This work provides an analysis of comedy and romantic ghost films. Using post-Freudian, Lacanian and feminist approaches, the book examines a range of popular films including "Heaven Can Wait", (1978). It outlines similarities between modern ghosts films and films from the 1930s and 1940s.
Giving Up the Ghost: Spirits, Ghosts and Angels in Mainstream Comedy Films by Katherine A. Fowkes
"Giving Up the Ghost" provides an in-depth analysis of comedy and romantic ghost films. Using post-Freudian, Lacanian and feminist approaches, "Giving Up the Ghost" examines a range of popular movies, including "Heaven Can Wait" (1978), "Truly, Madly, Deeply" (1991) and "Ghost" (1990). Katherine A. Fowkes outlines startling similarities among recent ghost films and films from the late 1930s and 1940s, speculating on the significance of ghosts and angels as subjects of film narrative. "Giving Up the Ghost" explores gender blurring to achieve an alternate conception of voyeurism and visual distance in cinema, linking films as diverse as the melodramatic "Always" (1986) and the comedy "Ghost Dad" (1990). Fowkes provides an analysis of films that traditionally have been overlooked by academics and popular critics as being "mere fantasy" and "fluff". She reveals a significant cinematic phenomenon that defines ghost films as a distinct and important genre related not only to fantasy, romance and comedy, but also to melodrama, occult and horror. A counterpoint to "body" genres, such as the slasher and male-focused action movies which focus obsessively on the physical body, ghost films take up an opposite strategy by engaging in a denial of the body. Emblematic of a cultural confusion with - or an insistence on working through - problems of gender, comedy ghost films can be related to horror films and other Hollywood genres through their common difficulty with gendered identities. Fowkes ultimately argues that the devices used in ghost films prove to be uniquely suited to a comic and romantic agenda, both visually and narratively. A creative, original work on a neglected genre of films, "Giving Up the Ghost" investigates the present popularity of comedy ghost films and explains their appeal to both male and female audiences.
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