Edwards JD (2018) Its, Blobs and Things: Gothic Beings Out of Time. In: Edwards J & Hoglund J (eds.) B-Movie Gothic: International Perspectives. International Perspectives. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 17-31. https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-b-movie-gothic-hb.html
In this chapter, I examine American B-movies from the 1950s alongside the action of early twentieth-century US Gothic texts that frame Gothic monsters within the fundamental paradox of the unnameable Thing, an unknown life form that comes from a non-human temporal realm. The Thing thus gestures to a world outside of the subject wherein the ‘weird’ challenges us to revaluate existing norms and where the gaze from a particular human subject position loses its privileged place. The Thing replaces the subject with an object; or, better yet, subjectivity is superseded by the degraded ‘thingness’ of an object that has lost its use-value. To call the Gothic creature a Thing is to foreground a sense of disunity and incoherence when compared with the human experience, not just identifying it as a foreign entity, but also placing it in a nonhuman realm where it cannot speak for itself. Perhaps a better way to express this positioning is not in the word ‘nonhuman’ but in the word ‘unhuman’, which links it to the uncanny and the possibilities of something that will come back to haunt the human without it being fully integrated into humanity. In this respect, the unhuman is closely tied up with notions of alienation and anonymity and opens up the possibility of an alien subjectivity as a spectre that haunts any coherent sense of cohesion in the human self.