Overview of Research Interests
Johnny has an established international reputation in the socio-historical analysis of popular cinema (specifically horror and exploitation film)and the industrial contexts that produce it. He has published numerous journal articles and book chapters, in addition to having written or edited a number of books in the fields of film history and popular culture.
Johnny has provided expert commentary on his research for BBC Radio, The Independent, The NME, and Real Crime magazine. He is regularly asked to deliver research seminars and guest lectures at universities throughout the country (including, for example, King’s College London, University of Warwick, University of Kent, University of Leicester), and has delivered keynote talks or plenary sessions at conferences hosted at the Technical University of Dortmund (2016), York St John University (2017), Canterbury Christ Church University (2017), De Montfort University (2018) and the University of Leeds (2019).
PhD Film Studies (De Montfort University)
MA International Film (Newcastle University)
BA English and Film (Northumbria University)
Johnny is an elected member of the Executive Committee of the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies, and an elected co-chair of the Horror Studies Scholarly Interest Group (SIG) within the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. He is also a member of the Global Horror Studies Archival and Research Network (University of Pittsburgh).
Prior to his appointment as Lecturer in Media at Northumbria (Sept, 2013), Johnny was Lecturer in Film Studies at De Montfort University, Jan-June 2013). Prior to that he was an Academic Tutor in Media, Culture and Communication at the University of Sunderland (Sept-Dec, 2012).
Visiting teaching or research roles at other Universities
Johnny has delivered invited guest lectures on under- and postgraduate programmes throughout the country and overseas at the universities of Warwick, Anglia Ruskin, Sunderland, Kiel (Germany), and Falmouth.
He has also validated/re-validated three undergraduate programmes (one at Chichester, two at the University of West London), and has served as External Examiner for two BAs (Solent: Film and Media, York St John: Media and Film) and one MA (Film, Edge Hill).
PhD Supervision and Examination
Current PhD students:
Erin Wiegand: Exploiting Reality: Selling Sex, Culture, and Authenticity in the Exploitation Documentary (Primary Supervisor)
Adam Herron: Queering the Porn Theatre: Sexual Spaces in New York City, 1967-1980 (Primary Supervisor)
Ami Nisa: The Camera as Character: Theorising Non-Human Agency in the Found-Footage Horror Film (Secondary Supervisor)
Henry Cardwell: Requiem for a Stream: Cult Film Soundtracks in the age of Spotify (Secondary Supervisor)
Past PhD students:
Rui Manuel Oliveira: Supranational Horrors: The Horror Cinemas of Italy and Spain, 1958-2018 (Primary Supervisor, January 2020)
Martin Smith: “The Scariest Movie of All Time”: Identity, Memory and Audiences of The Exorcist (Secondary Supervisor, January 2020)
PhD External Examination:
Britt Rhuart: Hippiesploitation and the Counterculture, Bowling Green State University (US) (April 2020)
Lauren Stephenson, “It’s Just Boys Being Boys”: Men, Masculinity and Class in the British Hoodie Horror Cycle, York St John University (February 2018)
Publications and Research Outputs
Book: Rewind/Replay: Britain and the Video Boom (Edinburgh University Press, 2022)
Article: ‘Activist Horror Film: The Genre as Tool for Change’, New Review of Film and Television Studies (due for publication in 2022). Ranking: Q1 (Scimago Journal Rankings)
Edited volume: Peter Hutchings, Hammer and Beyond: The British Horror Film (2nd Edition; Manchester: Manchester University Press, in press). Editor and author of a new introductory chapter.
Chapter: ‘Blood cults: historicising the 1980s “shot-on-video” horror movie’ in Sexton, J. and Mathijs, E. (eds) The Routledge Companion to Cult Cinema (London: Routledge, 2020)
Article: ‘Reliability, quality and a reputation for great entertainment: the promotional strategies of Britain’s early video distributors, beyond the video nasties,’ Post Script, 35:3, 2017, pp. 33-47. Ranking: Q2 (Scimago Journal Rankings)
Article: ‘Video nicies: rethinking the relationship between children and video entertainment in 1980s Britain,’ Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 2017. Ranking: Q1 (Scimago Journal Rankings)
Chapter: ‘Rewind, playback: re-viewing the video boom in Britain’ in Hunter, I. Q., Porter, L. and Smith, J. (eds) Routledge Companion to British Cinema History (London: Routledge, 2017).
Special issue: Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies: ‘Italian Horror Cinema’. Co-edited with Austin Fisher (Spring 2017). Q2 (Scimago Journal Rankings)
Edited volume: Grindhouse: Cultural Exchange on 42nd Street, and Beyond, co-edited with Austin Fisher (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2016). Co-authored introduction.
Chapter: ‘42nd Street, and beyond,’ with Austin Fisher, in Fisher, A. and Walker, J. (eds) Grindhouse: Cultural Exchange on 42nd Street, and Beyond (New York: Bloomsbury, 2016). One of the featured books of the year in the ‘Media’ category of Oxford University Press’s ‘This Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory’, 2017.
