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The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  298 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
In almost all critical writings on the horror film, woman is conceptualized only as victim. In The Monstrous-Feminine, Barbara Creed challenges the mythical patriarchal view that woman terrifies because she is castrated, by arguing that woman primarily terrifies because of a fear that she might castrate. With close reference to a number of classic horror films including Al ...more
Paperback, 182 pages
Published November 15th 1993 by Routledge (first published September 9th 1993)
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Bridget H
Dec 12, 2016 Bridget H rated it really liked it
Shelves: film, horror
Well written, well researched and engrossing. I was somewhat disappointed (and confused) by Creed's reluctance to push back against assertions that female monsters are abjectly horrifying solely because they represent castration in some form. I wish she had spent more time with the tropes of women as vehicles for possession, witches, and brood-mothers, rather than her expanded engagement with vagina dentata and femme castratrice, which took up the latter half of the book. I know everything comes ...more
Aug 11, 2009 Helen rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism
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!
Nov 23, 2008 Keith rated it really liked it
It's totally acceptable to judge this book by its cover.
Jan 27, 2016 Fallen rated it it was amazing
The Monstrous-Feminine had always been on my to-read list for quite some time, but I never got around to actually reading it - but by some cosmic coincidence, I was assigned to read it for a directed study course (a course I'm only in because my initial directed study fell through). I honestly wasn't keen to read this under the circumstances.

Actually, I wasn't keen to do pretty much anything under the circumstances. This summer was supposed to be about research exclusive to my thesis and mark
Jun 20, 2012 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
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
May 03, 2014 Viola rated it really liked it
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
Mar 31, 2016 Evan rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
This is a classic of film analysis and media theory, and it was revolutionary in its way. However, as a queer feminist, I disagree with 85% of pretty much everything Creed uses as a basis for her analysis. Her work is strong, focussed, and she writes well. But the Freudian underpinnings are just too dank for me to be able to agree with much of her analysis. The strong review is for her clear style, excellent scholarship, and the wonderful way she clearly sweeps the legs out from under the analys ...more
Jun 13, 2007 Laura rated it liked it
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.
Sep 11, 2008 malic rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 22, 2016 Rowan rated it liked it
While this book was cutting edge for its time, much of the feminist rhetoric in it is now outdated. I appreciated the use of the monstrous feminine as a retaliation against a society expecting only pretty women, and used it in a paper discussing the harpies of Greek poetry, but I found it often lacking quite the point I was hoping for. I would love to see an updated version of the book to incorporate more current feminism.
Feb 22, 2014 Kelsey rated it liked it
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.
May 20, 2015 Dolly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cinema-studies
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.
Andrew Northrop
Aug 23, 2015 Andrew Northrop rated it really liked it
One of few Freudian/Lacanian film studies books that I enjoy, partly because of Creed's lengthy dissection of their theories in the latter half of the book.
Harry McDonald
Dec 02, 2016 Harry McDonald rated it really liked it
A critique of Freudian readings of horror films. Unquestionably massively influential, excellently written with wit and expertise.
Jun 10, 2012 Kendra rated it it was amazing
totally awesome so far.
Sep 14, 2015 Lara rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I probably would have enjoyed the book more if I was more into psychoanalysis, but I did thoroughly enjoy watching Creed tear apart Freud's phallocentrism.
May 10, 2016 Kelly rated it liked it
read this as research my english assignment and really enjoyed it!
Sep 19, 2012 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Great introduction to psychoanalytic approaches to women in horror films.
Richard Cubitt
Nov 10, 2013 Richard Cubitt rated it it was amazing
A hugely informative work. Anyone who loves/writes horror will find this a horde of useful information.
Oct 01, 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.
Youjia Lu
Youjia Lu rated it really liked it
Aug 20, 2016
Casey rated it it was amazing
Dec 24, 2013
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Sep 03, 2011
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Nov 08, 2008
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Aug 29, 2014
Katie rated it it was amazing
Feb 20, 2013
C McDaniel
C McDaniel rated it it was ok
Aug 27, 2012
Whitney Porter
Whitney Porter rated it it was amazing
Apr 08, 2017
Nina rated it really liked it
Aug 28, 2011
Caitlin rated it it was amazing
Sep 18, 2008
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