Conference registration is now open!

Registration for the Gothic Feminism conference Women-in-Peril or Final Girls? Representing Women in Gothic and Horror Cinema is now open and will close on Friday 12th May 2017.

To register, please visit the University of Kent’s Online Store here or via: http://store.kent.ac.uk/product-catalogue/faculty-of-humanities/school-of-arts/arts-events/gothic-feminism-conference-2017

Registration Fees

The conference fees are:

£45 (waged)

£25 (unwaged)

The conference fee includes a delegate pack, lunch and refreshments for the three days.

Registration Deadline

Registration with close on  Friday 12th May 2017.

Further Information

The conference programme can be viewed here. Advice on travelling to Kent can be found here. Please direct any queries to: gothicfeminism2016@gmail.com

These details are also available to view on Registration page.

We look forward to welcoming you to Kent!

Blog background

Conference programme: Women-in-Peril or Final Girls? Representing Women in Gothic and Horror Cinema

We are thrilled to announce the programme of this year’s Gothic Feminism conference. A huge thanks for everyone who submitted an abstract and for all those speakers who have agreed to participate.

The programme is also available to view here.

Gothic Feminism presents:

Women-in-Peril or Final Girls? Representing Women in Gothic and Horror Cinema

24th – 26th May 2017

University of Kent

PROGRAMME

Wednesday 24th May

09:00 – 09:30              Registration

09:30 – 9:45                Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:45 – 11:00                Keynote Speech – Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes (Manchester Metropolitan University):

What Final Girls Did Next: Horror Heroines in the Age of Postfeminism’

11:00 – 11:30              Tea & coffee break

11:30 – 13:00              Papers 1: The Gothic and Horror of Crimson Peak

‘Taking the Final Girl Backwards: Femininity and Abjection in Del Toro’s Crimson Peak’ – Marine Galiné (University of Reims-Champagne-Ardenne)

‘Don’t Call it a Horror Film: The Uses of the Gothic in Crimson Peak’ – Matt Denny (University of Warwick)

‘The Presence of Absence: The Supernatural Gothic of Crimson Peak’ – Frances A. Kamm (University of Kent)

13:00 – 14:00              Lunch

14:00 – 16:00              Papers 2: Split Identities

‘“Sins? What Sins? I am a Scientist I Cannot Sin”: Exploring Thematic Dichotomies in the Filmic Representation of Mary Shelley’ – Linda McCarthy (University of East Anglia) and Richard Sheppard (University of Wales)

‘Silver Spangles in Her Eyes: The Gypsy Outlaw and Female Fantasy in the Gainsborough Gothics’ – Carolyn King (Independent Scholar)

‘“The Human Component in a Turing Test” Monstrous Final Girl-in-Peril: Creating Gothic Horror Through Setting and Character in Ex Machina” – Rebecca Jones (De Montford University)

‘Dead Girls on Film: Murder, Media and Nostalgia’ – Katherine Farrimond (University of Sussex)

16:00 – 16:30              Tea & coffee break

16:30 – 18:00              Papers 3: Age

‘A “Child-Friendly” Horror Aesthetic: Coraline as Female Gothic and Slasher Film’ – Catherine Lester (University of Warwick)

‘Matron or Nanny: Representations of Older Women in Modern British Gothic Horror Films’ – Natasha Parcei (Leeds Beckett University)

‘That Cold Day in the Park: A Countercultural Gothic’ – James Kloda (Freeland Writer and Journalist)

18:00 – 19:00              Cake and wine reception

 

Thursday 25th May

09:30 – 11:00              Papers 4: Bewitching the Body

‘The Terrifying and the Teenage: How Possession Films Reflect the Societal Fear of Young Women’s Sexuality and Agency’ – Hannah Granberry (University of Colorado Boulder)

‘“Wouldst Thou Like to Live Deliciously?”: Gothic Feminism and the Final Girl in The Witch’ – Victoria Madden (University of Edinburgh)

‘Witches, “Bitches” or Feminist Trailblazers? Tracing Interpretation of the Witch from Piers Haggard’s Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971) to Robert Egger’s The Witch (2016)’ – Chloé Germaine Buckley (Manchester Metropolitan University)

11:00 – 11:30              Tea & coffee break

11:30 – 13:00              Papers 5: Transgressive Women

‘The “Penultimate Girl” as Gothic Woman-in-Peril and Modernist Final Girl in Vincenzo Natali’s Haunter (2013) – Lee Broughton (Independent Scholar)

