Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The Gothic novel of the 19th century js often viewed as the beginning and end of the "true" Gothic. While its role in creating or contributing to other genres, such as Science Fiction, Horror, and Romance, is widely recognized, the view of the Gothic as a "dead" genre often persists. The Gothic tradition has continued to the present time, however, and has experienced a recent resurgence of popularity in modern film.

This thesis proposes to examine four modern films as manifestations of the modern Gothic. A working definition of the original Gothic will be formulated, and then refined through the application of Bakhtin's theory of the chronotope, dialogics, and carnival. This definition will be applied to the the films Batman, Darkman, Edward Scissorhands, and Cape Fear.

In the course of this application, it will be seen that although the villain has evolved into a Gothic hero, and the setting has moved closer to the "here and now" than in the early Gothic, the themes and motifs remain relatively unchanged. These themes are the struggle for the "self-as-other" to coexist with society, the fear of social change as represented by the carnival, and the location of the work within in the "inner world" of the viewer's mind.

The work will conclude with a brief analysi Gothic's function as social criticism and agent change which, it will be seen, accounts for the longevity as a genre.