• Between Setting and Character: A Taxonomy of Sentient Spaces in Fantasy Film’

      Pheasant-Kelly, Frances; Pallant, Chris (Bloomsbury, 2015-10-08)
      With reference to Aylish Wood’s concept of ‘timespaces’, this essay explores the sentient spaces of fantasy film.1 It suggests that digital technologies, either in producing computer-generated or computer-assisted effects, have extended the capacity and significance of film settings by endowing them with a cognitive awareness and physical articulation more in line with film characters than with backdrops for action. Wood contends that ‘digital effects produce spaces with the ability to transform, or […] have a temporal quality, thus adding an extra dimension to the narrative progression’2 and designates these temporally-extended special-effects spaces as ‘timespaces’. However, the digitally generated/assisted landscape often moves beyond Wood’s notion of a temporally-extended space, and rather, constitutes an enhancement of setting to the level of a sentient being. Moreover, this sentience invests the narrative with a causal as well as a temporal element. In other words, sentient spaces contribute towards narrative progression in ways beyond temporal extension. Trees are especially amenable to such effects, evident, for example, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) when animated tree roots malevolently ensnare one of its characters, Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson). The sentience of landscape is not in itself a new phenomenon, being evident in early fantasy film – for instance, the forest of The Wizard of Oz (1939) similarly assumes cognitive qualities. Yet, new animation and digital techniques facilitate a more credible anthropomorphism of settings, to the extent that they are either little different to animated characters or are conflated with them. Analogous to Wood’s contention for convergence between time and space in ‘timespaces’, this chapter therefore argues that settings have become credible sentient entities, with digital technologies effecting a diminishing/absent margin between character and setting. In so doing, it utilises the description ‘animated settings’ in relation to sentience in both the genres of animation and fantasy. Textually analysing a range of fantasy films, including the Harry Potter series (2001-11), Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03), and Steven Spielberg’s The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) amongst others, and referring to Wood’s ‘timespaces’ as well as Sigmund Freud’s theory of animism and studies of animation by Paul Wells and Chris Pallant, this essay posits a concept of sentient computer-generated imagery (CGI) as marking setting-character convergence.
    • Delmer Daves’s 3:10 to Yuma: Aesthetics, Reception and Cultural Significance’

      Pheasant-Kelly, Frances; Carter, Matthew (Edinburgh University Press, 2016-05)
      From Destination Tokyo (1943) to Youngblood Hawke (1964), among many other films, few filmmakers created as unique a body of work in the US as Delmer Daves (1904-1977), but few filmmakers have been as critically overlooked in existing scholarly literature. Daves is often regarded as an embodiment of the self-effacing craftsmanship of classical and post-war Hollywood, which helps explain his relative neglect by film critics and scholars. As the first study of Daves's career, this collection in the ReFocus series seeks to deepen our understanding of the filmmaker and problematize existing conceptions of him as a competent by conventional studio man. Part of the ReFocus: The American Directors Series, which aims to bring influential, yet neglected, American directors to the attention of a new audience of scholars and students.
    • Editorial Note

      Pheasant-Kelly, Frances (University of Lisbon, 2017)
      Messengers from the Stars is an international, peer-reviewed journal, offering academic articles, reviews, and providing an outlet for a wide range of creative work inspired by science fiction and fantasy. It aims at promoting science fiction and fantasy in the humanities while, at the same time, providing a forum for discussion on all aspects of science fiction and fantasy by welcoming innovative approaches and critical methodologies to the critical and creative landscape
    • Introduction

      Pheasant-Kelly, Frances; Andrews, Eleanor; HOCKENHULL, STELLA (Routledge, 2015-08)
      This book examines the ways in which the house appears in films and the modes by which it moves beyond being merely a backdrop for action. Specifically, it explores the ways that domestic spaces carry inherent connotations that filmmakers exploit to enhance meanings and pleasures within film. Rather than simply examining the representation of the house as national symbol, auteur trait, or in terms of genre, contributors study various rooms in the domestic sphere from an assortment of time periods and from a diversity of national cinemas―from interior spaces in ancient Rome to the Chinese kitchen, from the animated house to the metaphor of the armchair in film noir.
    • Reflections of science and medicine in two Frankenstein adaptations: Frankenstein (Whale 1931) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Branagh 1994)

