This article examines the post-millennial popularity of the found footage movie, in particular its engagement with the representational codes of non-fiction media. Whilst the majority of critical writings on found footage identify the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Centre as a key visual referent, they too often dwell on the literal re-enactment of the event. This article instead suggests that these films evoke fear by mimicking the aesthetic and formal properties of both mainstream news coverage and amateur recording. As such they create both ontological and epistemological confusion as to the reality of the events depicted. Rather than merely replicating the imagery of terror/ism, these films achieve their terrifying effects by mimicking the audiences media spectatorship of such crisis.
Evil, Privation and the Absent Logos in Richard Marsh‘s The
This essay explores the influence of the theological tradition of privation theory upon
Richard Marsh‘s novel The Beetle (1897). Focusing on images of ontological nothingness,
corruption and uncreation, it argues that the novel employs the concept of privation both
in its depiction of the supernatural Other and in its parallel interrogation of its
contemporary modernity. Imagery of privation in the novel is associated not only with the
Beetle itself, but with the modern urban environment and weapons of mass destruction. The
essay concludes by examining the corruption of language and absence of a creative logos
able to respond adequately to the privations of the modern city and industrial
FX’s American Horror Story: Murder House (the series’ first season) is an important addition to the Gothic canon, manifesting every conceivable Gothic convention, its narrative overwhelmed by a claustrophobic sense of enclosure in space and repetition,in time. Indeed, the series manifests what I call the entropic Gothic: its trajectory is relentlessly toward exhaustion and stasis, toward dissipation and death. Symptomatic of this entropic Gothic of American Horror Story is its focus on twins - markers, in the series, of an abiding cultural entropy. The first half of this essay is grounded in the more literal association of twins with reproductive technologies and aging mothers. Twins thus stand in for a series of literal anxieties about interwoven children and homes - about the future of the ‘American,Dream’ - that have plagued the United States in particular since the beginning of the recession (2007 through at least the end of 2012). The second half of the essay takes up the more metaphorical meanings associated with twins. American Horror Story’s reiterations of the same, its proliferation of mimetic semblables, mark the entropic drift of the series toward undifferentiation and extinction. Twins metonymically gesture to what the ‘Murder House’ itself represents - a realm of involutionary regression, of reality become virtual reality. The series tracks a fundamental entropic regression of the human to a spent, useless state, in which it is preserved only as what Jean Baudrillard called ‘a kind of ontological “attraction”’.
Criminal Female Sexuality in
Bram Stoker‘s Dracula
This essay considers how Bram Stoker‘s Dracula (1901) engages both contemporary medical
models and common-sense conceptions of female criminality and sexuality. From Dracula, the
figure of Lucy Westenra emerges as a quintessential femme fatale. Lucys neck bears the
characteristic marking of the vampire, but we never witness the bite; as a result,
ambiguity surrounds the causal relationship in the process of becoming a vampire. The
novel produces this ontological ambiguity to perpetuate and to exacerbate contemporary
views regarding the radical instability of female nature. Under this logic, Lucys
encounter with the vampire brings only latent impulses to the surface. Stokers narrative
exploits this physiological uncertainty to perpetuate the sensational terror that all
female sexuality is monstrous, threatening to render the British man a debased specimen of
his former glory. By tracking the various logical ellipses and rhetorical slippages which
give shape to Stokers female vampires, I demonstrate how Stokers novels enact the same
anxious rhetoric that likewise informs the portrait of female sexuality in
. Moreover, it will offer a fresh perspective on how each production adapted and constructed the sense of ‘liveness’ of the theatrical event in transmission, thereby, rather aptly, playing with the ontological concerns with the controlled constructions of liveness which lie at the heart of the Frankenstein Complex itself. 1 Finally, this chapter will open up the question: how can an engagement with the Gothic offer an appropriate lens through which to foster a significant and vigorous understanding of the contemporary constructions of liveness
Frankenstein meets H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘Herbert West – Reanimator’
Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock
The point here is that Gothic narratives of all stripes raise not just epistemological questions about what things mean and how we know what we know, but vexing ontological questions about the nature of the world and our place in it. Can the dead return? If so, from where? If the dead walk, does this mean that human beings possess some immortal part, a soul that persists even following physical dissolution? If so, in what part of the body does that soul reside? If the dead don’t return, why not? Can the future be foretold through dreams and prophesy? If so, then
The metafictional meanings of lycanthropic transformations in Doctor Who
Clearly, although not werewolves, such mutations occupy an equivalent imaginative territory where the limits of human being and self-knowledge are destabilised by the invading ‘Other’. Both ontology and epistemology are implicated here and, linked (via Chantal Bourgault du Coudray) with Slavoj Žižek's reading of the modern monster as a ‘spectral’ challenge to Enlightenment rationality, these hybrids point to something intriguing about the frequent use of Gothic motifs in the series.
In the contemplation of Rameses II's broken statue, settled deep in the Egyptian sand, Percy Bysshe Shelley prompts us, in his 1818 sonnet ‘Ozymandias’, to reckon with an ontological puzzle. What clues to the Egyptian past do monuments, mummies and artefacts offer about the pharaohs, and who can make intelligible their inscriptions and stories? How does one interpret the pharaohs’ desire to exist beyond the expanse of human life, without imposing the coldly rational perspectives of the present? Shelley published his sonnet, named after the
The loss of clothes in werewolf stories may be terrifying or liberating, but either way it marks an ontological boundary crossed.
This ‘conceptualization of lycanthropic metamorphosis as a process of dressing and undressing’, as Hannah Priest puts it in another article, persists into modern film.
In a classic werewolf movie such as John Landis's An American Werewolf in London ( 1981 ), the transition ritual enables the
Sara B. Elfgren and Mats Strandberg’s teenage witch trilogy
Maria Holmgren Troy
when trying to find Rebecca's murderer; while in Eld , the body-switch motif is employed and developed.
The already complex and at times fragmented existence of being on the verge of adulthood is thus further complicated by the Chosen Ones’ ontological status as witches fighting evil. In Cirkeln , Vanessa experiences acutely that she has multiple, contradictory selves:
There are far too many Vanessas now, and she no longer knows which is the real