- Purchase/rental options available:
This article is a speculative investigation into the depiction of "body hopping"—an entity inhabiting a string of different bodies—in popular cinema since the 1980s. This trope features in genres ranging from horror and sci-fi to teen films and romantic comedies. Although often a narrative premise of dubious logic, body hopping offers us a way, as spectators, to enter into an imaginatively projected fantasy of the human body and its powers. I contrast this "neurotic" but creative logic of conceptualizing the body with the more recent philosophical school of "embodiment." My case study is the career of actor Claudia Christian, who moved from 1980s genres to general recognition on the TV series Babylon 5 in the 1990s—but always retaining her persona of an "ideal" woman who is also "off-norm" in appearance and behavior. Christian's published autobiography and her role in the body-hopper special The Hidden (1987) are discussed.