Dreams, Nightmares and Haunted Houses: Televisual Horror as Domestic Imaginary

Ruth Griffin


It has been widely proclaimed that U.S.Television is currently experiencing a Golden Age with horror at its vanguard, in part enabled by technological innovations that have seen audiences engage with TV in ever more diverse ways, enabled by the advent of Smart T.V. Meanwhile, television has historically positioned itself as a humble and domesticated medium and yet its increasingly sophisticated channels penetrate into the very heart of the contemporary home.
With this in mind, I view Suburban Gothic TV series such as American Horror Story (2011) and Hemlock Grove (2013) through the lens of psychoanalytic concepts such as The Uncanny, considering the extent to which such dramas invoke the dark side of the domestic imaginary which haunts that most cherished of spaces, the home. Why does Gothic Horror continue to engage the imaginations of the contemporary home’s technologically orientated inhabitants? And how has technology helped to drive the resurgence of a genre so firmly rooted in a historical-literary form? These are just some of the questions that this article explores.


Domestic imaginary; suburban gothic; television horror; the uncanny

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7413/22818138048


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