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The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  196 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In almost all critical writings on the horror film, woman is conceptualised only as victim. In The Monstrous-Feminine Barbara Creed challenges this patriarchal view by arguing that the prototype of all definitions of the monstrous is the female reproductive body.
With close reference to a number of classic horror films including the Alien trilogy, The Exorcist and Psycho, C
Paperback, 182 pages
Published November 15th 1993 by Routledge (first published September 9th 1993)
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I'll never watch horror films in quite the same way again! At times, not the easiest read,probably as this is my first foray into the realms of film theory,so I did have to do some reading around the topic to get a better grip on the subject matter, (I understood it's premise better having read up on Kristeva) but I'm sure this will prove to be an indespensible text for my dissertation. Now I'm noticing the monstrous-feminine everywhere!
Barbara Creed analyses the seven faces' of the monstrous-feminine: archaic mother, monstrous womb, vampire, witch, possessed body, monstrous mother and castrator. Her argument that man fears woman as castrator, rather than as castrated, questions not only Freudian theories of sexual difference but existing theories of spectatorship and fetishism, providing a provocative re-reading of classical and contemporary film and theoretical texts.

On Cindy Sherman photography
It's totally acceptable to judge this book by its cover.
I read this for a popular culture class in grad school, and as someone with limited knowledge of psychoanalysis, it was hard to get into. However, by the end of it, Creed presents an immensely liberating theory regarding the monstrous feminine, and made me completely rethink the way media portrays women. Since I finished it a few days ago, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Absolutely worth a read if you're interested in women in media.
This was a lot of fun to read. I rewatched all of the films as I was reading, and I really enjoyed it. If you don't feel like watching the films, the plots are all described, but I think you'd definitely miss something if you skipped watching the films. I flew through the theory chapters just as quickly as the ones about movies. For an academic work, the theories are decently simply explained, though I might read through all the theory chapters if you're new to Freud.

The only complaints that I m
Excellent if you are into cinema, psychoanalysis, feminism and horror. It is a must.It is extraordinary how Creed debates on Freud's theories, but with respect and objectivity. All the points she makes are insightful. Great analysis.
Sep 11, 2008 malic rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: feminist film theory enthusiasts / vagina dentata scholars / people who like my films
Shelves: film-theory
this is one of the most enjoyable feminist film theory books i've ever read. jumping off of freud and kristeva, it explores the fear of the monstrous-feminine not as the castrated subject-as freud argued, but as the subject that threatens to castrate. then it gives all sorts of examples of castrating female monsters, with images, from popular culture!

this books makes watching horror movies and reading psychoanalysis so much fun, especially when you think of castration metaphorically as the down
Jun 13, 2007 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: feminist film studies people
I read this book because I love monster movies, especially the campy ones where the monster is (invariably) female and on a killing rampage. This is a great book if you revel in movies like Cronenberg's "The Brood", or the "Aliens" Quadrilogy, or even more recent movies like "The Descent". It examines the issue of gender in horror films, something that seems completely obvious when you read the essays but was always just on the tip of your subconscious mind, waiting for the right articulation.
Oct 27, 2010 Ana marked it as to-read
I've read some of her essays in my horror film class and of course used for writing papers, but never read the whole book. Would love to get a hold of a copy to explore all those concepts again.
Great introduction to psychoanalytic approaches to women in horror films.
totally awesome so far.
real goooood
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