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All that Gothic

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Edited By Agnieszka Lowczanin and Dorota Wisniewska

This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the history, aesthetics and key themes of Gothic, the main issues and debates surrounding the genre along with the approaches and theories that have been applied to Gothic texts and films. The volume discusses a wide range of 18 th and 19 th century texts and moves into 20 th century literature and film. It explores the cultural resonances created by the genre and raises a variety of issues, including the ways in which Gothic monstrosity mimics same-sex desire and social transgression. The texts included in the volume argue that Gothic film and fiction animated the darker shadows of the dominant culture.
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As Gothic As It Gets? E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire – A Gothic Film on the Gothic Nature of Film

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As Gothic As It Gets? E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire – A Gothic Film on the Gothic Nature of Film

Elena Baeva

I. Introduction

Since its release in the year 2000, E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire has mainly been marketed as a “horror” film – that one word being for instance the only genre specification on the DVD box. Reviews and databases, however, have often resorted to supplementing terms such as “drama” or “satire” when trying to describe the film’s character, while some critics have called it downright “weird” (Atkinson 27). Admittedly, all these labels are appropriate. The supernatural evil in the form of a vampire, the blood, the murders and the suspense fulfil the requirements of the horror genre. The treatment of abysses of the human psyche is an important element in drama. The ironical comments on the film business qualify it as satire. And as for being “weird,” the combination of all previously named features in one single work of art certainly seems quite unusual. It is not. The blending of horror, drama and satire might be rare in today’s (mainstream) cinema, but in fact this phenomenon has existed for centuries: it is called “the Gothic.” Shadow of the Vampire, therefore, is not so much a strange horror film with dramatic and satirical elements as it is simply a Gothic film.

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