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Go Away, a new work by Sasha Opeiko, co-creator/producer of the Futile Knocking of My Heart, mixes sampled sounds from a classic horror film with the frantic clickings of the death watch beetle, slicing and reframing the fictionalized speech and soundtrack used to construct a haunting – a haunting that is trapped in the very structure of a fictitiously diseased house.
The Deathwatch beetle functions here as a symbolic agent of destruction and madness through repetitious beating that counterpoints the booming of the house as it claims its doomed guests.
The Haunted House in Contemporary Filmic and Literary Gothic Narratives of Trauma
Open Edition Journals
Accessed Sunday, May 23, 2021
The haunted house as “embodiment” of the Unheimlich
Freud’s definition of the uncanny, because it is the negation of the word for “home” (unheimlich), in itself inscribes the home as site and/or source of terror”. …
(As literary critic Harold Bloom points out) : “Freud himself pointed out that this ‘unhomely’ might as well be called ‘the homely’ (…) ‘for this uncanny is in reality nothing new or foreign but something familiar in the mind that has been estranged only by the process of repression.’” (Bloom in Danielewksi, 359) Recent works like Dani Cavallaro’s The Gothic Vision: Three Centuries of Horror, Terror and Fear (2002, 87) or Laura Mulvey’s Death 24 x a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image (2007, 96) likewise comment on Freud’s word for “uncanny” springing from “home.” As Anne Williams puts it in Art of Darkness: A Poetics of Gothic (1995): “English has adopted the term ‘uncanny’ to speak of this familiarly ‘unfamiliar,’ the ‘un-family-like.’ In other words the nightmarish haunted house as Gothic setting puts into play the anxieties, tensions and imbalances inherent in family structures.” (Williams, 46)…
For Freud, the psyche, however else he may describe it, is centrally the haunted house of terror Gothic. Freud’s remarkable achievement is to have taken the props and passions of terror Gothic—hero-villain, heroine, terrible place, haunting—and to have relocated them inside the self….
As Ruth Parkin-Gounelas argues in her 1999 article “Anachrony and Anatopia: Spectres of Marx, Derrida, and Gothic Fiction”: “since Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, the genre has remained fixated on anatopias, the repetition of other forms of this house, as well as of its contents: its villains, incestuous relationships, disembodied parts, and above all, the buried secrets of its origins” (131), this “fixation” is in keeping with what haunted houses signify and encode, particularly if it is incest and infanticide. What has changed, as Catherine Spooner expounds in Contemporary Gothic (2006), is that contemporary gothic narratives display post-Freudian awareness that the haunted house is the place where trauma occurred, but also, and subsequently, the projection of the traumatized and haunted psyche itself:
Just as Edgar Allen Poe’s House of Usher ultimately crumbles into the tarn at its foot, so these psychological prisons characteristically disintegrate under repeated mental strain, terminating in madness and breakdown.
In Gothic texts, therefore, the past is a site of terror, of an injustice that must be resolved, an evil that must be exorcised. (Spooner, 18)
Monica Michlin, « The Haunted House in Contemporary Filmic and Literary&