‘“Unsettling the Men”: The Representation of Transgressive Female Desire in Daughter of Darkness (1948)’ – Paul Mazey (University of Bristol)

‘Bewitched, Bedazzled and Bewildered: The Rituals of Witchcraft in The Neon Demon’ – Jennifer Richards (Manchester Metropolitan University)

13:00 – 14:00              Lunch

14:00 – 16:00              Papers 6: International Gothic and Horror

‘From Gothic Ballet to Horror at the Opera: The Endangered Female in Dario Argento’s Suspiria and Opera’ – Maria Giakaniki (Independent Scholar)

Miss Christina: From Mircea Eliade’s Novella to the Romanian Gothic Big-Budget Production’ – Oana-Maria Mazilu (University of Kent)

‘La Fille Final: The Final Girl in Contemporary French Horror Cinema’ – Maddison McGillvray (York University, Canada)

‘“The Saviour Who Came to Tear My Life Apart”: Queer Subjectivity and Reparative Paranoia in Chan-wook Park’s The Handmaiden’ – Robyn Ollett (Teeside University)

16:00 – 16:30              Tea & coffee break

19:00                           Film Screening (TBC) Ticket not included in registration fee

 

Friday 26th May

09:30 – 11:00              Papers 7: Post-Gender

Martyrs: The Defacement of Gender in a Monstrous Female Melodrama’ – Katerina Flint-Nicol (University of Kent)

‘Virgins and Vampires: The Ambiguous Women of Jean Rollin’s Gothic Dreams’ – Virginie Guichard (Westminster School)

‘The Final Girl of 21st-Century EcoGothic Cinema’ – Dawn Keetley (Lehigh University)

11:00 – 11:30              Tea & coffee break

11:30 – 13:00              Papers 8: Gothic Horror on TV

‘Demonic Possession, Gothic Suspicion and the Homme Fatale in Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ – Louise Child (Cardiff University)

‘The Women of Penny Dreadful: Gothic, Horror, and the Melodramatic Imagination’ – Alison L. McKee (San José State University)

Jamaica Inn: Simplifying Gender, Simplifying Genre’ – Holly Hirst (Manchester Metropolitan University)

13:00 – 14:00              Lunch

14:00 – 15:30              Papers 9: Gothic and Horror in Unexpected Locations

‘Gone Girl: Gender, Sexuality, and Horror in Gone Home’ – Andra Ivanescu (Brunel University and Anglia Ruskin University)

‘Rambler, Mother, Killer: Alice Lowe’s subversion of the Gothic Heroine in Sightseers and Prevenge’ – Lawrence Jackson (University of Kent)

‘“Sarge! She’s as hard as a rock!” – “You don’t have to tell me that. I’ve been married to her for fifteen years!” or How the Role of the Gothic Woman is Represented in Carry on Screaming!’ – Steven Gerrard (Leeds Beckett University)

15:30 – 16:00              Final remarks and closing of conference

16:00 – 16:30              Tea & coffee

Gothic Feminism screening: La Belle et la bête

On Sunday, Frances provided the introduction for a special screening on Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la bête (1946) at the Curzon Cinema, Canterbury. The film is the first of a series of screenings we hope to to show as part of our wider Gothic Feminism project.

A summary of the introduction is below:

La Belle et la bête (Cocteau, 1946)

Disney will soon be releasing its new, live-action version of Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens which is based on the 1991 animation of same name. This year’s film is the latest in a series of live-action adaptations of previously successful Disney animations and early trailers for the film confirm the connection: the 2017 version is directly inspired by the narrative, imagery and motifs of its predecessor. But what was the inspiration for that original cartoon version of the story? There are many possible answers to this question but one of the most important involves Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la bête from 1946.

This introduction shall explore the enduring legacy of Cocteau’s film for cinema history, and outline the director’s motivations for adapting the tale and how the film has been interpreted within scholarship. I will also explore the origins of the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ myth and argue that Cocteau’s adaptation of the story highlights the fairy tale’s Gothic potential.

La belle et la bete

(Text by: Frances A. Kamm; Image: La Belle et la bête, 1946)

Keynote address: What Final Girls Did Next

We are thrilled to announce the title and abstract for our keynote address by Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes to be given at our Women-in-Peril or Final Girls? conference in May!

