Abstract||Although various film critics and academics have located the Gothic in Antipodean cinema, there has been no in-depth study of the Gothic and its ideological entanglements with postmodernism within this cinema. This study is divided into two parts and locates the (postmodern) Gothic in twelve Australian/New Zealand films ranging from Ted Kotcheff’s Wake in Fright (1971) to Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures (1994).
Part one theorizes the Gothic as a subversive cultural mode that foreshadows postmodernism in terms of its antithetical relationship with Enlightenment ideals. Interconnections are made between proto-postmodern aspects of early Gothic literature and the appropriation and intensification of these aspects in what has been dubbed the postmodern Gothic. The dissertation then argues that the Antipodes was/is constructed through Euro-centric discourse(s) as a Gothic/(proto)-postmodern space or place, this construction manifest in, and becoming intertwined with the postmodern in post 1970s Antipodean cinema.
In part two, a cross-section of Australian/New Zealand films is organized into cinematic sub-genres in line with their similar thematic preoccupations and settings, all films argued as reflecting a marked postmodern Gothic sensibility.
In its conclusion, the study finds that “Antipodean Gothic cinema”, particularly since the 1970s, can be strongly characterized by its combining of Gothic/postmodernist modes of representation, this convergence constitutive of a postmodernized version of the Gothic which is heavily influenced by Euro-centric constructions of the Antipodes in Gothic/(proto)-postmodern related terms.