Suburban Gothic

Suburban Gothic is a subgenre of Gothic fiction, film and television, focused on anxieties associated with the creation of suburban communities, particularly in the United States, from the 1950s and 1960s onwards. It often, but not exclusively, relies on the supernatural or elements of science fiction that have been in wider Gothic literature, but manifested in a suburban setting.

Description

Suburban Gothic is defined by Bernice M. Murphy as "a subgenre of the wider American Gothic tradition which dramatises anxieties arising from the mass urbanisation of the United States and usually features suburban settings, preoccupations and protagonists".[1] She argues that a common trope of the suburban Gothic is the danger within a family or neighbourhood, rather than an external threat.[2] Teenagers and children are often major protagonists or sources of threat and characteristic conflicts often focus on issues of individuality and conformity.[3]

Important early works identified with the subgenre include Richard Matheson's I Am Legend (1954) and Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House (1959).[4] Works that incorporate environmental concerns include Ira Levin's The Stepford Wives (1972), Anne Rivers Siddons's The House Next Door (1978) and the Todd Haynes film Safe (1995).[5] Important films include versions of these written works and Tobe Hooper's Poltergeist (1982).[6] Several works by David Lynch, notably the television series Twin Peaks and the film Blue Velvet have been identified as part of the suburban gothic subgenre.[7] Films with threats from a female protagonist, including Fatal Attraction (1987) and Disclosure (1994) have also been identified as part of the genre.[8] In addition, films that feature a more character-driven or dramatic standpoint also inform the genre notably Todd Solondz's Happiness, Sam Mendes's American Beauty, and Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko. TV series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, and Desperate Housewives have also been seen as dealing with concerns about hidden Gothic worlds behind the suburban façade.[9] The 2011 Australian film Snowtown also concerns suburban gothic themes. Other films described as within the suburban gothic genre include Carrie (1976), Halloween (1978), The Amityville Horror (1979),[10] Fright Night (1985), The Stepfather (1987),[11] The 'Burbs (1988),[12] Parents (1989),[12] Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands (1990),[12] The People Under the Stairs (1991),[11] Serial Mom (1994),[11] Little Children (2006),[11]The Girl Next Door (2007), The Sisterhood of Night (2014), The Invitation (2015),[11] and It (2017).

See also

Notes

  1. ^ B. M. Murphy, The Suburban Gothic in American Popular Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), ISBN 0-230-21810-5, p. 2.
  2. ^ B. M. Murphy, The Suburban Gothic in American Popular Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), ISBN 0-230-21810-5, p. 3.
  3. ^ B. M. Murphy, The Suburban Gothic in American Popular Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), ISBN 0-230-21810-5, pp. 2–3.
  4. ^ B. M. Murphy, The Suburban Gothic in American Popular Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), ISBN 0-230-21810-5, p. 15.
  5. ^ B. M. Murphy, The Suburban Gothic in American Popular Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), ISBN 0-230-21810-5, p. 4.
  6. ^ J. E. Hogle, The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), ISBN 0-521-79466-8, p. xxv.
  7. ^ The Anadromist (2012) American Gothic Films: An Incomplete List . The Anadromous Life, [blog] November 7, 2012, Available at: http://theanadromist.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/american-gothic-films-a-list/ [Accessed: December 9, 2012].
  8. ^ K. I. Michasiw, "Some stations of sub-urban Gothic", in R. K. Martin and E. Savoy, eds, American Gothic: New Interventions in a National Narrative (University of Iowa Press, 2009), ISBN 1-58729-349-8, p. 240.
  9. ^ B. M. Murphy, The Suburban Gothic in American Popular Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), ISBN 0-230-21810-5, p. 166.
  10. ^ Hughes, William (2015). The Encyclopedia of the Gothic. John Wiley & Sons.
  11. ^ a b c d e Crow, Charles L. (2013). A Companion to American Gothic. John Wiley & Sons.
  12. ^ a b c Mulvey-Roberts, Marie (1998). The Handbook to Gothic Literature. NYU Press.
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Southern Gothic is a subgenre of Gothic fiction in American literature that takes place in the American South.

Common themes in Southern Gothic literature include deeply flawed, disturbing or eccentric characters who may be involved in hoodoo, ambivalent gender roles, decayed or derelict settings, grotesque situations, and other sinister events relating to or stemming from poverty, alienation, crime, or violence.

Suburban Gothic (film)

Suburban Gothic is a 2014 American comedy horror film directed by Richard Bates Jr. It had its world premiere on July 19, 2014, at the Fantasia International Film Festival and stars Matthew Gray Gubler as a young man who returns home only to find himself faced with the supernatural. The film was released in select theaters and via video on demand platforms on January 30, 2015.

Urban Gothic

Urban Gothic is a subgenre of Gothic fiction, film horror and television dealing with industrial and post-industrial urban society. It was pioneered in the mid-19th century in Britain, Ireland and the United States and developed in British novels such as Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), and Irish novels such as Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897). In the twentieth century, urban Gothic influenced the creation of the subgenres of Southern Gothic and suburban Gothic. From the 1980s, interest in the urban Gothic revived with books like Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and a number of graphic novels that drew on dark city landscapes, leading to adaptations in film including Batman (1989), The Crow (1994) and From Hell (2001), as well as influencing films like Seven (1995).

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