Latin American horror film with political potential

University of Gothenburg

Popular culture can contribute to shoring up prevailing power dynamics but also to actively subverting them. A thesis in film studies on feminised and racialised monsters inhabiting the big screen in Mexico and Argentina illustrates this.

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Valeria Villegas Lindvall

In her thesis, Valeria Villegas Lindvall investigated feminised and racialised monsters in Mexican and Argentine horror films, in particular the recurring representation of La Llorona (the Weeping Woman) and the bruja (the Witch).

The method she used has its roots in feminist and decolonial critique.

“When we look at feminised monstrosity, especially in connection with post-colonial societies, we also have to take a serious look at racism. In other words, I drew on decolonial thinkers, who argue that we cannot isolate gender as the sole marker of oppression, but rather that we must understand how it interacts and functions in combination with factors such as how race and class are constructed.

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Cover thesis

Photo: Érika Casab

In her thesis, Valeria Villegas Lindvall establishes a historical, textual and contextual analysis of these monsters through decades of weeping and cackling on the big screen. The study reflects on how popular culture can shore up power dynamics based on racism, misogyny and capitalism, but also how it can actively negotiate and subvert it.

The thesis opens up the possibility of looking beyond the exotic in Latin American horror film-making while highlighting the political potential of horror as a genre.

“While working on my thesis, I also had the extremely rewarding opportunity to develop its framework in the book Women Make Horror (Alison Peirse (ed.), 2020), and I hope that the spirit of these rebellious monsters continues to live on beyond the bounds of academia,” says Valeria Villegas Lindvall.

Her thesis Wicked women and witches. Subversive readings of the female monster in Mexican and Argentinian horror film was publicly defended in December 2021.

Link to the thesis: https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/69770

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