Carmilla, Camilla: the influence of the Gothic on David Lynch's Mulholland Drive

Lindop, Samantha Jane (2014) Carmilla, Camilla: the influence of the Gothic on David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. M/C Journal, 17 4: 1-6.

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Author Lindop, Samantha Jane
Title Carmilla, Camilla: the influence of the Gothic on David Lynch's Mulholland Drive
Journal name M/C Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1441-2616
Publication date 2014-07-24
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 17
Issue 4
Start page 1
End page 6
Total pages 6
Place of publication Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia
Publisher Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
It is widely acknowledged among film scholars that Lynch’s 2001 neo-noir Mulholland Drive is richly infused with intertextual references and homages — most notably to Charles Vidor’s Gilda (1946), Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950), Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), and Ingmar Bergman’s Persona (1966). What is less recognised is the extent to which J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1872 Gothic novella Carmilla has also influenced Mulholland Drive. This article focuses on the dynamics of the relationship between Carmilla and Mulholland Drive, particularly the formation of femme fatale Camilla Rhodes (played by Laura Elena Harring), with the aim of establishing how the Gothic shapes the viewing experience of the film. I argue that not only are there striking narrative similarities between the texts, but lying at the heart of both Carmilla and Mulholland Drive is the uncanny. By drawing on this elusive and eerie feeling, Lynch successfully introduces an archetypal quality both to Camilla and Mulholland Drive as a whole, which in turn contributes to powerful sensations of desire, dread, nostalgia, and “noirness” that are aroused by the film. As such Mulholland Drive emerges not only as a compelling work of art, but also a deeply evocative cinematic experience. I begin by providing a brief overview of Le Fanu’s Gothic tale and establish its formative influence on later cinematic texts. I then present a synopsis of Mulholland Drive before exploring the rich interrelationship the film has with Carmilla.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Communication and Arts Publications
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Created: Wed, 17 Sep 2014, 15:32:47 EST by Ms Stormy Wehi on behalf of School of Communication and Arts