Discussion Board Responses – This assignment you to engage the work of your classmates by responding to the discussion question posed by the discussion leader. These responses should engage the reading, media playlist, and screening with the aim of further developing the discussion leader’s work.
o A approx. 250-word responses to the discussion leader’s question
o A refined version of the discussion leader’s questions (i.e. How can this question be more complex? Specific? Engaged with concepts from previous weeks? Oriented toward the past/future?)
o An annotated bibliography with 3 scholarly sources that would help develop the leader’s key concept
Movie: The Others(Amenábar, 2001)
1. Freud “The Uncanny” in A monster Theory Reader.
2. England. “Breached Bodies and Home Invasions: Horrific representations of the feminized body and home”
Reading Freud and England together and watching Amenabar’s The Others helps not only explain how domestic spaces can become a site of horror but also how the female body becomes an allegory for the breaching of borders (e.g. the private sphere of the womb and the public figure of the mother), an unfamiliar familiarity that promotes the uncanny. Framing the concept of domestic space in horror films through Freud’s psychoanalytic lens of the uncanny and England’s exploration of the feminized body at home situates the domestic female as a site of familiar horror, an uncanny figure that excites fear in private spaces. In typical Freud fashion, he conceptualizes the idea of the uncanny through the example of female genitalia: a mother’s womb is our first home, yet it is also a site of fear because we are unfamiliar with its familiarity (Freud 77), having no memory of being inside it. Freud continues that the uncanny exists when the setting is one of material reality and contains silence, solitude and darkness (Freud 82-83), each being aspects of a mother’s womb as well as how Grace runs her household in The Others. England contributes further to Freud’s discourse on uncanny fear being attributed to domestic spaces run by women by asserting that women’s bodies confuse boundaries because of their ability to give birth (England 2006). They are “monstrous” because of their ability to live as well as create life, they are simultaneously the self and the other (England 2006). A rather monstrous way to view the role of women in horror films! But still an interesting angle to consider and the clips I have chosen help further analyze the role women have in creating horror or battling it in their domestic households. Keep in mind how Grace is both a site of horror and a defender of her household in The Others!
This clip from Darren Aronofsky’s 2017 film Mother! shows how damage cannot be done unto a home without causing distress onto the woman, thus blurring the border between the mother and the domestic space. Jennifer Lawrence’s titular “Mother” character attempts to maintain order just as Grace does in The Others, much to the dismay of her unruly guests who villainize her for doing so.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcBlM3VLePM (Links to an external site.)
The trailer for Rob Cohen’s 2015 film The Boy Next Door perpetuates the ideology that there are consequences that occur when a mother ventures outside her domestic space. Although Claire (played by Jennifer Lopez) has an unfaithful husband, Claire’s affair is the one that is punished putting not only herself but also her family in danger. Her sexuality poses a threat to her home as it invites danger into it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_qN59GYZsc (Links to an external site.)
This promotional poster for Hausu depicts the domestic household as a monster ready to devour its guests with teeth jutting out of the door frame and an elongated tongue functioning as a welcome mat. This situates the domestic space as a trap for all who enter. Hausu features a largely female cast and the house where the horror begins is constantly credited to being haunted by a woman who possesses other women to carry out her hauntings. It is as though the image of the house on the poster is personified to reflect the “monstrous woman” who runs it, much to consider!
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076162/mediaviewer/rm3340879616/ (Links to an external site.)
Each of the three titles of the films in my media playlist pertains to either motherhood or the domestic household, situating both subjects as catalysts of horror. With women functioning as sites of horror (e.g. in The Others Grace is a ghost) what maintains them as sympathetic characters? Are they characters we sympathize with or solely fear? Why or why not? After all, the uncanny is not always frightening. For more information on Horror Film Discussion see this: https://www.wikihow.com/Survive-a-Horror-Movie
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