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The Cultural Capital of the Gothic Horror Adaptation: The Case of Dario Argento’s The Phantom of the Opera and Dracula 3D

Aldana Reyes, X (2017) The Cultural Capital of the Gothic Horror Adaptation: The Case of Dario Argento’s The Phantom of the Opera and Dracula 3D. The Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies, 5 (2). pp. 229-244. ISSN 2047-7368

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Abstract

Dario Argento is the best-known living Italian horror director, but despite this, his career is perceived to be at an all-time low. I propose that the nadir of Argento’s filmography coincides, in part, with his embrace of the gothic adaptation, and that at least two of his late films, The Phantom of the Opera (1998) and Dracula 3D (2012), are borne out of the tensions between his desire to achieve auteur status by choosing respectable and literary sources as his primary material and the bloody and excessive nature of the product that he has come to be known for. My contention is that to understand the role that these films play within the director’s oeuvre, as well as their negative reception among critics, it is crucial to consider how they negotiate the dichotomy between the positive critical discourse currently surrounding gothic cinema and the negative one applied to visceral horror.

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