Portrait of Dr Frances Kamm

Dr Frances Kamm



Frances completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Kent, at Canterbury, where she graduated with a BA (Hons) in English and American Literature and Film Studies.  The following year she completed her MA in Film Studies at the same institution, with her dissertation performing a reading of David Lynch’s Lost Highway with Freud’s ‘The Uncanny’.  

Frances returned to Kent in 2010 to begin her PhD which she completed in 2015 with a thesis entitled ‘The Technological Uncanny and the Representation of the Body in Early and Digital Cinema’. 

Her research interests include: film history and early cinema; technological developments in the film medium; digital cinema and animation; theories of the uncanny; and the experience of cinema.



  • Kamm, F. (2019). A “fascinating conundrum of a movie”: Gothic, Horror and Crimson Peak (2015). The Revenant [Online]. Available at: http://www.revenantjournal.com/contents/a-fascinating-conundrum-of-a-movie-gothic-horror-and-crimson-peak-2015-frances-a-kamm/#sthash.ILN6X00U.dpbs.
    When Crimson Peak was released in 2015, reviews of the film reflected upon the difficulty in categorizing Guillermo del Toro’s latest project, with one critic concluding that the film’s complex generic referencing made it a ‘fascinating conundrum of a movie’. Of particular significance is the film’s relationship to horror, a debate underlined by the director’s insistence that the film is ‘not a horror movie’ but, rather, a ‘Gothic romance’, the latter of which is anchored in del Toro’s contextualization of the film within the traditions of the Female Gothic. However, Crimson Peak’s evocation of the Female Gothic is, this paper will argue, particularly complex: in contrast to the clear distinction del Toro suggests exists between horror and the Gothic in relation to this film, I argue that Crimson Peak ambiguously combines both, complicating its own employment of Female Gothic tropes through the inclusion of ghosts and, most significantly, in coding these supernatural occurrences as moments of horror. This blending is evident on narrative and stylistic levels and has several consequences: in particular, the use of tactics more usually associated with horror re-defines the alignment between heroine and spectator central to a Female Gothic story; disgust and fear are aligned with other female characters; and the story’s depiction of the villainous male is ambiguously concluded. Through the close analysis of the film’s story, tone and visual address, this paper will illuminate some part of the ‘conundrum’ which is Crimson Peak – a mystery rooted in the film’s relationship to the Gothic.

Book section

  • Kamm, F. (2019). The Gothic in Space: Genre, Motherhood and Aliens (1986). In: Jeffers McDonald, T. E. L. and Kamm, F. A. eds. Gothic Heroines on Screen: Representation, Interpretation and Feminist Enquiry. London: Routledge.
  • Kamm, F. (2019). There’s a ghost in my house”: The Female Gothic and the Supernatural in What Lies Beneath (2000). In: Holland, S., Shail, R. and Gerrard, S. eds. Gender and Contemporary Horror in Film. Bingley: Emerald Publishing. Available at: https://books.emeraldinsight.com/page/detail/Gender-and-Contemporary-Horror-in-Film/?k=9781787698987.

Edited book

  • Jeffers McDonald, T. and Kamm, F.A. eds. (2019). Gothic Heroines on Screen: Representation, Interpretation and Feminist Enquiry. London: Routledge.
    Gothic Heroines on Screen explores the translation of the literary Gothic heroine on screen, the potential consequences of these adaptations, and contemporary interpretations of the form.

    Each chapter illuminates the significance of this moving image mediation, relating its screen topics to their various historical, social, and geographical moments of production, while maintaining a focus on the key figure of the investigating woman. Many chapters – perhaps inescapably – delve into the point of adaptation: the Bluebeard story and du Maurier’s Rebecca as two key examples. Moving beyond the Old Dark House that frequently forms both the Gothic heroine’s backdrop and her area of investigation, some chapters examine alternative locations and their impact on the Gothic heroine, some leave behind the marital thriller to explore what happens when the Gothic meets other genres, such as comedy, while others travel away from the usual Anglo-American contexts to European ones.

    Throughout the collection, the Gothic heroine’s representation is explored within the medium, which brings together image, movement, and sound, and this technological fact takes on varied significance. What does remain constant, however, is the emphasis on the longevity, significance, and distinctiveness of the Gothic heroine in screen culture.

Edited journal

  • Jeffers McDonald, T.E.L. and Kamm, F.A. eds. (2019). Gothic Feminisms. The Revenant [Online]. Available at: http://www.revenantjournal.com/issues/gothic-feminisms-guest-editors-frances-kamm-and-tamar-jeffers-mcdonald/#sthash.810TJ5Rz.dpbs.


  • Kamm, F. (2016). Review of Women and the Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion, ed. by Avril Horner and Sue Zlosnik Horner, A. and Zlosnik, S. eds. Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies [Online]:120-123. Available at: https://irishgothicjournal.net/copyright/issues/the-irish-journal-of-gothic-and-horror-studies-15-autumn-2016/.
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