The Spectacle of the Lack: Realising the Monster on Screen
This chapter moves on from literary analysis to examine a number of ﬁ lmic texts as they present the unnameable monster via modes that acknowledge its sublime qualities and defer to its essential unrepresentability. It discusses how the value of the unnameable monster is frequently recognised in cinematic modes that are often classiﬁ ed as science-ﬁ ction/horror and supernatural horror. The chapter is divided into three sections. Initially, it investigates ﬁ lms categorised as science-ﬁ ction/horror, including John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982), and Frank Darabont’s The Mist (2007), to look at the representation of the unnameable monster via cinematographic strategies through which the ‘Thing’ at no time achieves total representation on screen. In these instances, the monster through various ﬁ lmic techniques comes to visually represent a lack: the very negativity that the ‘Thing’ itself stands for. These ﬁ lms reveal how the unrepresentable monster problematises the relationship between inside and outside, and consequently, self and other. Visually, the sublime forces of nature in the form of mist, fog, and arctic snow off er a unique concealment of the ‘Thing’ while simultaneously functioning as a metaphor for the hesitation of the sublime encounter itself.