Projecting phantasy: the spectre in cinema
thesisposted on 17.02.2017 by McRae, Donna Leanne
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
This research project explores various ghosts of cinema. The studio component is a feature film Johnny Ghost (76 minutes, B&W, 2011) which explores ‘cryptic incorporation’, in which grieving is left incomplete. The lead character, Millicent, is a professional musician who lectures in music at a university. She is also a recovering alcoholic who has a commemorative tattoo stretching across her shoulder. When she finally decides to remove it, she encounters ghosts of her post-punk past who won’t let her move on. In the accompanying exegesis, other types of cinematic ghost are considered; from the spectral beings engineered to thrill us with fear to the ghosts of memory and regret, and the ethereal emanations that film itself inevitably contains. I argue that the experience of watching a long dead actor enacting a supernatural narrative on the screen is strangely ironic, given that the actors themselves fit the exact definition of a ghost.