Hybrid Creatures and Monstrous Reproduction: The Multifunctional Grotesque in Alien: Resurrection

  • Henriikka Huunan-Seppälä
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Educational Futures book series (PSEF)


Huunan-Seppälä offers an original view on the relation between grotesque media imagery and society. Enlightening the needs the grotesque satisfies within the viewer, the chapter explores the variety of functions that grotesque monsters, bodies and violence perform within a representation. Through an analysis of a classic science fiction horror film, Alien: Resurrection (1997), Huunan-Seppälä demonstrates how grotesque imagery functions in dynamic interaction with cultural norms, taboos and ideals, redrawing the lines between what is considered as normal or abnormal, desirable or despicable. As discovered by the author, the grotesque may efficiently teach the valuation of otherness, incompleteness and humanity. The study of the grotesque may also enhance the ability to discern ideological meanings embedded in images.


  1. Bakhtin, M. (1984). Rabelais and his world (H. Iswolsky, Trans.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press. (Original work published 1965).Google Scholar
  2. Carroll, N. (2009). The grotesque today: Preliminary notes toward a taxonomy. In F. S. Connelly (Ed.), Modern art and the grotesque (pp. 291–311). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Carroll, G. (Producer), & Jeunet, J.-P. (Director). (1997). Alien: Resurrection [DVD]. United States: 20th Century Fox. (DVD: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2000).Google Scholar
  4. Creed, B. (1993). The monstrous-feminine: Film, feminism, psychoanalysis. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Creed, B. (2005). Phallic panic: Film, horror and the primal uncanny. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Creed, B. (2007). The neomyth in film: The woman warrior from Joan of Arc to Ellen Ripley. In S. Andris & U. Frederick (Eds.), Women willing to fight: The fighting woman in film (pp. 15–37). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars. Retrieved from
  7. Deleuze, G. (2005). Francis Bacon: The logic of sensation (D. W. Smith, Trans.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. (Original work published 1981).Google Scholar
  8. Douglas, M. (2002). Purity and danger: An analysis of concepts of pollution and taboo. London: Routledge. (Original work published 1966).Google Scholar
  9. Freud, S. (2010). The interpretation of dreams (J. Strachey, Ed. and Trans.). New York: Basic Books. (Original work published 1899).Google Scholar
  10. Homer, S. (2005). Jacques Lacan. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Huunan-Seppälä, H. (2018). Unfolding the unexpressed: The grotesque, norms and repressions. Doctoral dissertation. Helsinki: Aalto ARTS Books.Google Scholar
  12. Irigaray, L. (1991). The Irigaray reader: Luce Irigaray (M. Whitford, Ed.). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  13. Kayser, W. (1981). The grotesque in art and literature. New York: Columbia University Press. (Original work published 1957).Google Scholar
  14. Kristeva, J. (1982). Powers of horror: An essay on abjection (L. S. Roudiez, Trans.). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Lacan, J. (1999). On feminine sexuality: The limits of love and knowledge (J.-A. Miller, Ed.; B. Fink, Trans.). The seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XX, Encore 1972–1973. New York: W. W. Norton. (Original work published 1975).Google Scholar
  16. Oliver, K. (1993). Reading Kristeva: Unraveling the double-bind. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Ussher, J. M. (2006). Managing the monstrous feminine: Regulating the reproductive body. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Žižek, S. (1992). Looking awry: An introduction to Jacques Lacan through popular culture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henriikka Huunan-Seppälä
    • 1
  1. 1.Aalto UniversityEspooFinland

Personalised recommendations