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March 2009, Week 3


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 14 Mar 2009 14:14:10 +0100
text/plain (79 lines)
The Fly came up as an AIDS allegory. I think this is interesting, but
problematic and has been used to close the meaning of the film, rather than
open it. I highly recommend:
*AIDS References in the Critical Reception of David Cronenberg: "It May Not
Be Such a Bad Disease after All"*
Cinema Journal - 42, Number 4, Summer 2003, pp. 29-45 for more on the

Basically the contention is that part of the reason that it is so attractive
to read The Fly as an AIDS allegory is because the very idea has
infectiously spread in some meme-like way throughout the criticism of the
film. Cronenberg himself - for those willing to take intention into account
- has at times talked about the film in relation to aging, amongst other
things. The Fly is about many things, but yoking it to allegory of any kind
is limiting.

The same is true of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Siegel himself discussed
the film as a comment on social conformity. The numerous post-Red Scare
films seem to have picked up on this element and there are no doubt many
precursors. Zola's Germinal, for instance, strikes me as a suitable
backwards leap among many possible others involving social circulus.


2009/3/8 James Crawford <[log in to unmask]>

> Westerns are another genre frequently given over to allegory: infamously,
> John Wayne despised High Noon because he believed it was an
> anti-blacklisting allegory; Nicholas Ray's Johnny Guitar is in a similar
> vein as it alludes fairly strongly to McCarthyist hysteria.
> Cheers,
> James
> On Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 12:31 AM, Paul Ramaeker <[log in to unmask]
> >wrote:
> > Well, of course, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is classic H'wood
> allegory,
> > and what I would imagine to be esp. valuable about it, in terms of class
> > discussion, is, What is it an allegory of, exactly?  Commie infiltration?
> >  Or social conformity?
> >
> > A lot, A LOT, of horror is easily read as allegory.  Romero is of course
> > key- for Night of the Living Dead, civil rights, but it's also a critique
> of
> > the family (return of the repressed, for Robin Wood), whereas Dawn can be
> > read in terms  of consumerism.  I suppose critique and allegory begin to
> > blur here, or more specifically allegory and metaphor.  How would you
> > specify that distinction?  Consider, for instance, the original Cat
> People.
> >  Or, most/all Buffy episodes (eg., Angel loses his soul after sleeping w/
> > Buffy as allegory of women's fears about losing their virginity).  Or,
> > Rosemary's Baby- it's actually about pregnancy, but being impregnated by
> the
> > devil makes it about fears surrounding pregnancy in a broad sense.
> >
> > If this sort of stuff is allegorical on the lines you are thinking, then
> > certainly you should look up Wood's stuff on horror, like the chapter in
> > Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan.
> >
> > pbr
> >
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