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Jean Chapiro

Fear of Monsters and Monsters of Fear: Beneath Repudium

Throughout history, fear has permeated humankind’s existence and has taken many shapes and forms. What if our biggest fear is not something extraordinary or dangerous like spiders and snakes or zombies and vampires? Can our monsters not be monstrous at all? What happens when our monsters are mundane and ordinary? Can we be afraid of a bowl of pasta? Or is there something hidden behind all that we fear? Using the tools of cognitive film theory and psychoanalysis, my project explores the ways in which film can be mobilized as a tool to confront and explore human fear.


When we allow our fear to run free and take hold of our imagination even a bowl of spaghetti can turn into a monster.

Repudium is a short film that combines animation and live-action in order to question the ephemeral nature of our fears and our imagination. The film’s narrative and aesthetic were inspired by the works of filmmakers such as Tim Burton, Henry Selick, and Guillermo del Toro. But beyond that, this project uses Sigmund Freud’s essay on The Uncanny in order to explore how beyond their unique stylistic attributes these filmmakers have been successful at creating an embodied sense of fear and horror through their narratives. By doing so, Repudium attempts to surpass its narrative grounding in my fear, a bowl of spaghetti, and enable it to become a tool or vehicle through which audiences will come into contact with their own fears. As such this film was not only created with the purpose of entertaining but rather with the deeper aim of creating a space and inviting viewers to confront their own inner monsters. And perhaps, as I did, they will realize that in reality what they had feared the most was just a product of their imagination.

Peter Decherney (CIMS)
Gregory Vershbow (VLST)