Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Novel Writing Course...another semester wraps up.

Each year the students complete the first three chapters of a novel, a synopsis, submission or indie pub plan, and do a practice pitch. They design their own assignments, participate in workshops, and its always amazing to work with them.

New this year, we did our long performance reads in the auditorium. Guests invited! Will definitely do that again next year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Scary Vulnerability: Considering the ‘Guilty Mom’ Horror Film Through the Lens of Lacan’s the Real

PCA 2019 in Washington D.C. 

Scary Vulnerability: Considering the ‘Guilty Mom’ Horror Film Through the Lens of Lacan’s the Real


The ‘guilty mom’ is at the center of three tensions: society’s expectation that she provide for her child’s emotional and physical safety, the child’s needs, and her own needs. Within the context of a horror film, this tensional dynamic highlights the unique vulnerabilities of this marginalized, archetypal character and creates an avenue through which viewers experience Jacques Lacan’s the Real.

A comparative assessment of The Exorcist (1973), Babadook (2014), and Hereditary (2018) offers the opportunity to examine the ways in which Lacan’s conflicting imaginary order and symbolic order create the impossibility of absolute comprehension. Salvoj Zizek expands on Lacan’s theory to identify the “real Real” (2006). This modality can additionally inform an analysis of the unique terror of the ‘guilty’ mom horror film.

Ideas I'm tossing around...

Horror films about vulnerability and a ‘guilty’ mom is extremely vulnerable. It is her vulnerability that feeds her guilt.

Mother as protector of emotional safety.

Child needs emotional safety, society expects the mother to provide it, so a frightened child is seen as a mother’s failure.


Some of what I've read...

Dolar, Mladen. “‘I Shall Be with You on Your Wedding-Night’: Lacan and the Uncanny.” October, vol. 58, 1991, pp. 5–23. JSTOR, JSTOR,

Grafius, Brandon R. “Mama and Kristeva: Matricide in the Horror Film.” Post Script, vol. 36, no. 1, Fall 2016, pp. 52–63. EBSCOhost,
Gullatz, Stefan. "Exquisite Ex-Timacy: Jacques Lacan Vis-a-Vis Contemporary Horror." Offscreen 5.2 (2001) ProQuest. Web. 10 Dec. 2018.
"It's our Brains that Scare Us; How Horror Movies Manipulate the Physiology of Fear." Toronto Star, Aug 08 1999, p. 1. ProQuest. Web. 10 Dec. 2018 .
Leader, D. (2014). LACAN AND THE SUBJECT. Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology: PPP, 21(4), 367-368,372. Retrieved from
Noys, Benjamin. "The horror of the real: Žižek’s modern gothic." International Journal of Žižek Studies 4.4 (2016).