The curse and the chora: The double-bind of the choraic conduit in Angel and Penny Dreadful

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Tembo, Kwasu D.
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Film and Screen Media, University College Cork
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Referring to the work of Julia Kristeva, this article seeks to perform a comparative analysis between Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), as she appears within the remit of Joss Whedon and David Greenwalts’s Angel (1999–2004), and Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) in John Logan’s Penny Dreadful (2014–2016). Taking each character as a case study, this article seeks to elucidate the precarious subject positions of central female leads in a team/ensemble horror television series in order to assess whether or not and how the portrayal and characterisation thereof has changed over two decades. To do so, this article employs a theoretical framing that examines the question of agency and power by assessing both characters as what I will call “Choraic conduits”. As such, both characters’ relation, manipulation of/by, and mediation of the supernatural as envisaged and presented in their respective diegetic worlds are analysed in themselves and comparatively against one another. Key concerns here are the questions and problems surrounding each character’s agency over her powers and the supernatural/spiritual realm(s) from which they emerge, as well as the psycho-physical and symbolic consequences of not only the possession of their respective powers, but the micro and macroscopic consequences of how they are used in their respective diegetic worlds.
Chora , Kristeva , Horror , Sexuality , Curse , Conduit
Tembo, K. D. (2021) 'The curse and the chora: The double-bind of the choraic conduit in Angel and Penny Dreadful', Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, 20, pp. 104-118. doi: 10.33178/alpha.20.08