First Place


ENGL 493 - Senior Project

Publication Date

Fall 12-30-2019


Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Visual Studies | Women's Studies

Description or Abstract

A frightening truth remains that within horror-thriller films the experience of women is at the heart of the horrifying. This project analyses the effects of film media on the construction, fetishization, and destruction of female figures and engages with feminist critical concepts, such as Laura Mulvey’s “male gaze” and Linda Williams’ “body horror,” to evaluate Alfred Hitchcock’s film Vertigo (1958) and Satoshi Kon’s anime Perfect Blue (1997). Importantly, this essay critiques the misogynistic inner-workings of the horror-thriller genre typified in Vertigo—that evokes visual pleasure from objectification, victimization, and physical, often sexual, violence—and contrasts it with Kon’s anime. This paper finds that Perfect Blue, a foil of Vertigo, appropriates and intensifies the machinery of the genre to a critical effect, transforming visual gratification into legitimate, objectionable fear. Through close consideration of cinematography, mise-en-scène, animation, thematics, and visual tropes, this article exposes the underlying patriarchal structure operating within horror-thriller films and considers the future feminist potential of scary cinema.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.