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James Kendrick, Ph.D. - Baylor University . Waco, TX, US

James Kendrick, Ph.D.

Professor, Film & Digital Media | Baylor University


Expert on Spielberg films, cult and horror films, post-Classical Hollywood film history, and new cinema technologies.




James Kendrick, Ph.D. Publication James Kendrick, Ph.D. Publication James Kendrick, Ph.D. Publication James Kendrick, Ph.D. Publication



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James Kendrick is a professor and undergraduate program director in the Film and Digital Media Division of the Department of Communication at Baylor University, where he teaches classes on film theory/aesthetics, the history of motion pictures, media and society, the films of Steven Spielberg, violence in the media, and horror film.

His primary research interests are post-Classical Hollywood film history, violence in the media, cult and horror films, media censorship and regulation, the films of Steven Spielberg, action films, and cinema and new technologies.

He is the author of three books: Darkness in the Bliss-Out: A Reconsideration of the Films of Steven Spielberg (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014), Hollywood Bloodshed: Violence in 1980s American Cinema (Southern Illinois University Press, 2009) and Film Violence: History, Ideology, Genre (Wallflower Press, 2009). He has also published several book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles in Film Criticism, The Velvet Light Trap, the Journal of Film and Video, and the Journal of Popular Film and Television, as well as presented papers at numerous conferences. In addition to his academic work, he is also the film and video critic for the web site Qnetwork.com (where he has written more than 2,400 feature-length reviews). He is a member of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, the University Film and Video Association, and the Online Film Critics Society.

He lives in Waco, TX, with his wife, Cassie, and their children, James and Lily.

Areas of Expertise (10)

Horror film

Cult film

Steven Spielberg

Violence in Film

Film Criticism

Film History

Film and Media Theory

Violence in the media

Media censorship and regulation

Cinema and new technologies

Education (3)

Indiana University, Bloomington: Ph.D., Communication & Culture

Baylor University: M.A., Journalism

Baylor University: B.A., English

Affiliations (3)

  • Society for Cinema and Media Studies
  • University Film and Video Association
  • Online Film Critics Society

Media Appearances (8)

10 Low-Budget Horror Movies Like Skinamarink That Have Terrified Audiences

TIME  online


James Kendrick, Ph.D., is quoted in this article about 10 of the most memorable low-budget scary movies. saying that “Psycho” was the first big, mainstream film that tapped into the fear of the monster within.

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How Creepy Dolls Like M3GAN Became a Horror Phenomenon

TIME  online


James Kendrick, Ph.D., is quoted in the article about the storied history of dolls gone evil that dates back to film’s early days. The article is pegged to the upcoming horror/comedy film “M3GAN” about an artificial intelligence-powered doll that goes on a murderous rampage.

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35 of the best serial killer movies to watch for a fright

TODAY  online


James Kendrick, Ph.D., is quoted in this article about serial killer movies, which feature many antagonists who look perfectly ordinary — which adds to the horror.

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Taking a Stab at Understanding the “Stupid Teens” Horror Trope

Paste Magazine  online


James Kendrick, Ph.D., explains why teenagers are drawn to horror films despite their negative portrayal of young adults and teenagers.

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Why Bly Manor creator Mike Flanagan thinks cellphones are 'kryptonite' for horror

CNET.com  online


James Kendrick, Ph.D., discusses how cellphones have become increasingly prevalent in books and scripts as a source of horror.

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Horror Films Have Always Tapped Into Pop Culture's Most Urgent Fears. COVID-19 Will Be Their Next Inspiration

TIME  online


James Kendrick, Ph.D., is quoted in this article on trends that inspire horror films and the impact COVID-19 will have on future horror films.

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Horror film course returns this spring, proves more to horror than gore

Baylor Lariat  print


Film and digital media professor and horror film expert James Kendrick will offer students an opportunity to study the movie genre that often reflects what we are anxious about as a culture in “The Horror Film” class next year.

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Why we like to be scared at the movies

Consumer Affairs  online


James Kendrick, Ph.D., says people like to be scared at the movies when they know they are in a safe environment.

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Articles (2)

Disturbing New Pathways: Psycho and the Priming of the Audience

Journal of Popular Film and Television

2010 This article uses priming effects to explore Psycho's narrative and visual effects on audiences. By taking into account how audiences had been primed by classical Hollywood films, it shows how Psycho's defiance of classical norms helped pave the way for future films by initiating audiences into a new narrative structure.

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Oxford Bibliography on Action Cinema

Oxford Bibliography


A hybrid genre that fuses the moral landscape of the western and the urban settings of film noir and police procedurals, the action film as we know it today is a relatively new genre, having taken shape in the late 1960s and early 1970s and become a fully recognized and immensely popular cinematic form in the 1980s.

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