A Cultural Studies Approach to Excessive Forms of Entertainment: A Case Study of a Spectacle of Violent Death in Bedranowsky’s The Saw Death Match (2007)

Svetlana Makeyeva

Abstract


 

The death match in professional wrestling is stigmatized by institutions watching after the public order and by participants of the pro wrestling community. There is no comprehensive academic scholarship about this phenomenon. Despite the stigma, a unique perspective on death match is offered in this article: it is approached as a cultural production that meets specific standards of physical appearance and performance excellence. With all its ambiguities, flaws, and abundance of aesthetic and ethical problems, the author comes to a conclusion that the death match wrestler Alexander Bedranowsky uses this form of cultural production as a tool for self-empowerment. The scholar compares the death match to splatter films. With a focus on the first Saw film (2004), Saw II (2005) and The Saw Death Match (2007), performed by characters Thumbtack Jack and Drake Younger, the author elaborates on how death match wrestlers produce a “spectacle of violent death” (Schneider 2001). She is particularly interested in the aspect of ‘creativity’ in death match. This original research project is a step in the direction of raising awareness about death match in pro wrestling, and initiating discourse around this excessive entertainment phenomenon among the cultural studies scholars.

 


Keywords


cultural studies, horror film studies, death match pro wrestling, body genre, gender.

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