The Bad Sister

The Kitchen

Laura Mulvey’s and Peter Wollen’s film The Bad Sister, 1983, is a fantasy thriller based on a novel by Emma Tennant which was, in turn, a reworking of a 19th-century Gothic tale. Tennant switched the genders of the major protagonists, resulting in a narrative that came down in favor of the Devil/Vampire rather than God, contrary to the conventions of the original. In the film, Jane is the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy landowner. Along with her mother, she is disowned and expelled from his estates. She subsequently makes a new life in London, but becomes obsessed with memories of childhood, the image of her legitimate half-sister, and the mystery of her mother’s death. Through the agency of Meg, an enigmatic older woman with vampiric powers (and one of several “mother” images in the film), Jane is guided through dreamlike journeys in search of her own “truth.” From this archetypal hero

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