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Cutting through the fourth wall: The violence of home invasion in Michael Haneke’s Funny Games

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The home is central to the western imaginary. It is of foundational importance to the shaping of identity. It is where we begin to construct the story of ourselves and where we first learn to navigate space. Yet, it is also a site of shadows and fear, of hidden desires and ambivalence. Within the cinematic home invasion genre, this is heightened by the presence of an antagonistic Other. They render all categorically interstitial. As with the Lacanian notion of extimité, the invading Other confuses interior and exterior boundaries. In Michael Haneke’s (1997 original and 2007 remake) Funny Games, this is further problematized by the lead antagonist’s movement between the diegetic world and that of the viewer. This article examines this fourth wall breaking and unpacks how the audience’s consumption of violent media is critiqued as the lines between the home of the film and that of the viewing audience become blurred.
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Keywords: crime film; domestic space; home invasion; representations of violence; the Other; uncanny

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Greenwich

Publication date: 2017-04-01

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  • Horror Studies intends to serve the international academic community in the humanities and specifically those scholars interested in horror. Exclusively examining horror, this journal will provide interested professionals with an opportunity to read outstanding scholarship from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including work conceived as interdisciplinary. By expanding the conversation to include specialists concerned with diverse historical periods, varied geography, and a wide variety of expressive media, this journal will inform and stimulate anyone interested in a wider and deeper understanding of horror
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