Screen Study Conference

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Title: Female Empowerment, Pain and Suffering – The Complex Representations of Witches in Contemporary Horror This paper analyzes the depiction of witches in contemporary horror on screen (Cinema and TV) such as Antichrist, Game of Thrones (Fantasy), True Blood, Grimm and Penny Dreadful. Using the monstrous feminine as the impetus for showcasing some of the most complex (and not the least conflicted) female characters in screen drama, contemporary horror transgress the more traditional (and stereotypical) performance of femininity through witch figures like She, Melisandre, Adalind Schade, Vanessa Ives and Evelyn Poole. Although embodying female empowerment, these characters have ambiguous traits. Many of them are figures of pain struggling with (sometimes literal) inner demons. Culturally subversive by nature the ambiguous witch figure in contemporary horror can be conceived not only as strong female narratives but also as a mediating about the complexities of morality which touches something that resonates with modern audiences despite of period and supernatural settings. The approach of this paper is narratological (Margolin (1996), Phelan (1998), Schneider (2000)) and it focusses on complex characterization in female empowerment narratives and how they handle diversity, moral complexity and gender equality.
Period24. Jun 201626. Jun 2016
Event typeConference
LocationGlasgow, United KingdomShow on map