What Final Girls Did Next: Horror Heroines in the Age of Postfeminism

Horror cinema has consistently been both condemned and celebrated for its gender politics. For journalists and watchdogs, the Snuff (1976) controversy and the rise of rape revenge films was worrying because it problematically eroticised violence against women and combined horror with that other apparently objectifying genre, pornography. Similarly, the return of realistic horror in the early twenty-first century in films like Hostel II (2007) raised concerns about misogyny and the aestheticisation of the torture of women. At the same time film critics have emphasised the reflective and transgressive powers of horror. In the 1980s and 1990s, Linda Williams, Tania Modleski, Carol J. Clover, Barbara Creed and Rhona J. Berenstein showed how horror can capture and channel gender anxieties, and proposed that its identificatory complexities can make it progressive and empowering. More recently, Steven Jones has queried simplistic readings of so-called torture porn, and snuff has been recast as a subgenre more interested in the mediation of death in the age of digital truth than in sexual exploitation (Neil Jackson et al. 2016; Kerekes and Slater 2016).

This plenary seeks to engage with this history by identifying and contextualising the position of contemporary heroines in horror film at a time when feminism appears to be in crisis. I will begin by focusing on antifeminism, postfeminism and the perceived failures and limitations of third-wave feminism in order to establish a revisionist approach that may allow us to reinstate the importance of choice. I will then move on to explore the various paths that women have followed in post-millennial horror, and how these mirror the spectrum of film gender studies more generally. My areas of concern are representation (especially developments in the neo-slasher and the Gothic film), agency (feminist horror and horror directed by women), transnationalism (how horror is allowing for gender-specific enquiries of the role of women outside horror’s main centres of production) and reception (female horror viewers). To emphasise the currency of some of these points, I will centre on films that have been released in the last couple of years, especially A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2015), Crimson Peak (2015), Under the Shadow (2016) and The Witch (2016). My ‘final’ aim is not to homogenise horror into an unequivocal force for good, but rather to demonstrate that it continues to have the capacity to actively question the role and position of women in their respective societies through imaginative exercises which often involve resistance, resilience, assertiveness and the embrace of non-essentialist models of subjectivity.

Bio:

Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes is Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Film at Manchester Metropolitan University and a member of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies. He is the author of Spanish Gothic (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), Horror Film and Affect (Routledge, 2016) and Body Gothic (UWP, 2014), and the editor of Horror: A Literary History (British Library, 2016) and co-editor of Digital Horror (I.B. Tauris, 2015). Xavier is the chief editor of the University of Wales Press’s forthcoming Horror Studies series.

CFP deadline extension!

At the request of colleagues, please note the extended deadline for abstracts is 14th February 2017 (for a truly bloody Valentine’s…)

Gothic Feminism presents:

Women-in-Peril or Final Girls? Representing Women in Gothic and Horror Cinema

25th – 26th May 2017

University of Kent

Keynote speaker: Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes (Manchester Metropolitan University)

CALL FOR PAPERS

The representation of female protagonists has been a central tenant in both Gothic and Horror cinema. In the Hollywood Gothic films of the 1940s, the heroine is the primary focus as she navigates key tropes of the genre, including the exploration of the old dark house and the investigating of sinister marital secrets. These melodramas and noir films, as they have also been called, re-work the Bluebeard story and establish a ‘woman-in-peril’ character archetype which features in films such as Rebecca (1940), Gaslight (1944) and Secret Beyond the Door (1947) (Waldman, 1983; Doane, 1987; Tartar, 2004). These Gothic conventions have been revived and reworked recently in contemporary cinema with the release of Crimson Peak (2015).

Horror cinema has also been characterised by the portrayal of its female protagonists. The 1930s Universal horror films typically feature the endangered woman who is terrorised by the monster or villain. Indeed, as Rhona J. Berenstein notes, the image of a woman whose ‘mouth is open as if in midscream’ with ‘fear chiselled into her features’ is so familiar that one can argue it ‘succinctly signifies the American horror film’ (Berenstein, 1996, 1). Later permutations of the genre sustain this focus on gender representations, as with the transgressive qualities of ‘postmodern horror’ (Pinedo, 1997) or, more specifically, the ‘slasher’ film which focuses on the brutal murder of several victims at the hands of a serial killer, with particular attention paid to the killing and/or survival of female character(s). Black Christmas (1974), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Halloween (1978) exemplify these conventions and theorists have observed the centrality of the horror heroine within this genre: Carol Clover’s seminal work on the topic highlights the importance of the ‘female victim-hero’ and the complex gender representations inherent in this figure when she becomes the film’s sole survivor or ‘Final Girl’ (Clover, 1992).

