Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995 - Literary Criticism - 199 pages

This fascinating study relates horror film to recent interpretations of the body and the self, drawing from feminist film theory, psychoanalytic theory, cultural criticism and gender studies. Applying the term horror broadly, this work includes discussions of black comedy, thrillers, science fiction, and slasher films. Central to this book is the view of horror as a modern iconography and discourse of the body. Badley's thought-provoking analysis of films by directors Tim Burton, Tobe Hooper, George Romero, Ridley Scott, Brian De Palma, David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Jonathan Demme, and Clive Barker, will be of interest to both scholars and students.

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Body Fantastic
5
Spectral Effects Postmodern Ghosts
39
Frankensteins Progeny
65
Deconstructions of the Gaze
101
David Cronenbergs Anatomy Lessons
125
Looking for the Mother in The Silence of the Lambs
137
Afterword
151
Notes
159
Bibliography
171
Filmography
187
Index
193
Copyright

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Page 164 - The ancient teachers of this science," said he, "promised impossibilities and performed nothing. The modern masters promise very little; they know that metals cannot be transmuted and that the elixir of life is a chimera but these philosophers, whose hands seem only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pore over the microscope or crucible, have indeed performed miracles. They penetrate into the recesses of nature and show how she works in her hiding-places.
Page 66 - His limbs were in proportion and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!— Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.
Page 30 - Man has, as it were, become a kind of prosthetic God. When he puts on all his auxiliary organs he is truly magnificent; but those organs have not grown on to him and they still give him much trouble at times.
Page 90 - Late twentieth-century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous the difference between natural and artificial, mind and body, self-developing and externally designed, and many other distinctions that used to apply to organisms and machines.
Page 102 - Sadism demands a story, depends on making something happen, forcing a change in another person, a battle of will and strength, victory/defeat, all occurring in a linear time with a beginning and an end.
Page 90 - High-tech culture challenges these dualisms in intriguing ways. It is not clear who makes and who is made in the relation between human and machine.
Page 69 - Or it is marked by the fact that the subject identifies himself with someone else, so that he is in doubt as to which his self is, or substitutes the extraneous self for his own.
Page 90 - ... the homework economy in the integrated circuit), we find ourselves to be cyborgs, hybrids, mosaics, chimeras. Biological organisms have become biotic systems, communications devices like others. There is no fundamental, ontological separation in our formal knowledge of machine and organism, of technical and organic.
Page 65 - The event on which this fiction is founded has been supposed, by Dr Darwin, and some of the physiological writers of Germany, as not of impossible occurrence.
Page 30 - No more hysteria, no more projective paranoia, properly speaking, but this state of terror proper to the schizophrenic: too great a proximity of everything, the unclean promiscuity of everything which touches, invests and penetrates without resistance, with no halo of private protection, not even his own body, to protect him anymore.

References to this book

About the author (1995)

LINDA BADLEY is Professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University. She has published articles on fantasy, film, and gender. She is currently working on a book on the horror fiction of Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Anne Rice.

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