Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-mhl4m Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-22T23:56:30.162Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

15 - ‘Part of my soul did die when making this film’: Gothic Corporeality, Extreme Cinema and Hardcore Horror in the Twenty-First Century

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2020

Richard J. Hand
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
McRoy Jay
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Get access

Summary

Gothic texts are, overtly but ambiguously, not rational, depicting disturbances of sanity and security … displays of uncontrolled passion, violent emotion or flights of fancy to portrayals of perversion and obsession … Gothic texts are not good in moral, aesthetic or social terms. Their concern is with vice: protagonists are selfish or evil … their effects, aesthetically and socially, are also replete with a range of negative features: not beautiful, they display no harmony or proportion … gothic texts register revulsion, abhorrence, fear, disgust and terror. (Botting 2014: 2)

Introduction

In his work on historical iterations of Gothic horror cinema, Xavier Aldana Reyes argues the following:

Gothic horror is interstitial … 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’. (2013: 388)

These latter three elements point to the affective resonance of Gothic horror and explicit associations with the corporeal (chiming with the epigraph opening the present chapter). Focusing on relatively recent developments in the horror genre, key films within the millennial cycle of ‘torture porn’ (namely Saw (James Wan, 2004) and Hostel (Eli Roth, 2005)) are explicitly framed by Aldana Reyes in terms of the Gothic.

These films also act as extensions of earlier films, marking a ‘Gothic turn to corporeality’. The distinctive characteristics of torture porn are described as extending certain Gothic sensibilities:

The Gothic settings, trappings, mood and tone, together with the villainous quality of the horror that followed these two films, need to be acknowledged as distinctly and eminently Gothic. Films such as A Serbian Film (Spasojevic, 2010) or The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence (Six, 2011) have once again pushed the boundaries of decorum, instituting the Gothic as the thoroughly excessive genre it is often understood to be. (2014: 398)

It is these latter concerns of excess that will be explicated in the present chapter, specifically how hardcore horror as a Gothic manifestation pushes these boundaries of decorum even further.

Type
Chapter
Information
Gothic Film
An Edinburgh Companion
, pp. 218 - 232
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×