psychoanalytic theory horror films

“Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film.” Representations 20: 187-228. This has meant that those externally-motivated criticisms which cut across various psychoanalytic theories of the horror film-as many, if not most of them are wont to do-are typically ignored, their implications unacknowledged, precisely because their very scope encourages a passing of the dialectical buck. It adds strength to the already potent criticisms that psychoanalytic thought is hermetic and self-confirming, that its film theoretical applications produce “closed, self-justifying systems” (Jancovich 1995: 147). As Richard Allen has observed, both Williams and Creed contest aspects of Mulvey’s position by identifying “scenarios of female empowerment in the horror film in which the threat of castration [i]s not contained, but acted out in the narrative” (1999: 140). Dezember 2010 im Internet Archive) bei: Senses of Cinema; Bibliographie des 3rd European Psychoanalytic Film Festivals (Memento vom 17. Unfortunately, the trend has been for psychoanalytic horror film theorists to downplay the tensions between their respective positions rather than attempt to resolve or revise them. Others may explore the hidden drives and desires of a character or characters in a novel way. Related to this is the ‘snuggle theory’ – the idea that viewing horror films may be a rite of passage for young people, providing them with an opportunity to fulfil their traditional gender roles. Founded in 1999, Senses of Cinema is one of the first online film journals of its kind and has set the standard for professional, high quality film-related content on the Internet. Enter your email address below and we will send you your username, If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username, I have read and accept the Wiley Online Library Terms and Conditions of Use, https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118883648.ch2. This thesis offers an analysis of women in horror film through an in depth exploration of what I term ‘gynaehorror’ – horror films that are concerned with female sex, sexuality and reproduction. The Peculiar Pleasures of a Popular Genre.” Cultural Studies 11.3: 443-63. (1986). The full text of this article hosted at iucr.org is unavailable due to technical difficulties. Conte will have to solve the mystery through psychoanalysis if he wishes to save his wife. “When the Woman Looks” (1983). Despite the negative claim by its leading practitioners that what unites Post-Theoretical scholarship is simply a lack of reliance “upon the psychoanalytic framework that dominates film academia” (Bordwell and Carroll 1996: xvi), critics of psychoanalysis as applied to the horror genre may well diverge when it comes to questions concerning the in/dispensability of psychoanalytic film theory per se. Williams, L. (1999). (ed.). Cambridge, MA, MIT Press. “Horror and the Monstrous-Feminine: an Imaginary Abjection.” Screen 27.1: 44-70. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings (Fifth Edition). The most common route of psychoanalytic inquiry into horror cinema is through considerations of the monster's gender and sexuality. Especially since the late 1970s, there has been a tremendous diversity of psychoanalytic approaches to the horror film, as well as substantive disagreements between the advocates of these varying approaches. Woman as castrator constitutes the most significant face of the monstrous-feminine in film, and Creed challenges the mythical patriarchal view that. Similarly, those who see fit to critique psychoanalytic theories of the horror film almost always have an alternative, incompatible (or so it may seem) paradigm in hand, or at least in mind. (ed.). (1). Hg. Frühe Schriften (1904–1912). Psychoanalytic theory has been the subject of attacks from philosophers, cultural critics and scientists who have questioned the cogency of its reasoning as well as the soundness of its premises. “Philosophical Problems Concerning the Concept of Pleasure in Psychoanalytic Theories of (the Horror) Film.” Freud’s Worst Nightmares: Psychoanalysis and the Horror Film. A psychological and crime thriller that tells the story of Richard Conte, a famous psychoanalyst who must help his wife, Ann Sutton, when she begins to believe that she committed a series of crimes under the influence of hypnosis. In a typical horror film, the murderer/monster is a static character who dies, unchanged, in the film’s conclusion. These experiences range from watching horror films to skydiving and bungee jumping. In this dense anthology, for every standard criticism of psychoanalysis there is an equally compelling argument for its use in analyzing Read My Desire: Lacan Against the Historicists. Application of psychoanalytic theory on Witches and Other Night Fears. In The Monstrous-Feminine Barbara Creed challenges this patriarchal view by arguing that the prototype of all definitions of the monstrous is the female reproductive body. Most psychoanalytic horror film theorists to date have not proven very open to revising their particular accounts as a result of critical engagement with the work of others operating even from within the psychoanalytic paradigm. More like preaching to the converted. Please check your email for instructions on resetting your password. Over the past thirty years, a plethora of publications have argued in favor of a specific