Valhalla Rising and the Demythologization of Male Violence

This post is based on my Master’s thesis, now titled Gangstas, Thugs, Vikings, and Drivers: Cinematic Masculine Archetypes and the Demythologization of Violence in the Films of Nicolas Winding Refn, written for the Media and Cinema Studies program at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. This version represents an early draft of a journal article that my partner, Dr. CarrieLynn Reinhard and I are preparing in the hopes of publishing. As always, I welcome any and all feedback/suggestions, so feel free to comment below or email me directly. Thank you.


In a video essay produced for, film critics Matt Zoller Seitz and Peter Labuza (2014) explain that with Pulp Fiction, director Quentin Tarantino establishes his characters as cool and larger-than-life by visually and textually enlarging their personae before they ever appear onscreen. Seitz and Labuza point to the characters of Marsellus Wallace, Mia Wallace, and Winston Wolfe as examples, explaining that Tarantino creates ideas of these characters long before they actually appear in the film. Other characters talk about Marsellus and Mia before they ever appear onscreen, and the film offers brief, tantalizing glimpses of both characters before finally revealing them in full. Seitz and Labuza argue that this serves to mythologize the characters in the minds of the audience, and that these characters attain the status of legendary figures as a result. Furthermore, he argues that other characters in the film actively construct larger-than-life personae by self-mythologizing, and they establish themselves as cool simply because they frequently refer to themselves as such.

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Happy holidays (or whatever)!

So Christmas is right around the corner, and I just wanted to wish those of you who are kind enough to read this blog a happy holiday and a wonderful new year (if that’s your thing). I’ll be back with more academic type musings in a few weeks, so until then, I leave you with my favorite Christmas carol of all time. Enjoy!

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Let’s give this whole blogging thing another shot…

Okay, so I’ve been told that it’s probably a good idea for me to set up a blog so that I can get all of my academic type musings out into the world.  Well, this is it.  I tried blogging once before, and sort of got bored with it after about a week, so we’ll see if I can stick with it this time around.