Saturday 23 July, 10:00am-5:00pm in the Community Room at Crouch End Picturehouse
Tutor: Mary Wild
The horror genre in film follows from the literary tradition established by Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley, eliciting fearful responses through suspense, gore, the macabre and the supernatural, consistently transfixing audiences via suspension of disbelief.
The status of female characters in horror cinema is often ambivalent, ranging from victims of violence to perpetrators of dread. In The Question of Lay Analysis (1926), Sigmund Freud claimed that “the sexual life of adult women is a dark continent for psychology.” Even at the end of his life, Freud maintained his long-standing preoccupation, asking: “What do women want?” The mystery of female desire has persisted with the advancement of psychoanalytic thought; a dimension of ‘the unknown’ frequently drives the depiction of women in dark tales. In this course, we will rely on psychoanalytic theory to investigate the feminine discursive position in horror cinema. It is sometimes claimed that the portrayal of women in horror films is misogynistic, but here the proposition is that the horror genre affords us an indispensable language for approaching the more complex elements of female subjectivity.
Content warning: graphic imagery will be presented, viewer discretion is advised. Advanced viewing is optional, brief film scenes will be shown in the session.
Peeping Tom (1960) dir. Michael Powell Rosemary’s Baby (1968) dir. Roman Polanski Demon Seed (1977) dir. Donald Cammell The Brood (1979) dir. David Cronenberg Misery (1990) dir. Rob Reiner Braindead (1992) dir. Peter Jackson Eat (2014) dir. Jimmy Weber Hounds of Love (2016) dir. Ben Young Climax (2018) dir. Gaspar Noé Midsommar (2019) dir. Ari Aster