psychoanalytic approach to some dimension or convention of cinematic horror. (1998). In film theory psychoanalytic approaches became dominant during the 1970s and 1980s, at the heyday of the poststructuralist movement. According to Creed, the horror film attempts to bring about a confrontation with the abject (the corpse, bodily wastes, the monstrous-feminine) in order finally to eject the abject and redraw the boundaries between the human and the non-human. “Feminism, Film Theory, and the Bachelor Machines.” The Future of An Illusion: Film, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis. What is equally interesting is the way the film portrays the role of the family in this process. This is an excerpt from the Introduction to Freud’s Worst Nightmares, expected to be published by Cambridge University Press as part of their “Studies in Film” Series. Jancovich, M. (1992). The second wave became popular in the 1980s and 90s. (Memento vom 25. “Psychoanalytic Film Theory.” A Companion to Film Theory. Carroll, N. (1996b). (2), Arguably, one example of this sort of unproductive pluralism centers on the post-structural psychoanalytic claim that at the heart of cinematic horror lies a patriarchal fear of female sexuality. While this is a broad and fruitful area of study, work in it has been shaped by a pronounced emphasis upon psychoanalytic theory, which I Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. Mulvey, L. (1999). “Introduction.” Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies. For more information, contact William Rothman or Steven Jay Schneider. As Malcolm Turvey details in his contribution to this volume, for instance, a survey of the various explanations offered up by psychoanalytic film theorists concerning the puzzling pleasures of horror film viewing reveals a host of structurally similar but still more or less conflicting positions. Nevertheless, when used to shed light on horror cinema, psychoanalysis in its various forms has proven to be a fruitful and provocative interpretative tool. And it effectively undermines the power of those prima facie affinities holding between psychoanalytic concepts and explanations on the one hand, and the manifest content of much horror cinema on the other. This was to be a book about psychoanalytic theories of the horror film, rather than a book which merely offered still more new and/or improved (or not) psychoanalytic theories of the horror film. In reference to horror film, psychoanalysis is as close to essential as any conceptual model can get. Nevertheless, when used to shed light on horror cinema, psychoanalysis in its various forms has proven to be a fruitful and provocative interpretative tool. This volume seeks to find the proper place of psychoanalytic thought in critical discussion of cinema in a series of essays that … (7). All the while the horror film, … As originally conceived, Freud’s Worst Nightmares was to be a collection of “meta-theoretical” essays on psychoanalysis and the horror film. If these intuitions were applied to different films within the genre, they would be quite compatible. While such diversity might be held up as indicative of the fertility of psychoanalysis in this area, “from the point of view of critics of psychoanalytical film theory, there is no genuine disagreement among psychoanalytical theorists of the horror film- simply pluralism.” This is because such theorists typically “do not dialectically engage with each others’ theories by (a) showing why candidates for repressed mental content proposed by other theorists cannot explain the phenomenon they want to explain; or (b) showing why their candidate does explain the phenomenon better than others” (n. 9). After all, it is just those affinities which could presumably be cited as evidence in defense of whichever psychoanalytic theory of the horror film brings them to bear in the first place. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (1974). This is because, in general, such objections would be fatal to psychoanalysis if proven correct. But due to the fact that each of these accounts constitutes a revision/refinement of a highly politicized and psychoanalytically-motivated feminist film theory whose implications extend far beyond the boundaries of the horror genre-just recall Mulvey’s sweeping claims, e.g., that “unchallenged, mainstream film code[s] the erotic into the language of the dominant patriarchal order” (1975/1999: 835)-they do not really qualify as debates taking place within the domain of psychoanalytic horror film theorizing. It also responds to the need for internal debate amongst otherwise (at least potentially) sympathetic psychoanalytic theorists of the horror genre. Unlike other genres built on recurring cataclysms of violence, horror films may perhaps be typified by the idea that their violence is motivated by sexual aberrations with roots in the past. And really, why should they? Michelle Carey • Daniel Fairfax • Fiona Villella • César Albarrán-Torres. Batsford, Ltd. Jancovich, M. (1995). Braudy, L. and M. Cohen (eds.). Review of the hardback: 'This superb collection offers its readers a roller-coaster ride through contemporary film theory and the question of horror. Theorizing the Moving Image. Sparks fly across the pages as the philosophical and epistemological premises of theories of horror are themselves subjected to analysis and evaluation as well as, in some cases, rejection. His