Gothic Continuities, Feminism and Postfeminism in the Neo-Gothic Film

The article seeks to explore questions of fictional female victimhood by examining feminist and post-feminist critical engagements with the Gothic heroine figure. The paper traces instances of this figure in literary and filmic versions of the ‘female gothic’ narrative, focusing in particular on the female gothic film cycle of the 1940s, in films such as Rebecca (1940) and Suspicion (1941), and the cycles recurrence in more contemporary female-addressed suspense thrillers, such as Deceived (1991), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), Shadow of Doubt (1998), and What Lies Beneath (2000). The paper reveals that the neo-gothic heroine condenses key issues pertinent to shifts in feminist and post-feminist critique, such as woman-as-victim, negotiations about the meanings of femininity, and the relationship between women and domestic space.

Gothic Studies