Poetics of Horror
Workshop der Kolleg-Forschungsgruppe Cinepoetics mit Patricia Pisters, 12.02.19
Research Focus: Material and Method
After presenting her preliminary work on “New Blood in Contemporary Female Horror Cinema” at Cinepoetics in May 2018, we now had the chance to further discuss Patricia Pisters’ perspective on horror. Bearing her forthcoming article “Carrie’s Sisters: New Blood in Contemporary Female Horror Cinema Aesthetics” in mind, we developed analytical positions on two films during this one-day workshop. As both films were radically different from each other, precisely this difference allowed us to think about recent horror cinema’s wide range in terms of poetics and affective modalities, and to explore its contact zones with other generic modes.
During our discussion of Lucile Hadžihalilović’s INNOCENCE (2004), we discerned between multiple notions of horror. The Belgian director’s second feature led to descriptions like ‘weird,’ ‘eerie’ and ‘uncanny’ as co-existing modes within the realms of horror – and to a debate on the relations between these modes. While these were important contributions to the discussion of the workshop’s central theme – “Poetics of Horror” – they especially concerned the female perspective, which is often overseen in the discourse on horror cinema.
In the afternoon we discussed GHOSTLAND (2018) by Pascal Laugier with a special emphasis on world-building and the poetics of writing. Delving for a connection to the work of H.P. Lovecraft, the film allows for a contemplation on writing in that different universes superimpose on each other rather than one (fictional) universe would exclusively create another. Furthermore, our discussion touched upon the transgression of the body and the use of masks; building on these aspects, we aimed at further investigating the poetics of horror in terms of established tropes like transformation, thresholds between childhood and adolescence, or notions of the monstrous.