By Frances Pheasant-Kelly

American cinema abounds with movies set in prisons, asylums, hospitals and different associations. instead of orderly locations of restoration and rehabilitation, those institutional settings turn out to be abject areas of regulate and repression within which grownup id is threatened as a story impetus. Exploring the abject via concerns as different as racism, psychological disease or the protection of our bodies for organ donation, this publication analyses a number motion pictures together with 'The Shawshank Redemption' (1994), 'Full steel Jacket' (1987) and 'Girl, Interrupted' (1999) via to cult motion pictures comparable to 'Carrie' (1976) and 'Bubba Ho-tep' (2002). by way of examining scenes of horror and disgust in the context of abject house, Frances Pheasant-Kelly unearths how threats to id occur in scenes of torture, horror and psychosexual repression and are resolved both even though demise or via irritating re-entry into the surface global. This readable and fascinating travel of the abject within the establishment movie could be immensely invaluable to scholars of movie stories, serious concept and Cultural Studies.

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Extra info for Abject Spaces in American Cinema: Institutional Settings, Identity and Psychoanalysis in Film

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Their normative heterosexual relationship appears to be unstable and difficult and pivots obsessively around Hargenson’s appearance (both cosmetic and sexual). Hargenson, in particular, is malevolent, and represents the threat of the castrating vagina dentata46 through the visual and narrative emphasis on her mouth. This is suggested in the car scene with Billy Nolan in which she is both seductive and aggressive. She repeatedly and unnecessarily applies her lipstick, and there are frequent close-up shots of her open mouth.

The other students recoil in disgust and then symbolically stone Carrie with sanitary products, shouting, ‘plug it up, plug it up’, while Carrie, appearing unaware of the process of menstruation, cries hysterically. Creed notes the stoning metaphor,24 which supports her view of Carrie as a monstrous witch. Furthermore, Carrie’s supernatural capability, signalled by the shattering of a light overhead, parallels the onset of her menstruation. The shattering of the light transforms the dream-like quality of the locker room into a harsh reality, with its disorderliness exacerbated by Carrie’s telekinetic display.

The headmaster, simultaneously viewing Miss Collins’s bloodstained shorts, shown in close-up, appears both shocked and disgusted. He sends Carrie home, telling her to take care of herself. The film therefore suggests the feminine body as offensive and out of place, since within the context of the school bodies are made to move predictably and with control. Any aberration of the physical or social body is seen as deviant and other. While spaces of order are associated with the school, and often men (the classroom and the headmaster’s office), spaces of disorder relate to femininity (the prom, the shower scene and the Whites’ house), best exemplified by the locker room scene.

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