      Pheasant-Kelly, Frances (John Hopkins University Press, 2018-12-12)
      Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a novel that centers on a scientist who collects organs and limbs from dead bodies to construct a new being, illustrates the complex, interwoven history of science and science fiction. The novel’s attention to the animation of assembled body parts reflects contemporaneous scientific interest in the reanimation of corpses by galvanism. In this article, I extend the science/science-fiction relationship developed in the novel by analyzing the visual differences between two of its subsequent film adaptations. Although scholars have extensively scrutinized and speculated about Shelley’s influences, limited consideration of contemporary scientific influences on later film versions exists.
    • Revisionist Vampires: Transcoding, Intertextuality and Neo-Victorianism in the Film Adaptations of Bram Stoker’s Dracula

      Pheasant-Kelly, Frances; Russell, Natalie; Poore, Benjamin (Rodopi, 2016)
      Neo-Victorian Villains is the first edited collection to examine the afterlives of such Victorian villains as Dracula, Svengali, Dorian Gray and Jekyll and Hyde, exploring their representation in neo-Victorian drama and fiction. In addition, Neo-Victorian Villains examines a number of supposedly villainous types, from the spirit medium and the femme fatale to the imperial ‘native’ and the ventriloquist, and traces their development from Victorian times today. Chapters analyse recent theatre, films and television – from Ripper Street to Marvel superhero movies – as well as classic Hollywood depictions of Victorian villains. In a wide-ranging opening chapter, Benjamin Poore assesses the legacy of nineteenth-century ideas of villains and villainy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
    • Secrets, Memory, and Imagination: Psychic Space and the Cinematic Attic

      Pheasant-Kelly, Frances; Andrews, Eleanor; Hockenhall, Stella (Routeledge, 2015-08)
      The book this chapter is from examines the ways in which the house appears in films and the modes by which it moves beyond being merely a backdrop for action. Specifically, it explores the ways that domestic spaces carry inherent connotations that filmmakers exploit to enhance meanings and pleasures within film. Rather than simply examining the representation of the house as national symbol, auteur trait, or in terms of genre, contributors study various rooms in the domestic sphere from an assortment of time periods and from a diversity of national cinemas―from interior spaces in ancient Rome to the Chinese kitchen, from the animated house to the metaphor of the armchair in film noir.
    • Signifying Trauma in the Post-9/11 Combat Film: The Hurt Locker and In the Valley of Elah

      Pheasant-Kelly, Frances (Routledge, 2019-05-13)
      This article addresses two Iraq War films, The Hurt Locker (Bigelow 2008) and In the Valley of Elah (Haggis 2007), through the lens of trauma theory. Uniquely, it engages with Slavoj Žižek’s account of the Real in its analysis of how victim/perpetrator trauma is signified in their respective narrative structures and visual style. The primary argument is that the pattern of traumatic memory is reflected in their narrative modes. At the same time, it claims that the unfolding narrative of In the Valley of Elah mimics certain forms of trauma treatment, operating in a therapeutic mode for its characters (as well as offering narrative resolution for spectators). Such analysis of trauma differs from other scholarly approaches to these films that have variously considered them from perspectives of: embodiment in the war film (Burgoyne 2012); the ethics of viewing traumatic suffering (Straw 2011); the de-politicisation of torture by the inclusion of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Barker 2011); indifference to post-9/11 war films as an inability to respond to the trauma and loss that terrorism poses (Toffoletti and Grace 2010); trauma and the militarised body (Andreescu 2016); and the narration of trauma in Iraq War Films (Kopka 2018).
    • Supernatural surveillance and blood-borne disease in Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Reflections on mesmerism and HIV

      Pheasant-Kelly, Frances (Intellect Publishers, 2019-12-31)
      While the relationship between surveillance and/or voyeuristic viewing, control and horror is central to certain horror productions, including Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960), My Little Eye (Evans, 2002) and District 9 (Blomkamp, 2009), it is less obvious in the vampire film. However, the vampiric gaze exerts a more immediate and absolute form of power, causing its victims to fall prey to inevitable death and an extended afterlife. Although all vampire films tend to exploit these mesmeric aspects of Victorian culture, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), directed by Frances Ford Coppola, progresses the notion of ‘supernatural surveillance’. Coppola uses numerous creative visual techniques to accentuate the attention to eyes, notably in scenes that are linked to sexual desire and promiscuity. If the original novel implicitly reflected contemporaneous fears of venereal infection, namely syphilis, then Coppola’s film is preoccupied with AIDS. This article argues that the film’s attention to eyes and the gaze not only reflects the mesmerism associated with Victorian culture but also resonates with new forms of sociocultural watchfulness emerging in the AIDS era of the twentieth century.
    • Surveillance in Zero Dark Thirty: Terrorism, Space and Identity

