Ruth Goldberg
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‘In the church of the poison mind’
Adapting the metaphor of psychopathology to look back at the mad, monstrous 80s
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This chapter examines American Psycho and Donnie Darko, two films that look back at aspects of the American experience in the 1980s. These titles represent only two out of a larger series of recent 'Monstrous 80s' films, including Capturing the Friedmans and Monster. Each of these films adopts the framework and language of psychopathology in contextualising its monstrous protagonist. The apocalyptic tenor of the films suggests an emerging national metaphor, as if the cultural pathology which was latent in the 1980s is finally becoming manifest in the retrospective understanding of history. The retrospective analysis of US history through film and the overarching metaphors of psychopathology and prophecy that characterise the cycle of movies are explored as constituting an adaptive interpretive process in the horror genre. Horror films are consistently reactionary in terms of their internal politics and serve to reinforce normative values and ideas.

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Monstrous adaptations

Generic and thematic mutations in horror film

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