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The Gothic and Death$
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Carol Margaret Davison

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781784992699

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784992699.001.0001

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Modernity’s fatal addictions: technological necromancy and E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire

Modernity’s fatal addictions: technological necromancy and E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire

Chapter:
(p.204) 14 Modernity’s fatal addictions: technological necromancy and E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire
Source:
The Gothic and Death
Author(s):

Carol Margaret Davison

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781784992699.003.0015

Taking as its point of focus E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire (2000), a cinematic mise-en-abîme homage to, and a self-referential twenty-first century commentary on F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, this essay examines vampire cinema as an emblem of ‘technological necromancy’ that mediates our ambivalent responses to modernity, its proliferating technologies, and death in the wake of the secularising Enlightenment whose driving ideal – rational empiricism – undermined long established Christian certainties about the existence and nature of a soul and an afterlife. This essay reads Shadow as a compelling and sedimented, twenty-first century meditation on the nefarious, desensitizing impact of our cultural addiction to visual technologies, in which the vampire is used to mirror its audience. Shadow is also assessed as an interrogation of the gender and racial politics of cinematic spectatorship – particularly the influence and impact of pornography and propaganda cinema.

Keywords:   Vampire Cinema, Death, Cinematic Spectatorship, Technology, Pornography, Propaganda Cinema, Shadow of the Vampire, Nosferatu, E. Elias Merhige, F.W. Murnau

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