Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Women and Haunted Houses in the Films of Jaume Balagueró: The Nightmares of Presence

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2019), 96, (6), 641–653.

Abstract

Jaume Balagueró has developed a successful resumé of horror films that show a decided preference for the classic Gothic motif of the haunted house and the Gothic heroine who investigates its interior. This paper touches first on the Derridean concept of ‘dreams of presence’ (as theorized by cultural geographer Mitch Rose), in order to propose the ‘nightmares of presence’ in which the relationship, the call to care or commitment, between the subject and the space in which the subject dwells or moves, is Gothicized but nonetheless remains to tie the subject to the space concerned. It then focuses on Balagueró’s Los sin nombre, Frágiles/ Fragile and [REC] to consider three very different Gothic heroines: the mother of a dead daughter, a nurse in a children’s hospital, and a television reporter. The antagonistic call to care of the ‘nightmare of presence’ will be used to interrogate spatial aspects of the Gothic heroine.

Jaume Balagueró ha desarrollado un grupo de películas exitosas que demuestra una preferencia por el escenario clásico de lo gótico; tanto la casa encantada como la heroína gótica que la investiga. Este artículo estudia en primer lugar el concepto derrideano de ‘los sueños de presencia’ (según la teoría del geógrafo cultural Mitch Rose), para proponer ‘las pesadillas de presencia’ en que el vínculo, la llamada al compromiso, entre el sujeto y el espacio en que se mueve o que habita, llega a ser ‘gotizado’; pero aún así fija al sujeto en el espacio relevante. El argumento se centra en Los sin nombre, Frágiles y [REC] para considerar tres heroínas distintas: la madre de una hija muerta, una enfermera en un hospital para niños, y una locutora de un programa televisivo. La llamada antagonista de ‘las pesadillas de presencia’ se usa para interrogar los aspectos espaciales de la heroína gótica.

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Works cited

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Bachelard, Gaston, 2014 [1964]. The Poetics of Space, trans. Maria Jolas (New York: Penguin). Google Scholar

Botting, Fred, 2002. ‘Aftergothic: Consumption, Machines, and Black Holes’, in The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, ed. Jerrold E. Hogle (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 277–300. Google Scholar

Clover, Carol J., 1992. Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film (Princeton: Princeton University Press). Google Scholar

Davies, Ann, 2016. Contemporary Spanish Gothic (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press). Google Scholar

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar, 2000. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven: Yale University Press). Google Scholar

Martin, Rebecca E., 1998. ‘“I Should Like to Spend My Whole Life in Reading It”: Repetition and the Pleasure of the Gothic’, Journal of Narrative Technique, 28.1: 75–90. Google Scholar

Monnet, Agnieszka Soltysik, 2015. ‘Body Genres, Night Vision and the Female Monster: REC and the Contemporary Horror Film’, in Monstrous Media/ Spectral Subjects: Imaging Gothic Fictions from the Nineteenth Century to the Present, ed. Fred Botting and Catherine Spooner (Manchester: Manchester University Press), pp. 143–56. Google Scholar

Morgan, Jack, 2002. The Biology of Horror: Gothic Literature and Film (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press). Google Scholar

Ng, Andrew Hock Soon, 2015. Women and Domestic Space in Contemporary Gothic Narratives: The House as Subject (New York: Palgrave Macmillan). Google Scholar

Olivares Merino, Julio Ángel, 2011. Jaume Balagueró: en nombre de la oscuridad (Madrid: Akal). Google Scholar

Pueyo, Víctor, 2017. ‘After the End of History: Horror Cinema in Neoliberal Spain (2002–2013)’, in Tracing the Borders of Spanish Horror Cinema and Television, ed. Jorge Marí (New York: Routledge), pp. 141–60. Google Scholar

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Filmography

La cara oculta/ The Hidden Face. 2011, dir. Andrés Baiz (Avalon; Cactus Flower; Dynamo; FIP). Google Scholar

Darkness. 2002, dir. Jaume Balagueró (Castelao Producciones; Dimension Films; Fantastic Factory; Filmax; Via Digital). Google Scholar

