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Hong Kong Horror Cinema$
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Gary Bettinson and Daniel Martin

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474424592

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474424592.001.0001

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Sympathy for the Slasher: Strategies of Character Engagement in Pang Ho-cheung’s Dream Home

Sympathy for the Slasher: Strategies of Character Engagement in Pang Ho-cheung’s Dream Home

Chapter:
(p.185) Chapter 11 Sympathy for the Slasher: Strategies of Character Engagement in Pang Ho-cheung’s Dream Home
Source:
Hong Kong Horror Cinema
Author(s):

Gary Bettinson

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474424592.003.0012

Pang Ho-cheung’s Dream Home (2010) is a controversial Hong Kong slasher movie in which a killer (played by Josie Ho) constitutes the prime object of spectator sympathy and allegiance. To its detractors, the film falls foul of an “aesthetic error”: by presenting the heroine’s victims as “undeserving” of brutalization, Dream Home inadvertently undercuts its own attempt to generate sympathy for the slasher protagonist. This paper attempts to dispute the critics’ charge of aesthetic defectiveness, arguing instead that the film’s strategies of character engagement purposively foster a critique of Hong Kong’s capitalist hegemony. More broadly, the paper tries to demonstrate the ways in which Dream Home is a specifically Hong Kong horror film. This discussion is situated within wider debates concerning the imputed loss of Hong Kong “localism” in the context of global forces such as Mainlandization and Hollywoodization.

Keywords:   Pang Ho-cheung, Hong Kong cinema, Category III, Character engagement, The Umbrella movement, Mainlandization, Hollywoodization

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