Gothic aesthetics and feminine identification in the filmic adaptations of Clive Barker
This chapter is informed by responses to the chosen films by female viewers and considers these responses in relation to the aesthetic qualities of the films. Fan communities, thus privilege particular kinds of cinematic horror. Thus, Barker's films might be held up as great examples of splatterpunk in fan communities that are interested in the gory and explicit imagery. Certainly, many female fans of gothic horror still chose to view examples of body horror and find pleasure in them. Passionate feminine sexuality is positioned as monstrous in the narrative, but this is never quite that narratively straightforward in Barker's work. In terms of the appeal of Barkerian films, certainly in respect of Barker's imaginative stories and themes, this goes back to their predominantly negative feelings about the formulaic aspects of much of the horror genre.
Identity and culture in Clive Barker’s ‘The Forbidden’ and Bernard Rose’s Candyman
This chapter analyzes Clive Barker's 'The Forbidden' and Bernard Rose's Candyman, highlighting the feminine aesthetic of horror and how this is played out with respect to transformations of identity within horror film and fiction. It proposes that this form of comparative analysis, of the main elements of horror in a British story and its 'Americanised' Hollywood film version, can underscore the gendered dimensions of, and reactions to, horror narratives. The main themes of the short story, namely poverty, slums, class difference and folk culture, are easily mapped onto the film adaptation, replacing class with race as the main locus of the horror. In many respects, Candyman is a key text. Fans mention the strong female lead, the erotic appeal of the monster, their delight in the horrific imagery and themes, and a narrative that makes the viewer think.
Internet meme culture, Chris Chibnall’s Doctor Who, and fan mockery
This chapter looks at how Doctor Who fans have made and used Internet memes to mock the programme under the stewardship of Chris Chibnall, often fondly, but sometimes cruelly. Taking her data from the Reddit group DoctorWhumour, as well as Facebook and Twitter, Brigid Cherry begins by looking at fan responses crafted in the wake of series 11’s pre-publicity, some of which were overtly negative, particularly in response to the casting of a female Doctor, but which also included affectionate mocking of the thirteenth Doctor’s costume. The chapter then goes on to analyse a range of fan memes responding to specific aspects of broadcast episodes that fans have singled out for (sometimes affectionate) mockery, including textual elements such as Jodie Whittaker’s facial expressions, and extratextual elements such as Chris Chibnall’s writing. By creating humorous, playful memes to express disappointment at what they feel are poor-quality elements of Chibnall’s Doctor Who, fans demonstrate their symbolic mastery over the programme, in some cases even positioning Chibnall as an ‘anti-auteur’. Fandom blurs into anti-fandom here, yet it is not Jodie Whittaker’s gender or performance that are typically mocked. Instead, rather than attacking the show’s widening representation, the memes studied in this chapter suggest that a backlash against the latest showrunner has been the main vehicle for fans’ negative emotions and frustrations.
This book explores a new cultural moment in the history of the BBC TV series, Doctor Who: the casting of a female lead. Following the reveal that Jodie Whittaker would be the thirteenth Doctor, the series has been caught up in media and fan controversies – has it become ‘too political’? Has showrunner Chris Chibnall tampered disastrously with long-running continuity? And has the regendered thirteenth Doctor been represented differently from her predecessors? Analysing Whittaker’s era – up to and including Doctor Who’s responses to 2020’s first lockdown – this edited collection addresses how the show has been repositioned as a self-consciously inclusive brand. Featuring brand-new interview material with those working on-screen (series regular Mandip Gill and guest star Julie Hesmondhalgh) and those operating behind the scenes in crucial roles (Segun Akinola, composer of the current theme and incidental music), Doctor Who – New Dawn focuses on how the thirteenth Doctor’s era of spectacular TV has been created, and how it has diversified representations of queerness, race, and family. Moving beyond the television show itself, chapters also address fan responses to the thirteenth Doctor via memes, cosplay, and non-Anglophone translation. Finally, this collection looks at how the new ‘moment’ of Doctor Who has moved into gendered realms of merchandising, the commercial ‘experience economy’, and a paratextual neo-gift economy of Covid-19 lockdown reactions that were created by previous showrunners alongside Chris Chibnall. A vigorous new dawn for Doctor Who calls for rigorous new analysis – and the thirteen chapters gathered together here all respond adventurously to the call.
This begins by considering academic critiques of Doctor Who’s periodization – does it really make sense to divide the show into eras marked by showrunner and star? Despite some previous scholarly scepticism from Paul Booth, it is suggested that such eras can be treated as analytical devices rather than as claims over the essence of the series. An alternative academic approach set out by James Chapman, however, has sought to contest conventional fan discourses of ‘eras’ by instead analysing four major cultural-historical ‘moments’ of Doctor Who, namely Dalekmania of the 1960s; institutionalized ritual of the 1970s; the move from mainstream to cult TV in the 1980s; and reinvention as a global brand after 2005. Adding to this, it is argued that a new, fifth ‘moment’ can be discerned via Jodie Whittaker’s casting and Chris Chibnall’s role as showrunner – Doctor Who as a self-consciously inclusive brand. Using this concept to frame the edited collection’s central concerns, the Introduction then concludes by summarizing upcoming chapters in sequence.