Interstitial scares: transnational gothic-horror performance

Darren Kerr

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Non-English language gothic-horror films such as The Devil’s Backbone (2001), Dark Water (2002), A Tale of Two Sisters (2003), The Orphanage (2007), [Rec] (2007) and The Silent House (2010) have revived the appeal of the gothic-horror. These films owe their success to the transnational flow of the genre, which continues to evolve. The intersecting and interstitial nature of this relationship not only poses questions around re-appropriation, generic exchange and cultural production but also crucially returns us to more fundamental issues in gothic-horror cinema: its appeal and its reliance on the uncanny. Andrew Tudor’s seminal essay ‘Why Horror? The Peculiar Pleasure of a Popular Genre’ (1997) posits that American horror cinema’s appeal is often aligned to the return of the repressed, the uncanny and structural psychoanalysis. But in the moment where ‘other’ horror cinemas appear to succeed in delivering dread where its American counterparts fail, what has not been considered is the influence and effect that performance has, which tends to become universalized and homogenized in American horrors, leaving its bodies bloodied but its chills anaemic. In this article an evaluation of a gothic-horror inflected short film Alumbramiento (Chapero-Jackson, 2007) is used to illustrate the ways in which the genre retains a gothic sensibility in the transnational moment but constructs its uncanny qualities through various distancing effects evoked in performance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)156-166
    Number of pages10
    JournalTransnational Cinemas
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


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