This chapter posits a psychoanalytic reading of Iginio Ugo Tarchetti’s short story I fatali (The Fated Ones) published posthumously in the collection Racconti fantastici (Fantastic Tales) (1869). It focuses on the mortal rivalry between the father and son figures, Count Sagrezwitch and Baron Saternez, who become known in late nineteenth-century Milanese society of the short story as true embodiments of fatal beings belonging to popular superstition, known as jinxes – bringers of bad fortune, illness, harm, and even death to others. Drawing from Otto Rank and Sigmund Freud’s conceptions of the Doppelgänger, it is argued that these protagonists emerge as complementary doubles for one another, as opposing incarnations of Death in the form of mysterious foreigners. This chapter also highlights the post-Unification, socio-cultural undertones of Tarchetti’s fantastic tale, affirms the existence of an Italian Gothic, and reveals the author’s portrayal of death’s spectacular nature.
This chapter argues that all Terry Gilliam's films are exercises in hybrid textuality, but the dystopian form taken up in Brazil makes this his most overtly political work. Brazil initially is replete with utopian dreams, but as its protagonist Sam Lowry gains a better understanding of the dystopian reality, his dreams increasingly take on the dystopian tenor of that environment. Lowry's fantasies are critically analysed in terms of their narcissism and escapism, but even if we judge these negatively, he at least inhabits a more stimulating world than those around him. In Munchausen, by constructing the framework of the theatre around the tales themselves, Gilliam and Charles McKeown create a form of transitional space between the worlds of fantasy and reality. The Theatre Royal provides a space where fantasy can be presented, while serving as a refuge from the murderous reality of the besieged town that surrounds the audience.
This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book provides critical insights into specific problems and topics and encourages readers to consider the breadth of, and different emphases within, Television Studies. The issues of whether there is more or less 'quality television' than there was, and the standards of taste and decency in television, have mostly been left to popular and journalistic opinion. The book highlights that the exploration of generic instability and stakes of genre as a delimiting and categorising force will continue to develop in work on the diverse television drama forms as contemporary urban drama, crime drama and the literary adaptation. It also addresses examples of television which are either widely known, still being broadcast or available through commercial or library sources in videotape form.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book provides resources for critical thinking about key aspects of television drama in Britain since 1960, including institutional, textual, cultural and audience-centred modes of study. Helen Wheatley's analysis of Rebecca, The Wyvern Mystery and The Woman in White distinguishes the gendered concerns of the Gothic as a mode that encompasses literary and cinematic realisations of narratives that reflect on the politics of domesticity. The book emphasises the relationships between the television drama text and its contexts of production and viewing. It investigates how the programme's production and realisation negotiated the possibilities that television offered for realising both conventional 'pulp fiction' monster stories and the aspirational claims for 'serious' speculative and educational drama in science fiction.
Blending aspects of the religious novel with Gothic motifs, Horace Smith’s 1845 novel Mesmerism: A Mystery employs mesmerism to make its case for a radical transvaluation of death. Prematurely spiritualised by mesmeric treatment, the protagonist Jane Harvey attains a preternatural awareness of the liminal space between life and death, and, in the novel’s affirmative re-conception of the Death and the Maiden motif, she repeatedly encounters a mysterious phantom that proves to be the mildly uncanny yet enticing embodiment of death itself. The text evokes the ‘mistaken terror of death’ in order to dispel it and enthusiastically affirms both the Evangelical ‘good death’ and what Phillipe Ariès calls the ‘beautiful death’. However, in its disproportionate emphasis on death per se, and its polemical drive to reconceive death as ‘the universal friend’, the novel flirts with the heterodoxy that its personified Death is the principal redeemer of humankind.
National identity and the spirit of subaltern vengeance in Nakata Hideo’s Ringu and Gore Verbinski’s The Ring
This chapter discusses Gore Verbinski's 2002 film The Ring, a remake of Nakata Hideo's Ringu, which was itself an adaptation of Suzuki Koji's 1991 novel The Ring. Both Ringu and The Ring are ideally positioned to explore the ideological function of models of national identity promulgated by the media in Japanese and US society internalised by members of each. These were often in direct contradiction of the realities of national history or contemporary social and cultural practices. Sasaki Sadako, as spirit of vengeance, asserts her own right to survive, and to reproduce, by becoming both mother and father to a new breed of infected individuals. Her meta-hybridity echoes in the book's inference that her father was not in fact human but a water spirit summoned by the real-life ascetic En no Ozunu.
In The Brothers Grimm, Terry Gilliam is attracted to the darker sense of the fairy tale, understanding it as a suitable genre for mature children and open-minded adults. Bob McCabe had already produced Dark Knights and Holy Fools, a critical survey of Gilliam's films up to Fear and Loathing, and would put together The Pythons Autobiography By The Pythons. The book that came from Gilliam's request, Dreams and Nightmares: Terry Gilliam, The Brothers Grimm, and Other Cautionary Tales of Hollywood, offers a sobering account of the tribulations Gilliam underwent in making The Brothers Grimm. Tideland takes Gilliam into new territory, the world of Gothic horror, and he claimed that in Tideland, Alice in Wonderland meets Psycho. There are elements of the Gothic in The Brothers Grimm, but that film's comic undertones relieve the tension, which builds menacingly in Tideland.