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Romantics and Modernists in British Cinema$
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John Orr

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748640140

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640140.001.0001

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The trauma film from romantic to modern: A Matter of Life and Death to Don't Look Now

The trauma film from romantic to modern: A Matter of Life and Death to Don't Look Now

(p.86) Chapter 5 The trauma film from romantic to modern: A Matter of Life and Death to Don't Look Now
Romantics and Modernists in British Cinema

John Orr

Edinburgh University Press

What is trauma if not, as in the Greek, a kind of wound? Here it is something more — a wound that seldom heals, a wounding of body and soul from which, often, the subject does not recover. Hence the critical formula for the outcome of the trauma picture: at the least, significant damage; at the most, violent death. If film horror often sources the supernatural, film trauma focuses on the fears of the human and natural world. What is out there as waking nightmare in a dangerous world is often a mirror of what is hidden in here, in the human heart. The monsters that horror films project onto the screen are often the monsters of our dream worlds. Horror is the popular genre of superhuman evil, trauma its human and dreamlike subset. This chapter looks at trauma films that made a turn from romanticism to modernism, including Angel, Don't Look Now, Gaslight, A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus, The Small Back Room, Peeping Tom, The Innocents, Repulsion, Don't Look Now and The Wicker Man.

Keywords:   trauma, wound, death, horror films, trauma films, romanticism, modernism, Don't Look Now, A Matter of Life and Death, The Wicker Man

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