When comparing these historic representations of female protagonists in Gothic and horror cinema, one can identify many similarities between the two genres or modes in respect to their portrayal of women. In the examples above, Gothic and horror both privilege the depiction of the woman’s experience within a narrative arc which exposes her to a danger emanating from an initially unknown or misunderstood threat. This risk – which is normally made against her life – comes from the villain or antagonist conventionally gendered as male. This correlation between Gothic and horror could be argued to stem from their shared heritage: it has been noted how the horror genre ‘has its roots in the English gothic novels of the 18th and 19th centuries’ (Penner and Schneider, 2012). This lineage is further evident by the way the terms ‘Gothic’ and ‘horror’ have been applied interchangeably as delineating categories. Horror has been labelled as Gothic: both David Pirie and Jonathan Rigby write of the ‘English Gothic Cinema’ which includes Hammer’s films, whilst Bernice M. Murphy studies US horror from the perspective of ‘Rural Gothic’ (Pirie, 2008; Murphy, 2013; Rigby, 2015). And Gothic has been called horror: Mark Jancovich points out how the 1940s Hollywood Gothics were also understood as horror films at their time of release (Jancovich, 2013). Both Gothic and horror have also attracted considerable attention concerning their depiction of women and whether such texts are ‘feminist’ (see, for example, Pinedo, 1997; Freeland, 2000).

Yet there are also significant differences between Gothic and horror. The two modes or genres can be distinguished by variations in how the central female protagonist is depicted. The Gothics of the 1940s focus on the representation of the heroine within the intimidating space of the ancestral mansion, but the 1970’s slasher horrors emphasise the ‘Terrible Place’ (Clover, 1992) where extreme violence is executed. Where the Gothic emphasises suspicion, suspense and mystery, the horror film showcases blood, torture and gore. Berenstein notes how the contrast between Gothic and horror is also present in ‘classic horror’ – pre-dating the slasher – where ‘[unlike] the Gothic novel, however, heroines are not confronted by the men closest to them … Instead, women are attacked or seduced by foreign male (and, sometimes, female) fiends’ (Berenstein, 1996, 12). Gothic and horror also differ in their presumed target audience. The Gothic – an integral part of melodrama and the ‘woman’s picture’ – has traditionally been analysed in terms of the Female Gothic and its appeal to female audiences (Waldman, 1983; Doane, 1987; Modleski, 2008). Conversely, the spectatorship for horror has been characterised as adolescent and male (Williams, 1984; Clover, 1992; Creed, 1993).

This conference seeks to re-engage with these discussions of gender within Gothic and horror cinema by directly comparing the two. What relationship does Gothic have to horror – or horror to the Gothic – in respect to female representation? What makes a Gothic heroine different from (or, indeed, similar to) female victims/protagonists in horror films? What can we say about the centrality given to female performance in both these genres/modes? Where does one draw the line between Gothic and horror in film? 2017 will mark 30 years since Mary Ann Doane published The Desire to Desire and 25 years since Carol Clover published Men, Women and Chainsaws. This conference will also reflect upon the impact of seminal works on Gothic, horror and gender such as these within film theory. What do these works tell us about the relationship between Gothic and horror in respect to female representation? How do theories of the ‘woman’s film’ and the ‘Final Girl’ relate to contemporary film theory and feminist criticism? Are these ideas still applicable to recent Gothic and horror films, and their heroines?

In addressing these questions this conference will underline the importance of female protagonists in Gothic and horror, within film history and contemporary cinema, and ask: are these characters women-in-peril or Final Girls, or both?

Topics can include but are not limited to:

– Comparisons between the genre conventions and tropes within Gothic and horror films and their representation of female protagonists

– Close textual analysis of a single film or series of films which blur the lines between Gothic and horror, or an analysis of film/s which reinforce the differences between the Gothic and horror traditions through the depiction of women characters

– The connection between the Gothic or horror heroine and other characters within the narrative, such as the love interest, male villain, other victims, etc.

