Download Grande Dame Guignol Cinema: A History of Hag Horror from by Peter Shelley PDF

By Peter Shelley

This seriously analytical filmography examines forty five videos that includes "grande dames" in horror settings. Following a background of girls in horror ahead of 1962's What Ever occurred to child Jane?, which introduced the "Grande Dame Guignol" subgenre of older girls featured as morally ambiguous best girls, are all such motion pictures (mostly united states) that got here after that landmark free up. The filmographic facts comprises forged, group, studies, synopses, and construction notes, in addition to routine motifs and every role's influence at the star's occupation.

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Additional info for Grande Dame Guignol Cinema: A History of Hag Horror from Baby Jane to Mother

Sample text

Apparently Jack Warner wanted the film to contain a scene that rivaled the rat sequence in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and seeing the dead Margaret being undressed and having her hair combed back like Edith’s is equally as humiliating and grotesque. Edith’s physical suffering in completing the change makes us want to empathize with her, a woman who has killed. The idea that Edith would commit suicide is how the real Edith thinks she can get away with Margaret’s murder, though Edith has been presented as too down-to-earth to kill herself.

A pet bird is taken from its cage and served on a plate, followed by a rat meeting the same fate, a slap, kicking, tying up and gagging, and culminating in a grande guignol murder with a hammer. As all this is acted upon Blanche, her isolation increases, moving from the loss of her pet, to no telephone, no buzzer, no food, no freedom, and, eventually, no life. As a horror movie, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is unusual, since its horror is minimal, and no blood is seen spilled. While the film’s extraordinary casting and performances may be considered the reason for its appeal, there are other details—in the narrative and direction—that are equally worthy of note.

The earlier scene in which she had manically begged Jim to take her out provides the evidence of Edith’s despair, yet we know it is based on fear of the idea of the murder she plans. When Edith returns to Margaret’s mansion, Henreid holds on her in close-up as she removes her veil in front of a waiting crowd, so that we wait to see if she is recognized as a fraud. Edith can explain any change in behavior, like her smoking, as the result of her grief over a dead husband and be believed, though her lower-class origins become clear when she becomes impatient with the servants.

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