The Horror Film
‘Woman is not, by her very nature, an abject being. Her representation in popular discourses as monstrous is a function of the ideological project of the horror film – a project designed to perpetuate the belief that woman’s monstrous nature is inextricably bound up with her difference as man’s sexual other’ (Barbara Creed). Discuss with reference to Carrie.
This essay shall explore the representation of the woman as ‘other’ and ‘abject’ within the horror film, with particular reference to Brian de Palma’s Carrie (1976). It will investigate the extent to which woman as man’s sexual other is a function of the ideological project of the horror film. The essay shall analyse previous interpretations of the woman as other from critics such as Williams, Kristeva and Creed and use these interpretations to draw symbolic references that reflect Carrie as ‘abject’. The main forms of abjection are, Carrie as Witch/supernatural, the deformed female body (menstruation/reproduction) and the child-adult relationship (maternal figure as abject).
However, when applying these concepts of the woman as other to new critical frameworks of horror new problems arise. This fearful account of the other and the structuring of oppositions does not take into account the construction of social identities and the distribution of power within society that is much more complicated. In this sense psychoanalytical accounts of the woman as other, abject, seem to focus primarily on the body as a location of sexual difference, objectifying the subject at hand. This essay shall offer an alternative reading of Carrie, one that shall not focus on Carrie as man’s sexual other, rather her performance as the ‘transformative’ figure, resisting the place of the ‘abject’.
Carrie represents an emblem of the future female body, a female body that will go on to become the female hero, in future horror films such as slasher movies (Halloween, 1978)...