Heller-Nicholas 2009 Rape

Title Information

Author: Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Title: Last Trope on the Left

Subtitle: Rape, Film and the Melodramatic Imagination

Journal: Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

Volume: 15

Issue: -

Year: 2009

Pages: 13 pages

ISSN: 1324-4558 – Find a Library: Open Access Journal

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | Swedish History, U.S. History | Representations: Films / The Last House on the Left (1972), L'ultimo treno della notte, The Virgin Spring; Victims: Revenge

Full Text

Link: Limina (Free Access)

Additional Information

Abstract: »Filmic rape is shrouded by a distinct moral fuzziness as it attempts to cross the divide between the represented and the real. Last House on the Left (Wes Craven, 1972) and Night Train Murders (Aldo Lado, 1974) are horror remakes of Ingmar Bergman's art classic, The Virgin Spring (Sweden, 1960). Pivotal moral messages are hidden within these texts – what Brooks refers to as the ‘moral occult’ – in order to satisfy the construction of the melodramatic framework. A comparative analysis of the ‘moral occult’ active within these three films suggests that despite the shift of genre, audience, eras of production and core thematic concerns, these texts are haunted by their own capacity for the representation of the rape act. The moralities that manifest across these three films are as complex as the representational apparatus itself: although three variations on the same basic plot, each locates its moral occult in dramatically varying locations. This pertains directly to the manner in which each text engages with the realities of sexual violence as an active, everyday phenomenon.« (Source: Limina)


  Rape and Melodrama (p. 2)
  The Moral Occult in The Virgin Spring (Bergman, 1960), Last House on the Left (Craven, 1972) and Night Train Murders (Lado, 1974) (p. 4)
  Appendix (p. 11)
  Notes (p. 12)

Wikipedia: Rape and revenge film: The Last House on the Left (1972 film), L'ultimo treno della notte, The Virgin Spring

Added: March 7, 2015 – Last updated: March 7, 2015