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The (Dys)Functional American Nuclear Family

The (Dys)Functional American Nuclear Family

(p.65) Chapter 3 The (Dys)Functional American Nuclear Family
Making and Remaking Horror in the 1970s and 2000s
David Roche
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter explores the thematic and structuring role played by the Gothic motif of the American nuclear family. Rather than arguing that the patriarchal order represses disorder, the notion of immanence emphasizes that order produces disorder. A chronological study of the films shows that the motif of the family remains a recurrent narrative thread in the remakes, but that, like the contextual aspects examined in Chapter 1, it has become more a matter of direct causality and less a matter of subtext, suggesting that contemporary filmmakers are familiar with Wood’s thesis. Moreover, in the remakes, the “monstrous” families no longer reflect the dysfunctions of the “normal” family, but represent the threat of a perverse order capable of destroying and/or assimilating “healthy” families. As such, they do not call into question the partiarchal order by revealing its constructiveness.

Keywords:   Family, Patriarchy, Repression, Immanence, Order

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