Maternal Horror: Melodrama and Motherhood

Arnold, S (2013) Maternal Horror: Melodrama and Motherhood. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire. ISBN 9781137014115

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Abstract / Summary

Maternal Horror Film: Melodrama and Motherhood, develops my resarch theme around Moterhood and Film by examining the roles of the mother and pregnant woman in horror films from the last fifty years. Focusing on US cinema but also extending beyond to consider East Asian representations, this book brings together theories of psychoanalysis, melodrama, gender and genre and the body in an accessible manner in order to read motherhood/pregnancy in the horror film. Via predominantly US case studies, the opening chapters establish a framework for understanding two dominant representations of motherhood: self-sacrificing and demonic. Building on this, the second half investigates how discourses of motherhood exist within East Asian horror texts using popular recent horror films to illustrate. Historical and contemporary case studies include Psycho (1960), Poltergeist (1985), Invasion (2007), Ringu (1998), Dark Water (2003), and Ju-On: The Grudge (2002). Ultimately, the book suggests that while such films might have some cultural and historical specificity, there is nonetheless a dialogue between genres, eras, and national cinemas and cultures which is only evident through close textual analysis. The book was developed out of my doctoral research and the external examiner, Professor Linda Ruth Williams, pushed for its publication in monograph form. The book was additionally reviewed by another key academic of motherhood and film- Distinguished Professor Lucy Fischer- who stated that "The book will make a vital contribution to both women's and film studies." Since its publication in May 2013, the book has been listed in university libraries internationally and has been listed in the Chronicle of Higher Education (

Item Type: Book
ISBN: 9781137014115
Depositing User: Sarah Arnold
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2013 14:20
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 16:03


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