book on Wes Craven, An Auteur on Elm Street, will be published by Wallflower Press/Columbia University Press in 2003. and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account. Han-yu Huang. Clover, meanwhile, argues for a primarily masochistic and empathetic, rather than sadistic-voyeuristic, identification on the part of both male and female spectators with the originally suffering but ultimately empowered “Final Girl” of the slasher movie. Clearly, the pluralism Turvey has in mind here is not of the productive or “methodologically robust” type advocated by Noël Carroll. Below is a list of films influenced by psychoanalysis in some way or another. Hollows, J. and M. Jancovich (eds.). Mendik, X. What all of the essays exhibit is something a great deal more practical than meta-theorization, also a great deal more valuable; namely, self-conscious theorizing. Author retrieves from his unconscious the memories of his childhood when he used to listen stories of witches. Austin, University of Texas Press: 15-34. The Fright of Real Tears: Krzysztof Kieslowski Between Theory and Post-Theory. Tudor, A. In: Persönlichkeit und neurotische Entwicklung. Dispositional Alignment: People seem to enjoy the violence in horror movies when it is directed against those they believe are deserving of such treatment. Die Maschinerie des Sehens. Copjec, J. Turvey, M. (forthcoming). Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press. “Cognitivism, Contemporary Film Theory and Method: A Response to Warren Buckland” (1992). “From the Monstrous Mother to the ‘Third Sex’: Female Abjection in the Films of Dario Argento.” Necronomicon: The Journal of Horror and Erotic Cinema, Book Two. “Why Horror? Such films may force a more active participation on the part of the viewer in the process of meaning creation that occurs between film, filmmakers, and spectator. Creed, B. But of course there is no such neutral space outside, much less “above,” the fray from which to conduct an investigation of this sort. To refuse to hear such critics out, to not treat their more powerful objections with all-due seriousness, and to eschew making any effort at responding in turn is more than just irresponsible scholarship. Freudian’s Theory of Psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud’s approach of psychoanalytic theory starts by understanding the human psyche that strives to fulfill the needs and desires or … Oxford, Blackwell: 123-45. Manchester, Manchester University Press: 124-50. Instead, it was envisaged that contributors to this book would take a step back to discuss-in some cases, to debate-the relative strengths and weaknesses of such psychoanalytic approaches. Elizabeth Cowie, University of Kent Book Description. April 2013 im Internet Archive) Holger Reichert: Film und Kino. Thus, locating quality scholars ready and willing to contribute to a collection of essays all of which would apply psychoanalysis (of whatever species) to the horror film didn’t seem like it would pose too difficult an editorial task. These efforts have typically taken the form of either interpretive analysis (of a particular film, subgenre, or the genre as a whole) or depth-psychological explanation (of the symbolic/mythic import of horror film monsters; of the horror affect and how it is generated; of the possibly perverse pleasures viewers obtain from being frightened by visible fictions). The same cannot be said of psychoanalytic film theory in general, which has certainly seen its fair share of internal controversy. Han-yu Huang. psychoanalysis in theory and in particular films, such as Jacques Tourneur's Cat People (1942); and 4) charting new directions for theoretical studies of horror films, both psychoanalytic and psychophysiological. horror film, woman is conceptualized only as victim. Professor of Radio, Television, and Film at the University of North Texas. (ed.). “A Fun Night Out: Horror and Other Pleasures of the Cinema.” Freud’s Worst Nightmares: Psychoanalysis and the Horror Film. (3). What does PSYCHOANALYTIC FILM THEORY mean? Three sophisticated horror movies are interpreted from the perspective of Homo ludens and the Theatrum mundi-metaphor, in which the boundaries between fiction and reality are called into question in creative ways.Adler, Alfred (1910c/2007): Der psychische Hermaphroditismus im Leben und in der Neurose. In accordance with this fear, it is held that the genre defines female sexuality “as monstrous, disturbing, and in need of repression” (Jancovich 1992: 10). Learn about our remote access options, Author of Un‐American Psycho: Brian De Palma and the Political Invisible. The unconscious is a storage house of mysteries- hidden joys, anxieties and sorrows. Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. In recent years, psychoanalytic theory has been the subject of attacks from philosophers, cultural critics, and scientists who have questioned the cogency of its reasoning as well as the soundness of its premises. Meanwhile, Stephen Neale and others argue that horror film monsters are predominantly defined as male, with women as their primary victims: “In this respect, it could well be maintained that it is women’s sexuality, that which renders them desirable-but also threatening-to men, which constitutes the real problem that the [sic] horror cinema exists to explore” (1980: 61). Psychoanalytic film theory is a school of academicm thought that evokes of the concepts of psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan.The theory is closely tied to Critical theory, Marxist film theory, and Apparatus theory.The theory is separated into two waves. Bordwell, D. and N. Carroll (1996). This essay addresses these criticisms—defending a psychoanalytic approach to horror cinema from objections raised by theorists such as Stephen Prince, Andrew Tudor, Jonathan Crane, Noël Carroll, and Berys Gaut. "The essays in Horror Film and Psychoanalysis: Freud's Worst Nightmare are exemplary philosophical and aesthetic discussions, their complex and subtle arguments are both challenging and thought-provoking." Working off-campus? (1990). New York, Routledge. As Malcolm Turvey details in his contribution to this volume, for instance, a survey of the various explanations offered up by psychoanalytic film theorists concerning the puzzling … Horror Film and Psychoanalysis. But unless and until the necessary qualifications are proffered, they stand in evident conflict. Psychoanalysts have always held family life to be extremely important in the processes of socialization and maturation. “Review Article: Andrew Tudor, Monsters and Mad Scientists: A Cultural History of the Horror Movie.” Screen 31.2: 236-42. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory is a perfect lens through which to evaluate horror films and the effects of them. This volume seeks to find the proper … Williams, L. (1996). Psychoanalytic theory has been the subject of attacks from philosophers, cultural critics and scientists who have questioned the cogency of its reasoning as well as the soundness of its premises. Toward A Psychoanalytic Postmodern Horror Theory. Schneider, S. Carroll, N. (1996a). Toward a Psychoanalytic Theory of Postmodern Horror Han-yu Huang Tamkang University Abstract This essay looks at “horror” both as a narrative (literary and especially cinematic) genre and as a trans-genre, postmodern social and cultural milieu, one in which horror has become entangled with excessive, pathological fantasy and enjoyment. Steven Jay Schneider has published widely on the horror film and related genres in journals such as Scope, Other Voices, Kinoeye and Senses of Cinema. Click here to make a donation. (Memento vom 28. Hills, M. (forthcoming). Beginning in the early 1980s feminist film theory began to look at film through a more intersectional lens. Princeton, Princeton University Press. “Prospects for Film Theory: A Personal Assessment.” Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies. (ed.). Bordwell, D. and N. Carroll (eds.). According to Carroll, methodologically robust pluralism only occurs when competing theories are held up against one another for the purpose of weeding out the weak ones. Such a heterogeneity of conceptual and methodological backgrounds strongly suggests that what we have here is more than just a genre-specific case of cognitivist/historicist “Post-Theory” doing its thing. Psychoanalysis is the central issue for many contributors, with essays exploring not only its place in relation to the Gothic Imagination at the heart of horror but also its consequent role in both forming and analysing the horror film. The first, beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s, focused on a formal critique of cinema’s dissemination of ideology, and especially on the role of the cinematic apparatus in this process. (1993). Oxford, Oxford University Press: 701-715. And despite the often vitriolic criticisms of psychoanalysis coming from both inside and outside the all-too-thin walls of academic film studies, the horror genre has continued to see a steady stream of new psychoanalytic approaches, as well as new variations on existing ones. “Doing Things with Theory: From Freud’s Worst Nightmare to (Disciplinary) Dreams of Horror’s Cultural Value.” Freud’s Worst Nightmares: Psychoanalysis and the Horror Film. Namely, attacking what its advocates hold to be the “ethereal speculations” of a “Grand” psychoanalytic film theory which supposedly sees itself as “an indispensible frame of reference for understanding all filmic phenomena” (Bordwell and Carroll 1996: xiii). (1995). Over the past thirty years, a plethora of publications have argued in favor of a specific psychoanalytic approach to some dimension or convention of cinematic horror. The human mind is a cipher that not even the historic psychoanalytical theory has been able to decode. The main figures of this first wave were Christian Metz, Jean-Louis Baudry, and Laura Mulvey. New York, Cambridge University Press: 321-35. Freud's Worst Nightmares - Psychoanalysis and the Horror Film, Criminals Against Decoration: Modernism as a Heist, Claustrophobia and Intimacy in Alex Ross Perry’s, Thresholds of Work and Non-Work in Tulapop Saenjaroen’s, Take the A Train and Don’t Look Back: The 30th Sundance Film Festival and the 19, The 34th Cinema Ritrovato Has Full Resuscitation under COVID, Women at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, A Vitalising Cinema in an Agitated Age: The 58th New York Film Festival, Your Daughters Come Back to You: The 28th Pan African Film and Arts Festival, “All the Thrills of the Exotic”: Collective Memory and Cultural Performance in Chris Marker’s, Stairways to Paradise: Youssef Chahine and, Waiting for Rain: Oppression and Resistance in Youssef Chahine’s, The Conscious Collusion of the Stare: The Viewer Implicated in Fassbinder’s, A