Archive for April, 2013

Interiority/Exteriority and the Gothic

It’s generally taken as a given that within the traditions of Gothic novel and the horror film the site of terror shifted over time, from being one of exteriority to one of interiority.

In the Gothic novel the move is away from the disruptive force being located or associated with an alien/demonised religion or culture, such as the Catholicism of Southern Europe (The Monk), or the racial other (Vathek). Replacing this fear of the ‘other’ there is instead a focus on the instability of the self (Jekyll & Hyde), or a meditation on madness and anxiety about the collapse of the nation state (Dracula).

A similar parallel can be seen in the horror film. Horror moves from something located in a castle in Europe (Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster in their filmic incarnations) to something connected to madness (Psycho), day to day life (Halloween), the social (Dawn of the Dead), or the body itself (Shivers, The Brood etc).

In contrast, the move within the musical Gothic seems to have run in the other direction. Joy Division and Siouxsie and the Banshees, as progenitors of the genre (although not necessarily part of it), were concerned with the horror of the interiority and the lacerating qualities of the dominant social order. Their followers, on the other hand, proceeded to once again to link horror to a castle in Europe (Bela Lugosi’s dead) and the ‘Orient’ (Orient).


Suburban Relapse

She’s Lost Control


Bela Lugosi’s Dead