Title 'Discussing Dolls: Horror and the Human Double'.
Speaker: Sandra Mills, PhD candidate in English Literature, University of Hull.
The ‘living’ doll is an intriguing staple of the horror genre, from the amoral dummy in Dead of Night, to the homicidal Chucky of the Child’s Play franchise, in horror cinema these totemic miniature humans are now commonplace. Here stringed marionettes, ventriloquist dummies, and porcelain dolls are perpetrators of violent acts, products of malfunctioning technology or monstrous beings in their own right. After all this is a space where the monster thrives, the supernatural prospers, where the apparently living are revealed to be dead and the seemingly inanimate come to life. As incomplete doubles of human life, objects of external manufacture and operation, dolls possess a grotesquely dead-alive charm. Horror writers have capitalised on this eerie nature, creating narratives which transgress bodily borders, where toys come to life.
This talk focuses upon literary and visual narratives which portray the doll, often concurrently, as a living entity and lifeless artefact, part human, part object. It examines how this childhood relic has found itself increasingly at home in the horror genre by tracing its evolution from historic curiosity to present spectacle. For many this is the stuff of childhood nightmares, lifeless bodies now animate, inducing fear and characterising horror.
Link to Sandra's academic profile: https://hull.academia.edu/SandraMills
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