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Post-9/11 Horror and the Gothic Clash of Civilisations

Twentieth century cinema involving monster conflict featured solitary monsters in combat (Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, for example). The writing of Anne Rice and the RPG Vampire: The Masquerade by White Wolf Games introduced the idea of Gothic communities and civilisations in conflict. It was not until after the terror attacks of 11 September that the idea of a clash of civilisations between supernatural societies fully emerged into the mainstream of popular culture. This essay explores the construction of a clash of civilisations between supernatural communities as a form of using the Gothic as a metaphor for contemporary terrorism in film and television series such as Underworld, Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries. Inevitably, it is the lycanthropes that are the disempowered and disenfranchised society and are alternately exploited by and rebel against the dominant vampire civilisation grown decadent and on the verge of collapse. Post-9/11 Gothic posits a world in which vampire society is the new normal, and werewolves represent a hidden danger within. Lycanthropes must be controlled, profiled and/or fought and defeated. Through close readings of the cinematic and televisual texts, I explore the vampire/werewolf clash as metaphor and metonym for the war on terror.

Gothic Studies
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to mould. Red fangs have torn His face. God’s blood is shed. He mourns from His lone place His children dead. O! ancient crimson curse! Corrode, consume. Give back this universe Its pristine bloom. 2 Isaac Rosenberg, ‘On Receiving News of the War’ (written in 1914

in Dangerous bodies

Trauma realities defy easy access to comprehension and thus require alternative discourses to understand them. This article looks at Pat Barkers employment of the Gothic tropes in the examination and explication of war trauma in her Regeneration trilogy. More pertinently, it scrutinizes the complex relation between Gothicized landscapes and trauma by analyzing three specific sites – Craiglockhart War Hospital, trenches and England as ‘Blighty’ – in the Regeneration trilogy. This article shows traumas destabilizing impact by examining how landscapes become imprinted with trauma. The physical disempowerment of landscapes is further complemented by a psychological disempowerment by examining traumatized patient-soldiers mindscapes and dreamscapes. It further examines how Barker employs tropes of haunting, dreams and nightmares, staple Gothic emotions of fear, terror and horror, Freuds Unheimlich to dispossess the owners control and locates trauma realities lurking therein. Thus Barkers Regeneration narrative bears witness to the phantom realities of war trauma by privileging the uncanny personal histories of traumatized soldiers.

Gothic Studies
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Gothic Transgressions in First World War Fiction

Gothic Studies
On the cultural afterlife of the war dead

At the end of his remarkable elegiac poem in praise of war, ‘1914’, Rupert Brooke expresses the wish that, ‘If I should die, think only this of me:/That there’s some corner of a foreign field/That is for ever England’ (Roberts, 1996 : 71). On first view, this image of a soldier’s grave seems to have little to do with gothic sensibility. Yet

in Monstrous media/spectral subjects
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Khaki Gothic and Comedy

On first glance, M*A*S*H (1972–83) might not be the ideal text for Gothic analysis. Aesthetically, the traditional dark castles surrounded by black forests in the moonlight are replaced by muted khaki and green canvas Army tents, and the tinny canned laughter punctuating the sardonic jokes echo longer than the terrified screams in the night. Gothic and war are uneasy bedfellows; it is the inclusion of comedy, however, that determines just how horrific the result can be. Using M*A*S*H as a primary example to explore what I refer to as Khaki Gothic this paper will explore how, utilising Gothic tropes, comedy can disguise, diffuse and intensify the horrors of war.

Gothic Studies
Road Trips, Globalisation, and the War on Terror

American zombie Gothic films have changed markedly in their tone, style, and structure since September 11, an evolution that expands the Gothic mode to include the mobility of the narratives protagonists, a popularisation of the movies, and an increased engagement with a multi-ethnic international community. To remain timely, relevant, and commercially viable, such alterations must occur, and these shifts in particular can best be explained by the changing cinematic marketplace, the influence of videogames, and the policies and anxieties resulting from the (inter)national trauma of 9/11 and the War on Terror. This essay examines the film version of World War Z as a key text for exploring the current transition from a localised siege narrative to an international kind of road trip movie, a shift largely tied to the popularity of zombie-themed videogames.

Gothic Studies

This essay argues that Stephen King‘s 2006 novel Cell explores the age of terror with the aid of two concurrent Gothic discourses. The first such discourse belongs to the tradition that Patrick Brantlinger has termed Imperial Gothic. As such, it imagines with the War on Terror that the threat that the (Gothic) Other constitutes is most usefully managed with the help of massive, military violence. The other, and more traditional, Gothic discourse radically imagines such violence as instead a War of Terror. The essay then argues that Cell does not attempt to reconcile these opposed positions to terror. Instead, the novel employs the two Gothic discourses to describe the epistemological rift that terror inevitably creates.

Gothic Studies
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Neoconservative Hunters and Terrorist Vampires in Joe Ahearne‘s Ultraviolet (1998)

A consideration of the ways in which the discourse of monstrosity, once deployed against a political enemy, closes off open debate and undermine the values of those who argue that the ends needed to defeat them justify any means used. This article explores the parallels between the neoconservative rhetoric of the War on Terror with that of the vampire hunters in Joe Ahearnes television show Ultraviolet (1998), as both deny their enemies the status of political subjects. It offers a reading of the show in light of Slavoj Žižeks call to evaluate the arguments of both sides in such moralised conflicts.

Gothic Studies
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Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me and the Crooked Game of Post-World War II America

Though presenting itself as pulpy example of hardboiled American fiction, Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me opens up in important and unexpected ways when read as a subversive Gothic novel. Such a reading sheds light on a range of marginalized characters (especially women and rural peoples) who often remain shadowed by more conventional readings. Reading the novel as Gothic also highlights thematic concerns which counter the halcyon image of post-World War II America as a golden age and reveal instead a contemporary landscape fraught with violence, alienation, and mental instability.

Gothic Studies