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Related: David Cronenberg - pod - biology - body horror - horror - the new flesh
DefinitionThe Thing can clearly be categorized as part of a movement in genre film that dealt with biological horror. David Cronenberg was the ringleader of the biohorror school, which may have been seeded by that unforgettable shot in The Exorcist when little Regan's head spins all the way around. Ridley Scott's Alien and Cronenberg's Videodrome and Scanners remain essential, unsettling visions of anxiety over the physical nature of our bodies, and of the possibility that our essential natures may be changed by alien entities, by pollutants and disease, or even by TV programming. The Thing can be read as a parable of the self-destructive "witch-hunt" mentality, or of the ravages that an insidious killer like AIDS (just blossoming as The Thing was being shot) can wreak on the survivors, as well as those infected. The phantasmal imagery is stimulating enough on its own terms that it may have its own subtle resonance within each individual viewer. -- Bryant, http://www.deep-focus.com/flicker/thing.html
BioHorror: The Spawning of a New Genre
What do Frankenstein (originally published in 1818, and frequently—and freely—adapted ever since) and Jurassic Park (1996) have in common? In both, scientists defied social norms in order to create new life from old forms employing the latest biological techniques. And in both, we watched the terrifying consequences unfold when their biological innovations went “bad.” The dark and dangerous aspects of manipulating nature with biology are classic themes in horror. Why, I have wondered, is biology so prevalent in these dark and foreboding tales? -- Emily E. Pullins,2001, http://www.monsterzine.com/200104/feature.html [Jul 2004]
The Biology of Horror (2002) Jack Morgan
The Biology of Horror: Gothic Literature and Film (2002) Jack Morgan [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Amazon.com's Statistically Improbable Phrases, or "SIPs", show you the interesting, distinctive, or unlikely phrases that occur in the text of books in Search Inside the Book. Our computers scan the text of all books in the Search Inside program. If they find a phrase that occurs a large number of times in a particular book relative to how many times it occurs across all Search Inside books, that phrase a SIP in that book. --email@example.com
SIPs for ISBN: 0809324717:
horror invention, macabre literature, contagion horror, literary horror, literary gothicism, horror mode, horror aesthetic, horror literature, horror imagination
Unearthing the fearful flesh and sinful skins at the heart of gothic horror, Jack Morgan rends the genre’s biological core from its oft-discussed psychological elements and argues for a more transhistorical conception of the gothic, one negatively related to comedy. The Biology of Horror: Gothic Literature and Film dissects popular examples from the gothic literary and cinematic canon, exposing the inverted comic paradigm within each text.
Morgan’s study begins with an extensive treatment of comedy as theoretically conceived by Suzanne Langer, C. L. Barber, and Mikhail Bakhtin. Then, Morgan analyzes the physical and mythological nature of horror in inverted comic terms, identifying a biologically grounded mythos of horror. Motifs such as sinister loci, languishment, masquerade, and subversion of sensual perception are contextualized here as embedded in an organic reality, resonating with biological motives and consequences. Morgan also devotes a chapter to the migration of the gothic tradition into American horror, emphasizing the body as horror’s essential place in American gothic.
The bulk of Morgan’s study is applied to popular gothic literature and films ranging from high gothic classics like Matthew Lewis’s The Monk, Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho, Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, to later literary works such as Poe’s macabre tales, Melville’s "Benito Cereno," J.S Le Fanu’s Uncle Silas, H.P. Lovecraft’s "The Shadow over Innsmouth," Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hillhouse, Stephen King’s Salem's Lot, and Clive Barker’s The Damnation Game. Considered films include Nosferatu, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Night of the Living Dead, Angel Heart, The Stand, and The Shining.
Morgan concludes his physical examination of the Gothic reality with a consideration born of Julia Kristeva’s theoretical rubric which addresses horror’s existential and cultural significance, its lasting fascination, and its uncanny positive-and often therapeutic-direction in literature and film. --via Amazon.com
see also: gothic - horror - biology - film - literature - Julia Kristeva
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