– How the Gothic and horror heroine relate to archetypal roles, such as the victim, the mother or the monstrous-feminine

– Representations of space and how this impacts upon the portrayal of the Gothic or horror female characters

– Film theory and the distinction between Gothic and horror in cinema

– How Gothic and horror women characters engage with feminist discourse and theories of gender representation

– Female spectators of Gothic and horror and fandom

 

Please submit proposals of 500 words, along with a short biographical note (250 words) to gothicfeminism2016@gmail.com by 14th February 2017 (please note the extended deadline).

We welcome 20-minute conference papers as well as submissions for creative work or practice-as-research including, but not limited to, short films and video essays.

Conference organisers: Frances A. Kamm and Tamar Jeffers McDonald

https://gothicfeminism.com/

https://twitter.com/GothicFeminism

This conference is the second annual event from the Gothic Feminism project, within the Melodrama Research Group in the Centre of Film and Media Research at the University of Kent. Gothic Feminism explores the representation of the Gothic heroine on-screen in her various incarnations. 

References

Berenstein, Rhona J. (1996). Attack of the Leading Ladies: Gender, Sexuality and Spectatorship in Classic Horror Cinema. New York: Columbia University Press.

Clover, Carol J. (1992). Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Creed, Barbara. (1993). The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis. Oxon: Routledge.

Doane, Mary Ann. (1987). The Desire to Desire: The Woman’s Film of the 1940s. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Freeland, Cynthia A. (2000). The Naked and the Undead: Evil and the Appeal of Horror. Colorado: Westview Press.

Grant, Barry Keith. (2015). The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film. Second edition. Texas: University of Texas Press.

Jancovich, Mark. (2013). ‘Bluebeard’s Wives: Horror, Quality and the Paranoid Woman’s Film in the 1940s’, The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies 12: 20-43.

Modleski, Tania. (2008). Loving with a Vengeance: Mass-Produced Fantasies for Women. Second edition. Oxon: Routledge.

Murphy, Bernice M. (2013). The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture: Backwoods Horror and Terror in the Wilderness. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Penner, Jonathan and Steven Jay Schneider. (2012). Horror Cinema. Los Angeles and Cologne: Taschen.

Pinedo, Isabel Cristina. (1997). Recreational Terror: Women and the Pleasures of Horror Film Viewing. New York: State University of New York Press.

Pirie, David. (2008). A New Heritage of Horror: The English Gothic Cinema. London and New York: I. B. Tauris.

Rigby, Jonathan. (2015). English Gothic: Classic Horror Cinema 1897 – 2015. Cambridge: Signum Books.

Tartar, Maria. (2004). Secrets Beyond the Door: The Story of Bluebeard and His Wives. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Waldman, Diane. (1983). ‘”At last I can tell it to someone!” Feminine point of view and Subjectivity in the Gothic Romance Film of the 1940s’, Cinema Journal 23: 29-40.

Williams, Linda. (1984). ‘When the Woman Looks.’ In: Doane, Mary Ann, Patricia Mellencamp and Linda Williams (eds.). Re-vision: Essays in Feminist Film Criticism. Los Angeles: American Film Institute.

 

2017 Call For Papers!

Our NEW Call for Papers is for our next conference in 2017 where we will be looking at the distinction between women in Gothic and horror cinema…

Gothic Feminism presents:

Women-in-Peril or Final Girls? Representing Women in Gothic and Horror Cinema

25th – 26th May 2017

University of Kent

 

Keynote speaker: Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes (Manchester Metropolitan University)

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

 

The representation of female protagonists has been a central tenant in both Gothic and Horror cinema. In the Hollywood Gothic films of the 1940s, the heroine is the primary focus as she navigates key tropes of the genre, including the exploration of the old dark house and the investigating of sinister marital secrets. These melodramas and noir films, as they have also been called, re-work the Bluebeard story and establish a ‘woman-in-peril’ character archetype which features in films such as Rebecca (1940), Gaslight (1944) and Secret Beyond the Door (1947) (Waldman, 1983; Doane, 1987; Tartar, 2004). These Gothic conventions have been revived and reworked recently in contemporary cinema with the release of Crimson Peak (2015).

