genre.
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OLGA GERSHENSON is Professor of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies and of Film Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the author of The Phantom Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe and Gesher: Russian Theater in Israel, and editor of Ladies and Gents: Public Toilets and Gender. To learn more about her work, see
Product Details ISBN: 9781978837850
ISBN-10: 1978837852
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication Date: November 10th, 2023
Pages: 234
Language: English

“This significant work charts the ways in which New Israeli Horror films offer a critique of the violence that lies at the heart of Israeli society, the damaging masculinity of the military machine, and the suppression of Palestinian trauma. The result is a hugely readable and subtly nuanced work that makes a substantive contribution to our understanding of both modern Israel and the horror genre’s ability to articulate national trauma. It’s essential reading for all with an interest in the genre and in national cinema more broadly.”

— Linnie Blake

“This is a fantastic book that looks at the intellectual, industrial, funding, and reception contexts of Israeli horror but without bouncing between them like demented pinball. Instead, what we get is an extraordinarily integrated interdisciplinary account that should operate as an exemplar for horror scholarship for decades to come!”

— Mark Jancovich

"New Israeli Horror is the definitive study of Israeli cinema’s most unorthodox genre from its inception among a small group of students at Tel Aviv University to its success on the international film festival circuit and in online piracy in the Arab world. Through an examination of technology, financing, transnational adaptation, local and international reception, and interviews with filmmakers it deciphers the meanings behind the throng of serial killers in uniform, Palestinian ghosts, zombies, cannibals, and monsters from Jewish folklore that have invaded Israeli screens in this millennium."
— Boaz Hagin

“New Israeli Horror perceptively chronicles the origins and evolution of Israeli horror films. It brilliantly analyzes how this corpus of films replicated or subverted the familiar tropes of the horror genre and demonstrates that they possess implicit and eventually explicit relevance to the political and social conflicts within Israel.”

— Lawrence Baron