The presentation of female identity is essential to Gothic literature. Presenting women in a particular light can often have a profound effect upon a text, completely altering a reader’s interpretation. In the narrative poetry of John Keats, Angela Carter’s ‘The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories’ and Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, women are presented as objects of desire, maternal figures, supernatural beings and are often defined by their biological roles. But it is the transition between these typecasts that is particularly interesting. By allowing female characters to break free of stereotypical constraints the writer is able to create obscurity and suspense within a plot.
The woman wears a long velvet dressing gown over a lace peignoir that froths around her ankles like seafoam as she runs across the moor. In the distance, the shape of a house grown vast and gloriously terrible beyond any architect’s dreams looms, bleak and menacing and wonderful. The moon is high enough to light the scene; the sun is a lie told by nannies to their charges to keep them from being afraid of the monsters in the night. The monsters are not a lie. The monsters are real. The monsters are already inside the house. The monsters are in the blood and the bone and walls, the monsters are here, the monsters are pursuing the woman through the heather, toward the cliffs overlooking the sea, the monsters are sitting down in the parlor for slices of cake and cups of tea.
Welcome to the gothic horror.
EXCLUSIVE: Freeform has put into development Turn of the Screw, a fresh modern spin on Henry James’ supernatural thriller, from Alexandra McNally (Under the Dome), Josh Berman (Drop Dead Diva, CSI) and Sony Pictures Television, where McNally and Berman’s Osprey Productions are under overall deals.
A twisty Gothic soap reimagined for modern times, the series will follow Elena, a Mexican-American nanny who is hired to care for the two children of a widowed-father at their summer home on idyllic Bainbridge Island. It seems like the perfect job with potential for a ‘happily ever after’ ending, but things take a sinister turn when Elena begins seeing ghosts and her grip on what is real and what is not blurs.
Last night, the Internet dreamt it went to Manderley again with the announcement that Ben Wheatley would be directing an adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s classic, Rebecca.
Featuring Lily James as the second Mrs. De Winter and Armie Hammer as her mysterious husband Maxim, the story centers on how James’s character falls for a charming, wealthy man, only to return to his palatial estate to be haunted by the memory of his first wife, the titular Rebecca. The novel was adapted by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940 and was his only film to receive Best Picture.
While I’m not always a fan of remaking the classics unless there’s a good thesis behind it, what excites me the most about the project is that the screenplay will be written by Jane Goldman. Goldman was the writer behind two films I absolutely adore—the romantic Stardust and also romantic X-Men: First Class—and I’m excited to see her bring her perspective to the gothic. More importantly, though, this film needs to be written by a woman.