Frágiles/ Fragile. 2005, dir. Jaume Balagueró (Castelao Producciones; Future Films; Just Films). Google Scholar

Mientras duermas/ Sleep Tight. 2011, dir. Jaume Balagueró (Castelao Producciones; Coser y Cantar; Cubica; Filmax; ICIC; ICAA; Canal+ España; TV3, TVE). Google Scholar

NO-DO/ The Haunting. 2009, dir. Elio Quiroga (Eqlipse Producciones Cinematográficas). Google Scholar

Los ojos de Julia/ Julia’s Eyes, 2011, dir. Guillem Morales (Antena 3 Films; Canal+ España; Catalan Films & TV; ICIC; ICAA; Mesfilms; Rodar y Rodar; TV3, Universal Pictures). Google Scholar

El orfanato/ The Orphanage. 2007, dir. J. A. Bayona (Esta Vivo; Grupo Rodar; Rodar y Rodar; Telecinco; TV3; Warner; Wild Bunch). Google Scholar

The Others/ Los otros. 2001, dir. Alejandro Amenábar (Cruise/Wagner; Sogecine; Las Producciones del Escorpión). Google Scholar

Para entrar a vivir/ To Let. 2006, dir. Jaume Balagueró (Estudios Picasso; Filmax; Telecinco; ICIC; Castelao Productions). Google Scholar

[REC]. 2007, dir. Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza (Castelao Producciones; Filmax; ICAA; IDO; ICF; ICIC; TVE; Canal+ España). Google Scholar

[REC]2. 2009, dir. Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza (Filmax; TVE; Canal+ España; Castelao; ICIC; ICO). Google Scholar

[REC]4: Apocalypse. 2014, dir. Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza (Filmax; TVE; Canal+ España; Castelao; ICIC; ICO). Google Scholar

Los sin nombre/ The Nameless. 1999, dir. Jaume Balagueró (Filmax; P. C. Joan Ginard). Google Scholar

La cara oculta/ The Hidden Face. 2011, dir. Andrés Baiz (Avalon; Cactus Flower; Dynamo; FIP). Google Scholar

Darkness. 2002, dir. Jaume Balagueró (Castelao Producciones; Dimension Films; Fantastic Factory; Filmax; Via Digital). Google Scholar

Frágiles/ Fragile. 2005, dir. Jaume Balagueró (Castelao Producciones; Future Films; Just Films). Google Scholar

Mientras duermas/ Sleep Tight. 2011, dir. Jaume Balagueró (Castelao Producciones; Coser y Cantar; Cubica; Filmax; ICIC; ICAA; Canal+ España; TV3, TVE). Google Scholar

NO-DO/ The Haunting. 2009, dir. Elio Quiroga (Eqlipse Producciones Cinematográficas). Google Scholar

Los ojos de Julia/ Julia’s Eyes, 2011, dir. Guillem Morales (Antena 3 Films; Canal+ España; Catalan Films & TV; ICIC; ICAA; Mesfilms; Rodar y Rodar; TV3, Universal Pictures). Google Scholar

El orfanato/ The Orphanage. 2007, dir. J. A. Bayona (Esta Vivo; Grupo Rodar; Rodar y Rodar; Telecinco; TV3; Warner; Wild Bunch). Google Scholar

The Others/ Los otros. 2001, dir. Alejandro Amenábar (Cruise/Wagner; Sogecine; Las Producciones del Escorpión). Google Scholar

Para entrar a vivir/ To Let. 2006, dir. Jaume Balagueró (Estudios Picasso; Filmax; Telecinco; ICIC; Castelao Productions). Google Scholar

[REC]. 2007, dir. Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza (Castelao Producciones; Filmax; ICAA; IDO; ICF; ICIC; TVE; Canal+ España). Google Scholar

[REC]2. 2009, dir. Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza (Filmax; TVE; Canal+ España; Castelao; ICIC; ICO). Google Scholar

[REC]4: Apocalypse. 2014, dir. Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza (Filmax; TVE; Canal+ España; Castelao; ICIC; ICO). Google Scholar

Los sin nombre/ The Nameless. 1999, dir. Jaume Balagueró (Filmax; P. C. Joan Ginard). Google Scholar

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