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Will Chamisa win? What is the UK forecast? What is the weather forecast? Years later in Texas. I had the unnerving sense of the return of her specter, the specter of her specter coming back to say to meto me, here, now: Nownownow, that is to say in this dark room on another continent, in another world, here, now, yes, believe me, I believe in ghost.

This passage sums up several different aspects of the ghost: the overturning of time and space implicit in Hamlets statement much discussed by Derrida that The time is out of joint, the enabling of haunting by technology, and the personal, in which the ghost is associated with an individual experience of mourning. All of these links are facilitated by cinema: a haunted medium, a haunting medium, a medium that puts us in touch with ghosts.

The idea of cinema having a special relationship with the ghost, of itself being ghostly or haunted, is a powerful and widespread one. Audiences as well as ghosts gather in the darkaudiences experience the same paradoxes of free and restricted movement encountered by characters and ghosts. Introduction 9. The editors of the collection The Victorian Supernatural observe that for Derrida, history is structurally and necessarily haunted, but where is the supernatural to be found in this kind of haunting? The problem is that the ghost is only one in a series of deconstructive tropes.

It is not sensitive to how the supernatural means different things in different cultures and at different times, and is not well suited to considerations of peoples actual experience of the supernatural.

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Likewise, Roger Luckhurst, in the article that coined the term spectral turn, warns against the generalizing economy of haunting as ahistorical and limiting, producing a paradigm whereby the ghost is not a specific symptom singular to its time and place but rather is understood only within the generalized structure of haunting [which] is symptomatically blind to its generative loci.

It is not in rejection of these critical approaches, but rather an attempt to complicate the picture and expand the field. Presenting a variety of essays assaying cinemas ghosts, this volume marks the first collection of essays specifically about cinematic ghosts. It enters a lively field of publishing about ghosts, magic, and the supernatural in the last twenty years. Books specifically about cinema and ghosts are not numerous, but those that exist including Katherine A.

The principal focus here is on films featuring non-figurative ghoststhat is, ghosts supposed, at least diegetically, to be realin contrast to figurative ghosts,40 though certain of the films discussed herein, notably Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives , test the usefulness of this distinction. Originally published in , it played a significant role in the recent wave of interest in media and the modern supernatural. Its value to a great many scholars has been the links it draws between Freuds uncanny, the hope to use modern technology to overcoming death or contact the afterlife, and the technologies and practices that led to cinema.

In his chapter, Murray Leeder takes these themes in a slightly different direction, exploring the uncanniness of proto-cinematic media through projection and its linkages with the haunted inner spaces of the modern subject. Steads writings on the Kinetiscope of the Mind. The other two essays in this section move forward from early cinema to explore ghosts in the later silent period. Introduction In Tzvetan Todorovs terms,41 this is a fantastic-uncanny narrative in which supernatural possibilities eventually give way to naturalistic explanations.

But Natale shows that, even as it narratively mirrors an expos of the supernatural such as those performed by nineteenth-century magicians, The Cat and the Canary ultimately participates in the displacement of the supernatural into the mind described by Terry Castle in her work on the Phantasmagoria.

Closing out the section, Robert Alfords Supernatural Speech: Silent Cinemas Stake in Representing the Impossible explores the silent cinemas interest in visualizing the supernatural by honing in supernatural speech, something cinema can imaginatively and powerfully and yet, safely represent even as it cannot instantiate it. Alford argues that this is an ability that was diminished, if not lost altogether, with the conversion to sound.

The second section is entitled Cinematic Ghosts from the s through the s. The Second World War saw the emergence of the group of comic and romantic ghost films that would later be referred to as film blanc42 and the section begins with a new approach to one of the most beloved: William Dieterles Portrait of Jennie Here, Bruckner hones in on the desynchronizing and detemporalizing potential of bad sync as an unintended effect that is nonetheless appropriate to the films themes of temporal rupture.

As Portrait of Jennie also shows, the ghost has tended to lend itself to quality depictions of the supernatural in cinema, even within the generally understood parameters of the horror film. The quality horror film of the first half of the s, seeming to target a more adult and literate audience, included a number of prominent ghost films generally adaptations. However, Mark Jancovichs Antique Chiller: Quality, Pretention, and History in the Critical Reception of The Innocents and The Haunting shows us that these films, now considered classics, were received less warmly at the time, in part because their ambiguous position between serious cinematic art and lowbrow entertainment challenged accepted cultural categories.

Taking the discussion of ghosts as a presence in quality cinema in another direction, Maurizio Cinquegranis Shadows of Shadows: The Undead in Ingmar Bergmans Cinema explores the permutations of the traditional Swedish specters, the draugr or haugbi, as they emerge in Swedish cinema in general.

Cinquegrani works to locate Bergmans specters within gothic and pagan traditions, as well as Swedish national literature and cinema. Dara Downeys article Locating the Spectre in Dan Curtiss Burnt Offerings deals with another adaptation, Burnt Offerings , which Downey argues explores a classic haunted house theme in an unusually direct way: the imprisoning and dangerous qualities of domestic space.

Downey draws attention to how the film allegorizes the tyranny of domestic space over the lives of middle-class housewives in the mid-twentieth-century American culture.


A different strain of domestic haunted house narrative is under consideration in Katherine A. These two films, made a half- century apart in and , respectively, are both slapstick comedies about ghost couples.

