Paul O’Flinn ‘Production and Reproduction: the case of Frankenstein’

An extract of Paul O’Flinn’s ‘Production and Reproduction: the case of Frankenstein’ is featured in The Horror Reader, edited by Ken Gelder.

Having only recently read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for the first time I’ve been interested in how this monstrous character has morphed from being a damaged, repulsive, complex revenge-killer into a green, not responsible for his actions, somewhat lovable mute throughout popular culture; even so much as we now collectively associate the monster as “Frankenstein” when that name really belongs to the Doctor. This metamorphosis occurs through a shifting of mediums (from novel to film) and through a change in contemporary social climates; Frankenstein becomes a site of re-production and a mimetic vessel for each new time period. To me, this reflects the continuous and self-generative/reflexive nature of the horror genre itself all manifested in one big monster metaphor.

Notes are after the jump…

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Roger Ebert quotes

Think of this in regards to exhibition curating, innovative implementations versus the standard museum faire:

The [horror] genre encourages visual experimentation. From ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ (1919) onward, horror has been a cue for unexpected camera angles, hallucinatory architecture and frankly artificial sets. As mainstream movies have grown steadily more un-imaginative and realistic in their visuals, horror has provided a lifeline back to the greater design of freedom of the silent era.

In the Chicago Sun Times talking about Last House on the Left (1972) and its marketing campaign:

I’ve got to admit that I did not expect much after its advertising campaign (“Keep repeating-It’s only a movie, it’s only a movie…”). But you know something weird? At one point I actually did find myself repeating that…A tough, bitter little sleeper of a movie that’s about four times as good as you’d expect…sheer and unexpected terror…a powerful narrative…the audience was rocked back on its psychic heels…It’s a find, one of those rare, unheralded movies. (from: ‘Shocking Representation’)