Chapter: ‘Knowing the unknown beyond: “Italianate” and “Italian” horror cinema in the twenty-first century’ in Hunter, R. and Baschiera, S. (eds.) Italian Horror Cinema (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016).
Edited volume: Snuff: Real Death and Screen Media, co-edited with Neil Jackson, Shaun Kimber and Thomas Joseph Watson (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2016).
Chapter: ‘Traces of snuff: black markets, fan subcultures, and underground horror in the 1990s’ in Kimber, S., Jackson, N., Walker, J. and Watson, T. (eds) Snuff: Real Death and Screen Media. (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2016).
Article: ‘From Pinter to Pimp: Danny Dyer, Class, Cultism and the Critics’, with Sarah Godfrey, Journal of British Cinema and Television, 12:1, 2015, pp. 101-120. Ranking: Q1 (Scimago Journal Rankings)
Book: Contemporary British Horror Cinema: Industry, Genre and Society (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015)
Chapter: ‘Low budgets, no budgets and Digital Video nasties: recent British horror and informal distribution’, in Nowell, R. (ed.) Merchants of Menace: The Business of Horror Cinema. (London and New York: Bloomsbury 2014).
Edited volume: Cinema, Television and History: New Approaches, co-edited with Laura Mee (Newcastle Upon Tyne: CSP, 2014).
Article: ‘A wilderness of horrors? British horror cinema in the new millennium’, in Journal of British Cinema and Television, 9:3, 2012, pp. 436-456. Ranking: Q1 (Scimago Journal Rankings)
Article: ‘Nasty visions: violent spectacle in contemporary British horror cinema’, in Horror Studies, 2:1, 2011, pp.115-130. Ranking: Q3 (Scimago Journal Rankings)
Recent Conferences & Talks
‘Activist Horror Film: Vegan-Feminism and Melanie Light’s The Herd’, Horror as a Framework for Reflecting Our Contemporary World, University of Leeds, June 2019.
‘Splatter in the Living Room: Fangoria and the Origins of Made-for-Video Horror, 1982-90’, ‘It Is True, We Shall Be Monsters’: New Perspectives on Horror, Science Fiction and the Monstrous Onscreen, De Montfort University, 13 June 2018.
‘Easy-to-make Money Machines: Making and Marketing Exploitation Films in the Early 2000s’, Exploitation Cinema in the 21st Century, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK, 9 June 2017.
‘The Macabre Video Underground: Historicising the Subcultural Value of Real Death Imagery’, Spectacular Now!: the Politics of the Contemporary Spectacle, Technischen Universität Dortmund, Germany, 11-12 November 2016.
‘Flesh to bones: North American horror and “the new film history”’, Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference (invited roundtable participant), Sheraton Chicago, March 2021 (rescheduled from 2020 due to Covid-19).
‘Borderline Nasties: Market Rationalisation and the Promotional Strategies of CBS/Fox Video, 1982-84’, International Association for Media and History Biannual Conference, Northumbria University, July 2019
‘Exploitation video: Thinking beyond “cult movie” discourse’, Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference (invited roundtable participant), Sheraton Seattle, April 2019.
‘Transnational splatter cinema and the birth of the “shot on video” horror movie’, Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, Sheraton Toronto, March 2018.
‘Award-winning Sex Sells: British adult video’s quest for quality, 1978-85’, Screen, University of Glasgow, June 2017.
‘A golden age of exploitation? British video culture beyond the video nasties’, Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, Hilton Atlanta, March 2016.*
Examples of Public Engagement
Johnny has delivered numerous public lectures at horror film festivals in the UK and Europe including Belgium’s premier genre festival, Off Screen (Brussels, 2013, 2015); Wales’s largest horror event, the Abertoir (sic) International Horror Film Festival (Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 2015, 2016); Canterbury’s Waves of Horror Festival (Gulbenkian Cinema, 2014); and Leicester’s Adaptations on Film Festival (Phoenix, 2014). He also features in the documentary VIPCO: The Untold Story (2019) and is the author of the sleeve-notes for Arrow Video’s Blu-ray the Greek exploitation film Island of Death (1976).
External funding/research grants
Leadership Fellowship, Arts and Humanities Research Council: “Raising Hell: British Horror Film in the 1980s and 1990s”.
Editorial Board and Peer Review Experience
Johnny is founding Series Co-editor of Bloomsbury’s Global Exploitation Cinemas book series, and sit on the editorial board of the Horror Studies book series published by the University of Wales Press. He is the Reviews Editor of the Journal of Popular Television.
Johnny regularly reviews for academic journals such as the International Journal of Cultural Studies, Media History, Film Studies, the Journal of British Cinema and Television, the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, Critical Studies in Television and Horror Studies, and academic presses such as University of California Press, Edinburgh University Press, University of Wales Press, Bloomsbury, Palgrave, Intellect Books and Auteur.