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Pittsburgh, December 7 – It has been more than 70 years since “King Kong” first tore his way through Manhattan on the silver screen. On December 14, an updated version of the film will debut in theaters starring actors Adrien Brody, Jack Black and Naomi Watts. Movie-goers may see such fantasy films as nothing more than escapism. Joshua Bellin, associate professor of English at La Roche College, believes such movies are far more significant, providing commentary on societal trends and cultural beliefs. Bellin has authored Framing Monsters: Fantasy Film and Social Alienation (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005), which explores the genre of fantasy film from the 1930s cult classic to recent blockbusters such as “Star Wars” and “X-Men.”

“Great movie monsters always tell us something about the society that dreams them up,” said Bellin. “The original Kong was an image of 1930s racism. It will be interesting to see what the new Kong tells us about ourselves.”

A member of the La Roche faculty since 1999, Bellin is also the author of The Demon of the Continent: Indians and the Shaping of American Literature (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001). He holds a BA from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Bellin is a native of Pittsburgh.

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