Gothic Horror Film, 1960—Present

Authored by: Xavier Aldana Reyes

The Gothic World

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415637442
eBook ISBN: 9780203490013
Adobe ISBN: 9781135053062


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Gothic horror is interstitial. On the one hand, it emphasizes the affective qualities of the horror genre. On the other, it uses recognizable Gothic settings and conveys disturbing moods that aim to create the unease or destabilization often ascribed to the reading experience of the Gothic novel. It is therefore important that Gothic horror is not confused with Gothic cinema. Tim Burton's oeuvre, for example, relies on a specific type of dark imagery that aligns itself more with fantasy and fairy tales (Page 2007: 7–8) than with horror. Similarly, the supernatural romance of a number of films that have derived from the paradigm-shifting Twilight (Hardwicke 2008) should be neatly separated from the more visceral forms of horror covered in this chapter. Gothic horror is hard to define precisely because it is neither a genre, in the strict sense in which horror is a genre, nor a distinct subgenre. Instead, Gothic horror's distinctiveness lies in its reliance on specific Gothic atmospheres, settings, music, tropes or figures, yet always with the intention of scaring, disturbing or “grossing out.”

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