Library Dissertation Showcase

Burned Out: how psychosis is visualised and represented in horror cinema and how these cinematic/semiotic techniques were used to inform and direct my own production

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2022

The aim of this thesis is to explore how ‘images of madness’ are communicated to the audience in an attempt to visually define psychosis, specifically in horror  cinema. As this is a practice-led thesis, the structure will follow a contextual history of its sections, such as representations’ role in film and the use of cinematic techniques to translate this to audiences in section one, and then applying this research into case studies of an existing film in comparison to my own practice. Section two then explores psychoanalysis’ function in devising semiotics in order for us to better understand psychosis from a narrative perspective in cinema, deriving expansions on Freud from several other theorists in the psychology and linguist fields, such as: Lacan, Creed, Saussure and Metz, to give context on its relation to visualisation, before again examining its usage in an existing film as well as my own practice. This thesis adopts an approach to psychosis’ representation through questioning its most effective visual techniques in order for audiences to help better understand this disorder as a whole, concluding with a discussion of whether the film produced for my graduation project utilises the filmic devices and intertextuality of psychoanalysis to its advantage and helps to shape the overall visual representation of psychosis in horror cinema.

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