By Kirsten Moana Thompson
The facility and presence of dread in contemporary American cinema.
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Additional info for Apocalyptic Dread: American Film at the Turn of the Millennium
Running outside, Leigh self-consciously wipes off her lipstick, as if suddenly deﬁled by the unknown watcher (later Danny will also wipe her mouth self-consciously after kissing Cady, in a parallel action which again links mother and daughter in their ambivalent desire for and repulsion to Cady). It is as if Cady’s supernatural ubiquity includes the power to enter into the intimate space of the family home and to recognize Leigh’s unconscious desire for someone other than her husband. The family are now in a state of siege—Cady’s surveillance has become the primary threat.
Indeed, screenwriter Wesley Strick’s transformation of Cady’s character for the remake self-consciously drew upon the very violence toward and murder of Jewish and African American activists that formed the bloody backdrop to the civil rights movement at the time of the ﬁrst Cape Fear’s release. ”9 As J. Hoberman suggested above, Strick’s purposeful rewriting of Cady’s character suggests the ambivalence of historical dread, embodying both violent racist Southern resistance to the civil rights movement, and also, in a displaced form, white fear about minorities who were demanding equal rights under the law (8).
Kersek expresses a pleasure in the savoring of fear, a fear that attaches to particular national historical repressions, and whose speciﬁc objects are Native American, Black, and Northerner. From William Faulkner to Carson McCullers, the Southern Gothic mobilized tropes of stolen land and bartered bodies, hidden burials and family secrets. Embedded in the past, Confederate and Union crimes repeatedly haunt RIVATE EYE 29 30 Apocalyptic Dread the narratives of the American Gothic, and in the disavowal of these traumas, historical memory becomes dread itself.
Apocalyptic Dread: American Film at the Turn of the Millennium by Kirsten Moana Thompson