 

Horror cinema has also been characterised by the portrayal of its female protagonists. The 1930s Universal horror films typically feature the endangered woman who is terrorised by the monster or villain. Indeed, as Rhona J. Berenstein notes, the image of a woman whose ‘mouth is open as if in midscream’ with ‘fear chiselled into her features’ is so familiar that one can argue it ‘succinctly signifies the American horror film’ (Berenstein, 1996, 1). Later permutations of the genre sustain this focus on gender representations, as with the transgressive qualities of ‘postmodern horror’ (Pinedo, 1997) or, more specifically, the ‘slasher’ film which focuses on the brutal murder of several victims at the hands of a serial killer, with particular attention paid to the killing and/or survival of female character(s). Black Christmas (1974), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Halloween (1978) exemplify these conventions and theorists have observed the centrality of the horror heroine within this genre: Carol Clover’s seminal work on the topic highlights the importance of the ‘female victim-hero’ and the complex gender representations inherent in this figure when she becomes the film’s sole survivor or ‘Final Girl’ (Clover, 1992).

 

When comparing these historic representations of female protagonists in Gothic and horror cinema, one can identify many similarities between the two genres or modes in respect to their portrayal of women. In the examples above, Gothic and horror both privilege the depiction of the woman’s experience within a narrative arc which exposes her to a danger emanating from an initially unknown or misunderstood threat. This risk – which is normally made against her life – comes from the villain or antagonist conventionally gendered as male. This correlation between Gothic and horror could be argued to stem from their shared heritage: it has been noted how the horror genre ‘has its roots in the English gothic novels of the 18th and 19th centuries’ (Penner and Schneider, 2012). This lineage is further evident by the way the terms ‘Gothic’ and ‘horror’ have been applied interchangeably as delineating categories. Horror has been labelled as Gothic: both David Pirie and Jonathan Rigby write of the ‘English Gothic Cinema’ which includes Hammer’s films, whilst Bernice M. Murphy studies US horror from the perspective of ‘Rural Gothic’ (Pirie, 2008; Murphy, 2013; Rigby, 2015). And Gothic has been called horror: Mark Jancovich points out how the 1940s Hollywood Gothics were also understood as horror films at their time of release (Jancovich, 2013). Both Gothic and horror have also attracted considerable attention concerning their depiction of women and whether such texts are ‘feminist’ (see, for example, Pinedo, 1997; Freeland, 2000).

 

Yet there are also significant differences between Gothic and horror. The two modes or genres can be distinguished by variations in how the central female protagonist is depicted. The Gothics of the 1940s focus on the representation of the heroine within the intimidating space of the ancestral mansion, but the 1970’s slasher horrors emphasise the ‘Terrible Place’ (Clover, 1992) where extreme violence is executed. Where the Gothic emphasises suspicion, suspense and mystery, the horror film showcases blood, torture and gore. Berenstein notes how the contrast between Gothic and horror is also present in ‘classic horror’ – pre-dating the slasher – where ‘[unlike] the Gothic novel, however, heroines are not confronted by the men closest to them … Instead, women are attacked or seduced by foreign male (and, sometimes, female) fiends’ (Berenstein, 1996, 12). Gothic and horror also differ in their presumed target audience. The Gothic – an integral part of melodrama and the ‘woman’s picture’ – has traditionally been analysed in terms of the Female Gothic and its appeal to female audiences (Waldman, 1983; Doane, 1987; Modleski, 2008). Conversely, the spectatorship for horror has been characterised as adolescent and male (Williams, 1984; Clover, 1992; Creed, 1993).

 

This conference seeks to re-engage with these discussions of gender within Gothic and horror cinema by directly comparing the two. What relationship does Gothic have to horror – or horror to the Gothic – in respect to female representation? What makes a Gothic heroine different from (or, indeed, similar to) female victims/protagonists in horror films? What can we say about the centrality given to female performance in both these genres/modes? Where does one draw the line between Gothic and horror in film? 2017 will mark 30 years since Mary Ann Doane published The Desire to Desire and 25 years since Carol Clover published Men, Women and Chainsaws. This conference will also reflect upon the impact of seminal works on Gothic, horror and gender such as these within film theory. What do these works tell us about the relationship between Gothic and horror in respect to female representation? How do theories of the ‘woman’s film’ and the ‘Final Girl’ relate to contemporary film theory and feminist criticism? Are these ideas still applicable to recent Gothic and horror films, and their heroines?

