From the Arthouse to the Grindhouse: The Ancient Epic Subverted
Representations of Antiquity in Film - From Griffith to Grindhouse - Kevin M. McGeough
Kevin M. McGeough [+]
University of Lethbridge
Kevin M. McGeough is professor of archaeology in the Department of Geography at the University of Lethbridge and holds a Board of Governor’s Research Chair in Archaeological Theory and Reception. Having excavated in Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, and Canada, he is the co-editor of the Alberta Archaeological Review and chair of publications for the American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR). He is currently researching the reception of Near Eastern Archaeology in a variety of media and has recently published a three-volume book on archaeological reception in the Victorian era, The Ancient Near East in the Nineteenth Century (2015).
This chapter looks at darker treatments of the ancient world, such as Fellini’s Satyricon and the brief but pivotal moments where the ancient world is depicted in A Clockwork Orange. The central role that the ancient world plays in the short films of Kenneth Anger provides a window into how independent cinema can perpetuate alternative and esoteric interpretations of the past. The chapter then goes on to discuss the depiction of the ancient world in grindhouse and exploitation cinema and concludes with a discussion of how the television series I, Claudius reflects a type of anti-spectacle.