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Child/Alien/Father: Patriarchal Crisis and Generic Exchange

Two very special babies were born to the American cinema in 1968: Rosemary’s and Stanley Kubrick’s. One was born in a horror film, the other in a science fiction film. One stared up from a cradle toward its earthly mother, the other down from space toward Mother Earth. Nonetheless, both the “devil’s spawn” and the “starchild” condensed the visible sight of cultural difference, social transformation, and historical movement into the single and powerful figure of a child-one marked as an enigma by virtue of its strange eyes, and estranged, alien vision. Both infants also signaled the replacement of previous generic displacements. Those exotic visual sites of horrific attraction and repulsion, and of utopian wonder and dystopian anxiety, which characterized and differentiated “traditional” horror and SF films were explicitly returned to American soil and to that domestic structure of social relations we call the nuclear family. Thus, despite their reversed visual perspectives and differing generic locations, the two newborns figured in Rosemary’s Baby and 2002: A Space Odyssey had a good deal in common. Born at-and as-the end or “final cause” of the narratives in which they were (re)produced, both babies not only infused a new flow of representational http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Camera Obscura Duke University Press

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