SILENCE, RITUAL AND THE (DE)CONTRUCTION OF MASCULINITY IN MONTE HELLMAN’S COCKFIGHTER (1974)
Crowdfund launched for the new book from HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN author Kier-La Janisse
Book cover by Adam Juresko
Check out the new crowdfund on Indiegogo and pledge today HERE!
Watch the special Indiegogo video HERE!
Canadian micro-publisher Spectacular Optical will be launching an Indiegogo campaign on Tuesday, May 22 for its fifth book, exploring the intersection of Southern Gothic, second-wave feminism and ritual masculinity in Monte Hellman’s controversial drama COCKFIGHTER (1974). The book will be a blend of cultural criticism and production history as well as an examination of the Charles Willeford novel and the bloodsport that inspired it.
COCKFIGHTER stars character actor Warren Oates as Frank Mansfield, a career cocker who has taken a vow of silence until he can win the Cockfighter of the Year Award. Surrounded by fellow cockers played by Harry Dean Stanton, Ed Begley, Jr, Steve Railsback, Richard B. Schull and even author/screenwriter Charles Willeford himself, the film traverses the underground cockfighting world of the Deep South, with a highly detailed documentation of this unique subculture brought vividly to life by esteemed cinematographer Nestor Almendros.
The book features interviews with director Monte Hellman and producer Roger Corman – who will sign special edition copies of the book available only through the Indiegogo campaign – as well as several other surviving cast and crew.
Author Kier-La Janisse broke new ground in film criticism with her 2012 book House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films (now in development as a series with Rook Films), and this new monograph – for which the author attended several real cockfights in the American South – is also a labour of love whose appeal promises to transcend the fanbase for the film itself. “Monte Hellman has made films he likes much better than Cockfighter,’ says Janisse, “But Cockfighter was always the one that resonated with me; primarily its emphasis on a stubborn, meticulous anti-hero who wants to be the best at something that others consider foolish at best, or barbaric at worst.”
Special perks for the Indiegogo include belt buckles, a Cockfighter-themed deck of cards, an original cockfighting gaff necklace designed by silversmith Ben High and a signed deluxe edition that comes with the Cockfighter of the Year medal as depicted in the film. The Indiegogo campaign runs through June 25 with its goal going towards completion funds, image rights and printing costs.
About Spectacular Optical:
Named after the sinister institution in David Cronenberg’s Videodrome, Spectacular Optical is a small-press publisher of collectible film and pop culture books with an emphasis on supporting Canadian genre film writers and designers. Spectacular Optical is owned and operated by film writer and programmer Kier-La Janisse.
COCKFIGHT Book IndieGogo Video