Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018), an adaptation of the long running Sabrina comic book series by Archie Comics, uses tropes and motifs of both the Gothic and Fantasy to create a liberal gaze at numerous points within season one. The liberal audience watches as the conservative villains are often and repeatedly subjected to minor horrors which the protagonists, with whom the audience primarily identifies and feels embodied by, escapes largely unscathed. Only the major horrors of the series, which drive the narrative, is felt by Sabrina and her friends. Laura Mulvey in ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ (1975), argued for a dualistic male gaze which, from behind the camera, subjugated its female subjects in two specific ways: voyeurism, which saw the punishment of women through pain, be it emotional or physical; and scopophilia, in which women were eroticised to fulfil the fantasies and desires of male spectators. Now 45 years later, I argue that with the move towards an increasingly liberal society we have seen the creation of a liberalised gaze, which in contrast to the gaze that subjugates women, targets the prejudiced and discriminatory and as such effects the use of Horror within series such as Chilling Adventures.

About the speaker

Luke Turley is a first-year PhD student at Lancaster University. His thesis focuses on magic and 21st Century politics in Contemporary Fantasy and he is currently writing a chapter which considers the representation of Feminism in Fantasy and the impact of magical systems on patriarchal structures. His wider research interest includes Fantasy, Science Fiction and the Gothic across a variety of media.

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