Capturing ghosts and making them speak : genre and the Asian horror film remake.
This thesis takes up the genre of the “Asian horror film remake” as a nexus for the illustration of the intersection between two significant theoretical perspectives that inform contemporary film theory: Lacanian psychoanalysis and Deleuzian transcendental empiricism. It employs concepts such as Lacan’s registers of the Real and Symbolic alongside Deleuze (and Guattari’s) theories on the actual present and the virtual past to interrogate terms such as ‘originality’, ‘authenticity’, ‘repetition’, and ‘difference’ in an attempt to account for the role of genre in the production of meaningful reality, both within the bounds of the text and in cultural life more generally. It first deconstructs the term genre as it has been employed throughout classical, structuralist and post-structuralist genre theory, in order to reveal its ephemeral nature, and to show it to be worthy of investigation in its own right as a central component of language, more than simply a critical tool. It goes on to elaborate the contingency of discourse that constructs verisimilitudinous reality, and explicates these ideas through analysis of the Asian horror remake films. It then turns to Lacan’s division between the registers of the Symbolic and the Real in order to explore the function of the repetition that is visible in generic film in relation to the subject’s experience of a coherent and authentic reality. Finally, it proceeds to engage with Deleuze’s ideas regarding virtuality and asignification and argues, with reference to the Asian horror remake, that it is the perpetual tension between sameness and difference that sustains meaningful life.