Chapter 4
in Gothic effigy
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Small-scale and domestic peepshows featured macabre, unsettling and Gothic visions. The Gothic resonance of the tale, its popularity and the possibility, with Pepper's reflective trick, for human and ghostly double crossing and re-crossing of each other onstage proved irresistible to the showmen and, subsequently, to successive audiences. When Joseph Ackermann & Co. published the first two sets of phenakistoscope discs, they called them the Phantasmascope and Fantascope, immediately making links with the Gothic lantern show Phantasmagoria. Though, by 1830, the age of the spectacular, large-scale Phantasmagoria was waning, several developments allowed the lantern-of-fear shows to continue in different milieux. The images on stereoscopic cards link the world of Étienne-Gaspard Robertson's Phantasmagoria and Lepoittevin's Diableries with the operas féeries and, ultimately, the films of Georges Méliès. Frankenstein was to prove more durable than the kinetoscope, but the uncanny associations of the slightly earlier medium recur in Max Goldblatt's horror film Kinetoscope.

Gothic effigy

A guide to dark visibilities


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