      Pheasant-Kelly, Frances; Flynn, Susan; Mackay, Antonia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
      This chapter examines strategies for surveillance in the film Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow, 2012) and considers the ways in which these reflect changes in real-world monitoring of both public and terrorist activities since 9/11. The film is particularly relevant to a consideration of surveillance and space because it charts the ten year search for Osama bin Laden across various locations, a mission that is accomplished through a combination of strategic physical and technological observation. Indeed, its visual style and narrative trajectory are dictated by surveillance, the film thereby epitomising its prevalence in contemporary visual culture since 9/11. The claim here is that the forms of surveillance exercised within the film embody a combination of the models articulated by Michel Foucault (1991) and Thomas Mathiesen (1997), which consider, respectively, how the few view the many and how the many watch the few. The film’s expression of surveillance is likewise concerned with the physical space between the observed and the observer, albeit this is often in terms of geographically greater or more technologically controlled distances. As in the real world situation, predictive profiling is also important, and, while the filmic version of bin Laden’s capture further rests on the seemingly intuitive conclusions of its female protagonist, Maya, this is reflective of the input of women CIA analysts in the search for him (Bergen, 2013: 77). Because it is a production based on real events, an analysis of the film offers opportunities to consider the implementation of real-world surveillance, the multiple forms that this can take, and its potential inadequacies as well as its increasing significance in combating terrorism.
    • Synoptic Surveillance in Zero Dark Thirty: Terrorism, Space and Identity

      Pheasant-Kelly, Frances; Flynn, Susan; Mackay, Antonia (Palgrave, 2017-07-23)
    • "The National Anthem", terrorism and digital media

      Pheasant-Kelly, Frances; McSweeney, Terence; Joy, Stuart (Palgrave, 2019-12-31)
    • The sexual signification of the gun in western film and television

      Pheasant-Kelly, Frances; Pheasant-Kelly, Frances (McFarland, 2016)
      After a century of reinvention and reinterpretation, Western movies continue to contribute to the cultural understanding of the United States. Western archetypes remain important emblems of the American experience, relating a complex and coded narrative about heroism and morality, masculinity and femininity, westward expansion and technological progress, and assimilation and settlement. In this collection of new essays, 21 contributors from around the globe examine the "cowboy cool" iconography of film and television Westerns-from bounty hunters in buckskin jackets to the seedy saloons and lonely deserts.
    • Towards a structure of feeling: Abjection and allegories of disease in science fiction', 'mutation' films

      Pheasant-Kelly, Frances (BMJ, 2016-08-10)
      This article considers differences between the representation of mutation in science fiction films from the 1950s and the present, and identifies distinctive changes over this time period, both in relation to the narrative causes of genetic disruption and in the aesthetics of its visual display. Discerning an increasingly abject quality to science fiction mutations from the 1970s onwards—as a progressive tendency to view the physically opened body, one that has a seemingly fluid interior–exterior reversal, or one that is almost beyond recognition as humanoid—the article connects a propensity for disgust to the corresponding socio-cultural and political zeitgeist. Specifically, it suggests that such imagery is tied to a more expansive ‘structure of feeling’, proposed by Raymond Williams and emergent since the 1970s, but gathering momentum in later decades, that reflects an ‘opening up’ of society in all its visual, socio-cultural and political configurations. Expressly, it parallels a change from a repressive, patriarchal society that constructed medicine as infallible and male doctors as omnipotent to one that is generally more liberated, transparent and equitable. Engaging theoretically with the concept of a ‘structure of feeling’, and critically with scientific, cinematic and cultural discourses, two post-1970s’ ‘mutation’ films, The Fly (1986) and District 9 (2009), are considered in relation to their pre-1970s’ predecessors, and their aesthetics related to the perceptions and articulations of the medical profession at their respective historic moments, locating such instances within a broader medico-political canvas.