Fear of the Other: The Horror Genre in Polanski's Repulsion, The Tenant, and Rosemary's Baby

Devon Supeene

Abstract


This paper explores the use of the horror genre in Roman Polanski’s Repulsion [1965], The Tenant [1976] and Rosemary’s Baby [1968] in order to call attention to societal fears of the Other. Taking Robin Wood’s definition, the Other is what society has oppressed and repressed, whether consciously or unconsciously, including women, different cultures, different ethnic groups, deviations from sexual norms, and children. Polanski takes societal fears of everyday life as inspirations for his horror films, expressing these fears as psychological anxieties of his protagonists and then projects the mental states of his characters back onto the world through the gothic imagery of his films. In doing so, Polanski brings to the fore what society has unconsciously repressed, namely fear of the Other, subverting dominant social norms.

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