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While it may seem ironic for dead characters to be used as a device to provoke a better appreciation of life, writes Fowkes, this function seems to be one that comedy ghosts are particularly well suited to fulfill, particularly through challenging ideas about the dignity and mastery of the human body. The third section is entitled Millennial Ghosts, and it largely covers the fertile period that marks the transition from Chances are, ghosts will make another comeback,43 the first line of one academic collection on the subject of ghosts in , to It seems that ghosts are everywhere these days,44 the first line of another from eleven years later.

Hantke argues that a new strategy emerges in the digital era for the depictions of ghosts, especially in the J-horror, and found-footage cycles. As Hantke alludes to a significant development around the millennium is the increased interest in Asian ghost films, and, in particular, the arrival of the iconic ghost of J-Horror onto the international stage.

Jay McRoys Spectral Remainders and Transcultural Hauntings: Re iterations of the Onryo in Japanese Horror Cinema chronicles the cinematic history of the onryo, the pallid, black-haired female ghost of Japanese tradition. McRoy explores the cinematic history of the onryo and then explores her. Martins Press, , 1. Rather, a film like Painted Skin turns a monstrous ghost into a romantic one. Comparing different iterations of the old story on which the story is based, the article shows that Painted Skin reflects the same male fear of female sexuality as the original folk tale but develops these themes differently, reflecting the cultural and social context of contemporary Chinese culture.

Bernice M. Murphys Its Not the House Thats Haunted: Demons, Debt, and the Family in Peril in Recent Horror Cinema explores another new trend: the return of suburban haunted house stories in roughly the last half decade, when the American middle class have been suffering from a financial crisis that mirrors that of the s and s when the last boom of suburban supernatural narratives occurred. Murphy focuses on the products of the low-budget production company Blumhouse Productions including Paranormal Activity , Insidious , Sinister , and The Conjuring Examining another breed of low-budget millennial horror film that emphasizes ghosts, Marc Oliviers Glitch Gothic hones in on the glitch aesthetic so common in found-footage horror films of the twenty-first century, where ghostly apparitions are associated with sudden disruptions to the flow of digital media.

He argues that the jarring spectacle of data ruins is becoming to the twenty-first century what the crumbling mansion was to Gothic literature of the nineteenth century: the privileged space for confrontations with incompatible systems, nostalgic remnants, and restless revenants. The collections final essay concerns perhaps the most acclaimed ghost film of recent years. Lastly, Jeffrey Sconce, author of the seminal Haunted Media, provides an afterword entitled Haunted Viewers, exploring the cinematic ghosts survival or non-survival into digital domains.

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  6. No collection of this sort could be exhaustive, and Cinematic Ghosts certainly does not claim to be. Many key ghost films are not subjected to sustained analysis here, numerous national traditions go under- or unrepresented, and certain critical approaches go unused. The work is haunted, as it were, by its own gaps and omissions. Cine recordings of the vivacious doings of persons long dead. The rest of the company, with myself, seemed not to know whether or not there is any truth in these modern manifestations.

    W hile western cultures valorization of the visual may be rooted in a tradition which identifies the conceivable with the visible the idea with what one sees ,1 there is no question that in the nineteenth century. First, to use as others have 3 the vocabulary of Charles Sanders Peirce, there is the photographs dual identity as an icon, a bearer of resemblance, and as an index, a trace left by a past event. The idea that people, places, and objects could somehow leave behindcause, in facttheir own images gave photography a key role as evidence, in some sense apodictic.

    Essential to the belief system which photography engendered was the fact that the image was created by a physical process over which human craft exerted no decisive role. Photography was therefore a scientific process, free from the unreliability of human discourse.

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    Photography could serve as both tool of discovery and means of verification in a new worldview constructed on an investigation of actual entities explored through their visible aspects. However, if photography emerged as the material support for a new positivism, it was also experienced as an uncanny phenomenon, one which seemed to undermine the unique identity of objects and people, endlessly reproducing the appearances of objects, creating a parallel world of phantasmatic doubles alongside the concrete world of the senses verified by positivism.

    While the process of photography could be thoroughly explained by chemical and physical operations, the cultural reception of the process frequently associated it with the occult and supernatural. Balzac gives a good example of this in a digression in his novel Cousin Pons which states that Daguerres invention has proved that a man or a building is incessantly and continuously represented by a picture in the atmosphere, that all existing objects project into it a kind of spectre which can be captured and perceived. But more than that, it testifies to a widespread understanding of photography that paralleled without necessarily contradicting its official role as scientific record of visual reality.

    At the same time that the daguerreotype recorded the visual nature of. Krausss essay, which also involves a discussion of spirit photography, was a strong influence on my essay. Phantom Images and Modern Manifestations However, before one sees in Balzacs conception a simple return to a Platonic idealism in which the eidos of every object seems to hover around it and photography becomes the proof of idealism, one must note the decentering implications of this description. Every object, place, and person is continuously radiating these images a process that Balzacs friend the photographer Nadar remembered the writer describing to him as a constant shedding of an immaterial skin5.

    Rather than representing an ur-form of these objects, the only true reality as in Platos idealism, these images are constantly cast off, like a sort of detritus. Photography simply retains some of them. This process of individual entities constantly broadcasting normally imperceptible signals, which can be received as images, exemplifies an extraordinary new mythology of modernity as it confronted technological change.