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Hellraiser - Om Clive Barkers film
Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Lunds universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9151-9227
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this dissertation I will discuss horror film as a genre and study how Hellraiser relates to its themes and problems. First I describe the production of the film and after that I present Clive Barker - his background, authorship, film-making and artwork. Next I study the problems of the genre and the different ways in which this genre is defined. I look at narrative characteristics as well as, for instance, how a film belonging to the genre is launched and how it is received by critics and the audience. Furthermore, I describe the response this film has had from reviewers and fans and how it is perceived in academic texts. The principal part of the dissertation follows: a comprehensive close reading of the film in which I delve into the film 21 times to describe and interpret scenes. I conduct readings based on the film’s substance and form and juxtapose minor details with major developments. The themes I focus on in particular concern the film’s relation to the body, gender, sexuality, family, the house, and religion. I introduce a discussion about the genre, e.g. about British versus American horror films, the conditions in which a film production takes place, the status of the genre, censorship and some thoughts about the significance of excess to the film. I have used the narrative structure and plot of Hellraiser as a starting point for the dissertation and I have let the film guide my choice of themes as much as possible. The method of my choice is founded on making the segmentation on the basis of the colloquial understanding that narratives are constituted of momentary parts. With these sequential analyses as my starting point I allow myself to deviate and delve into larger thematic areas that are collected in my summarising discussion of the dissertation. In the third part of the dissertation I thoroughly study how the Cenobites were conceived and designed and how they look and act. Furthermore, I study how they relate to archetypal monsters, such as Frankenstein’s Monster and Dracula, in order to look at how Barker is playing with these monstrous characters. I also discuss the Cenobites’ peculiar power of attraction at the same time as I stress that it is not necessarily self-evident to regard the Cenobites as the monsters of the film. In the final part of the dissertation I look at the film’s approach to body, pain and suffering and how the boundaries occasionally are erased and pain becomes pleasure. I refer to, among other things, to how the Cenobites’ appearances have similarities with the aesthetic expressions of the punk movement. Physical violence against the body, in the form of body piercings and tattoos, symbolises resistance against good taste. This form of alienation can also be seen as a characteristic of horror film as a genre and it seems as if the Cenobites only reach the satisfaction they crave through opening bodies and delve underneath the skin.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Ellerströms förlag , 2005. , p. 255
Keywords [sv]
Horror, genre, body, monstrous, aesthetics, Cenobites, sexuality, family, house, religion, 80´s horror films
National Category
Studies on Film
Research subject
Humanities, Film Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-8406ISBN: 91-7247-105-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-8406DiVA, id: diva2:351616
Public defence
2005-04-23, Edens hörsal, Lund, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-09-16 Created: 2010-09-15 Last updated: 2015-05-26Bibliographically approved

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Arnman, Anna

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