Abstract

abstract:

This article examines how Fritz Lang and Tod Browning use traditional cinematic monster tropes to demonstrate the impossibility of biopolitical classifications of monstrosity. No matter how intense its scrutiny, these directors suggest, bio-power cannot accurately assess a group's or an individual's potential danger to society. Lang and Browning point out this inherent failure of absolutist categories through a series of visual parallels, first demonstrating the humanity of groups traditionally deemed abnormal and then revealing "true" monstrosity hidden behind a normal human exterior. The monster, however, contains elements of both the "normal" and "abnormal" groups, making clear the artifice of its label so that subsequent punishment remains morally ambivalent, contrary to monster movie convention.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 62-80
Launched on MUSE
2018-03-30
Open Access
No
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