Gothic Heroines on Screen explores the translation of the literary Gothic heroine on screen, the potential consequences of these adaptations, and contemporary interpretations of the form.

Each chapter illuminates the significance of this moving image mediation, relating its screen topics to their various historical, social, and geographical moments of production, while maintaining a focus on the key figure of the investigating woman. Many chapters – perhaps inescapably – delve into the point of adaptation: the Bluebeard story and du Maurier’s Rebecca as two key examples. Moving beyond the Old Dark House that frequently forms both the Gothic heroine’s backdrop and her area of investigation, some chapters examine alternative locations and their impact on the Gothic heroine, some leave behind the marital thriller to explore what happens when the Gothic meets other genres, such as comedy, while others travel away from the usual Anglo-American contexts to European ones.

Throughout the collection, the Gothic heroine’s representation is explored within the medium, which brings together image, movement, and sound, and this technological fact takes on varied significance. What does remain constant, however, is the emphasis on the longevity, significance, and distinctiveness of the Gothic heroine in screen culture.

chapter |10 pages


part I|43 pages

Bluebeard’s ghost

chapter 1|14 pages

Bluebeard’s women fight back

The Gothic heroine in contemporary film and Heidi Lee Douglas’ Little Lamb (2014)

chapter 2|14 pages

Bluebeard in the cities

The use of an urban setting in two 21st-century films

chapter 3|14 pages

Blueprints from Bluebeard

Charting the Gothic in contemporary film

part II|41 pages

Returning to Manderley

chapter 4|13 pages

Impossible spaces

Gothic special effects and feminine subjectivity

chapter 5|13 pages

The certified accountant Gothic heroine

Paranoia and The Second Woman (1950)

chapter 6|13 pages

‘But it’s happening to you, Eleanor’

The Haunting as a ‘Buildingsroman’

part III|57 pages

The Gothic and genre forms

chapter 7|16 pages

The Gothic in space

Genre, motherhood, and Aliens (1986)

chapter 8|13 pages

The Gothic heroine out West

A Town Called Bastard (1971)

chapter 9|13 pages

Laughing at periods

Gothic parody in Julia Davis’ Hunderby

chapter 10|13 pages

‘There’s a secret behind the door. And that secret is me’

The Gothic reimagining of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None

part IV|44 pages

National cinema and the Gothic

chapter 11|14 pages

East German Gothic

Kurt Maetzig’s The Rabbit Is Me (1965)

chapter 12|13 pages

‘I see, I see . . .’

Goodnight Mommy (2014) as Austrian Gothic