chapter
13 Pages

Introduction

In seeking to undertake analyses of the cultural and symbolic value of the monster in fi lm and literature, much critical writing places itself in relation to that diffi cult binary that society has always been ready to enforce between human and ‘other’. As a result of this binary, the monster, although frequently acknowledged as indefi nable, remains indefi nitely within the cultural spheres of ‘the repressed’, ‘the abject’, and/or ‘the uncanny’. A dichotomous approach to teratology dominates, and habitually this approach leads to a general preoccupation with the monster’s subversive potential as a fi guration of Otherness: a characterisation that counterpoints most aspects of ‘mainstream’ culture, history, and identity. Engaging with the cultural dynamics of the monster from this perspective, many studies invariably attempt to manage the monster in processes of classifi cation. Such attempts to control the Otherness of the monster are seen in claims that the monster serves a social function as an embodiment of fear that enacts a purging and a projection of our most basic anxieties, or as a manifestation of ‘all that is horrible in the human imagination’ (Gilmore 2003: 1).