 

In addressing these questions this conference will underline the importance of female protagonists in Gothic and horror, within film history and contemporary cinema, and ask: are these characters women-in-peril or Final Girls, or both?

 

Topics can include but are not limited to:

 

– Comparisons between the genre conventions and tropes within Gothic and horror films and their representation of female protagonists

 

– Close textual analysis of a single film or series of films which blur the lines between Gothic and horror, or an analysis of film/s which reinforce the differences between the Gothic and horror traditions through the depiction of women characters

 

– The connection between the Gothic or horror heroine and other characters within the narrative, such as the love interest, male villain, other victims, etc.

 

– How the Gothic and horror heroine relate to archetypal roles, such as the victim, the mother or the monstrous-feminine

 

– Representations of space and how this impacts upon the portrayal of the Gothic or horror female characters

 

– Film theory and the distinction between Gothic and horror in cinema

 

– How Gothic and horror women characters engage with feminist discourse and theories of gender representation

 

– Female spectators of Gothic and horror and fandom

 

Please submit proposals of 500 words, along with a short biographical note (250 words) to gothicfeminism2016@gmail.com by 1st February 2017.

 

 

Conference organisers: Frances A. Kamm and Tamar Jeffers McDonald

 

https://gothicfeminism.com/

https://twitter.com/GothicFeminism

 

This conference is the second annual event from the Gothic Feminism project, within the Melodrama Research Group in the Centre of Film and Media Research at the University of Kent. Gothic Feminism explores the representation of the Gothic heroine on-screen in her various incarnations. 

 

References

Berenstein, Rhona J. (1996). Attack of the Leading Ladies: Gender, Sexuality and Spectatorship in Classic Horror Cinema. New York: Columbia University Press.

Clover, Carol J. (1992). Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Creed, Barbara. (1993). The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis. Oxon: Routledge.

Doane, Mary Ann. (1987). The Desire to Desire: The Woman’s Film of the 1940s. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Freeland, Cynthia A. (2000). The Naked and the Undead: Evil and the Appeal of Horror. Colorado: Westview Press.

Grant, Barry Keith. (2015). The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film. Second edition. Texas: University of Texas Press.

Jancovich, Mark. (2013). ‘Bluebeard’s Wives: Horror, Quality and the Paranoid Woman’s Film in the 1940s’, The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies 12: 20-43.

Modleski, Tania. (2008). Loving with a Vengeance: Mass-Produced Fantasies for Women. Second edition. Oxon: Routledge.

Murphy, Bernice M. (2013). The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture: Backwoods Horror and Terror in the Wilderness. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Penner, Jonathan and Steven Jay Schneider. (2012). Horror Cinema. Los Angeles and Cologne: Taschen.

Pinedo, Isabel Cristina. (1997). Recreational Terror: Women and the Pleasures of Horror Film Viewing. New York: State University of New York Press.

Pirie, David. (2008). A New Heritage of Horror: The English Gothic Cinema. London and New York: I. B. Tauris.

Rigby, Jonathan. (2015). English Gothic: Classic Horror Cinema 1897 – 2015. Cambridge: Signum Books.

Tartar, Maria. (2004). Secrets Beyond the Door: The Story of Bluebeard and His Wives. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Waldman, Diane. (1983). ‘”At last I can tell it to someone!” Feminine point of view and Subjectivity in the Gothic Romance Film of the 1940s’, Cinema Journal 23: 29-40.

Williams, Linda. (1984). ‘When the Woman Looks.’ In: Doane, Mary Ann, Patricia Mellencamp and Linda Williams (eds.). Re-vision: Essays in Feminist Film Criticism. Los Angeles: American Film Institute.

 

Gothic conference on the radio

vlcsnap-2016-05-16-07h56m01s946

One of our speakers, Hannah Priest, did a special radio broadcast on Saturday 28th May 2016 inspired by the Gothic Feminism conference.

Hannah hosts a regular show as Hannah Kate called Hannah’s Bookshelf and in this episode she talked about Gothic literary heroines. As Hannah points out, many of our speakers mentioned Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940), which is of course based on Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name from 1938. Hannah looks beyond this seminal text to discuss some of her other, favourite Gothic heroines…

You can listen to Hannah’s broadcast here: https://www.mixcloud.com/Hannahs_Bookshelf/hannahs-bookshelf-gothic-heroines-special-280516/

Audio: Hannah Kate (@HannahKateish)