Fun Night Out: Horror and Other Pleasures of the Cinema. “Screen Theory.” Approaches to popular film. The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film. Schneider, S. Included among these critics are analytic philosophers, film aestheticians, sociologists and cultural theorists, cognitive and feminist film theorists, and empirical psychologists. This volume seeks to find the proper place of psychoanalytic thought in critical discussion of cinema … Rather, they are debates taking place within psychoanalytic film theory in general. London, B.T. Clover, C. (1992). This acting out takes place either through the figure of the “monstrous-feminine” (Creed), or else through the female character’s sympathetic “look” at the monster- “a potentially subversive recognition of the power and potency of a nonphallic sexuality” (Williams 1983/1996: 24). The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis. All the while the horror film, … Oxford, Oxford University Press: 833-44. Film theory attempts to evaluate motion pictures and their overall impacts on audiences. After all, how many scholars would actually be willing to expend the time and energy needed to defend psychoanalytic theory as applied to the horror film without having a pet application of their own that they believe is well worth defending? Madison, University of Wisconsin Press: xiii-xvii. Levine, M. (forthcoming). London, Creation Books: 110-133. Nevertheless, when used to shed light on horror cinema, psychoanalysis in its various forms has proven to be a fruitful and provocative interpretative tool. Sigmund Freud's model of normal human consciousness connects to horror cinema through his vision of abnormality: the origin and effects of the monstrous, the disgusting, the … Poststructuralism looked beyond the constraints of the text and put into question the notions outside the text, notably those of subjectivity and culture. London, BFI. This chapter points out that horror films seem to be built on a set of recurring themes: parents and children, sex and blood, secrets from the past, loss, repetition, trauma, death. (1997). These two theories put forth the development in the film theories like feminist film theory. In fact, the feminist-inflected psychoanalytic theories of horror proposed by Williams (1983/1996), Clover (1987; 1992), and Creed (1986; 1993) can all be understood as revisions, rather than outright rejections, of the original Mulveyan paradigm. Miller, T. and R. Stam (eds.). Such a claim can be considered “post-structural” in that it ultimately locates meaning not within individual films or the work of particular writers or directors, but in the signifying codes of horror cinema itself. But the truth remains that a number of objections levied in recent years by critics positioning themselves well outside the circle of Freud and his followers constitute a far more serious threat to the psychoanalytically-inclined horror film theorist than any and all such internal variety and difference. Learn more. One need only consider the objections of neo-Lacanians such as Joan Copjec (1995) and Slavoj Zizek (2001) to earlier claims concerning apparatus theory and the suture effect; Constance Penley’s (1989) critique of screen theory (5); Linda Williams on the problematic (because ambiguous) “terms of perversion used to describe the normal pleasures of film viewing” (1984/1999: 706); and the heated mid-’80s debate in Cinema Journal concerning Stella Dallas and the Mulvey-Metz model of female spectatorship. Third, psychoanalytic film theory is a notoriously opaque discourse and often assumes a large amount of prior knowledge on the part of the vexed and taxed reader. “Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess” (1984). The First wave occurred in the 1960s and 70s. Horror. Not essays which simply (or not so simply, as the case may be) make creative use of one or more Freudian, Rankian, Jungian, Kleinian, Jonesian, or Lacanian principles in an effort to shed light on an aspect of the horror film. Put another way, analyzing the film with psychoanalytic theory rationalizes the girls’ actions, which strengths Pauline and Juliet’s three-dimensional characterization. However, the 1970s and 1980s saw the development of theory that took concepts developed by the French psychoanalyst and writer Jacques Lacan and applied them to the experience of watching a film. Creed, B. The character of Norman Bates became a revolutionary breakthrough in cinema and entertainment as Freud’s psychoanalytic theory gained prominence in a major motion picture. Eschewing the bogus idea of “pure” meta-theoretical inquiry conducted by people with no first-order attachment to their arguments and conclusions, Freud’s Worst Nightmares responds to the need for critical dialogue amongst psychoanalytic horror film scholars and those of other theoretical and disciplinary stripes. To share a full-text version of this first wave psychoanalytic theory horror films Christian Metz, Jean-Louis Baudry, and Laura Mulvey is. Unless and until the necessary qualifications are proffered, they are debates taking place within psychoanalytic film Festivals ( vom... Otherwise ( at least potentially ) sympathetic psychoanalytic theorists in my own words und Kino family life to be important! And their overall impacts on audiences internal debate amongst otherwise ( at potentially... 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