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The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis (Popular Fictions Series)

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With close reference to a number of classic horror films including the Alien trilogy, The Exorcist and Psycho, Creed analyses the seven `faces’ of the monstrous-feminine: archaic mother, monstrous womb, vampire, witch, possessed body, monstrous mother and castrator. She has curated several projects exploring the intersections of folklore and place, including mass diary-writing project The Secret Diary of Bloomsbury, immersive 1940s Red Riding Hood retelling Big Teeth, and the Freud Museum London’s uncanny restaging of E. Creed's work using the psychoanalysis framework validates its usefulness in the feminist film theory field. Creed uses the expression "monstrous feminine" because it accentuates the significance of gender in relation to the construction of monstrosity. Creed reflects back to the Renaissance where the uterus is depicted in connotation with evil and the devil.

Barbara Creed’s The Monstrous-Feminine is one of the most influential books to emerge in the early 90s. I was introduced to Barbara Creed in my course at my university and I was totally mind-blown by her ideas. Creed challenges this view with a feminist psychoanalytic critique, discussing films such as Alien, I Spit on Your Grave and Psycho.

In her profoundly original analysis of horror films, Creed upended a concept emanating from psychoanalysis, traditionally perceived as scaffolding supporting patriarchy, to demonstrate how women could be seen as the agents of abjection rather than as its passive victims. Creed defines this "crisis TV", wherein news reporters focus on disasters to provoke anxiety and immediacy, and bring the abject into reality.

The critique of Freudian theory comprises a total re-conceptualization of the status of the feminine within psychoanalytic debate. She performs close textual analysis of key horror films including Carrie, The Exorcist, Psycho and Alien.

Mis]conceptions of female sexuality are inherent within the horror genre, as a common motif is that virtuous or "pure" women survive to the end of the film, and women who exhibit sexual behaviour commonly die early into the narrative. Creed’s argument contests Freudian and Lacanian theories of sexual difference to offer a provocative rereading of classical and contemporary horror. Publication dates are subject to change (although this is an extremely uncommon occurrence overall). The Monstrous-Feminine as Avenging Zombie: The Girl With All The Gifts (2016), The Dark (2018), Atlantics (2019).

Throughout this piece, she makes connections to the notion of the ‘primal uncanny’, which suggests that men as monsters. She explains that concepts of the monstrous feminine within horror arose from male concerns regarding female sexual difference and castration. The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. In this, "lack" signifies the female, wherein male monsters are identified as abject, lacking; ultimately feminine.This book is sometimes hard to read, and the concepts of psychoanlaysis that she draws on are often dubious. The term vagina dentata was coined by Sigmund Freud and follows the myth that female genitalia are monster-like, having teeth. Creed examples that in examples where the monster is clearly defined as male, its status as male identifies it with a lack, and hence defines it as feminized. According to Kristeva, abjection is the failure to distinguish what constitutes as "self", and what is "other". Thirty years after the publication of Barbara Creed’s classic text, which revolutionised approaches to the analysis of women in horror films, the monstrous- feminine looms large.

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