Body in a bed, body growing dead: uncanny women in Joe D'Amato's exploitation cinema

Xavier Mendik

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


This article represents the first theoretical study of the prolific Italian director Joe D’Amato (AKA Aristide Massaccesi). In this study, I argue that D’Amato’s output of over 190 films were united by the extreme representations of sexuality, voyeurism and violence which can be theorised via recent revisions of Freud’s work on the unheimliche. By adapting this work from its traditional domain of Gothic literature, I argue that key features in a range of D’Amato's works (such as themes of morbid loving, fetishisation of dead love objects and the eroticisation of maternal substitutes), contemporise the unresolved primal traumas that underpinned Freud’s analysis of fictional works such as ‘The Sand Man’. The closing section of my analysis (entitled ‘A Historical Unheimliche’), considers the extent to which Massaccesi’s cycle of erotic dramas also add an unsettling element of historical reflection though a series of narratives that outline issues of morbid sexuality within a 1940s Italian fascist context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCinema inferno: celluloid explosions from the cultural margins
EditorsRobert G. Weiner, John Cline
Place of PublicationMaryland
PublisherScarecrow Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780810876569
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


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