Blood Ties: Ursula Dabrowsky's Inner Demon

By Aronovitz, Michael | Metro Magazine, Autumn 2014 | Go to article overview

Blood Ties: Ursula Dabrowsky's Inner Demon

Aronovitz, Michael, Metro Magazine


Horror can be born of blood and guts, but, in the work of Ursula Dabrowsky, fear lingers--it's the bonds between family that bore into the psyche. Michael Aronovitz speaks to her about Inner Demon, the forthcoming second instalment in her Demon trilogy.

Horror films, if successful, do not make available some comprehensive sense of relief after the scare moments. They leave residue, and the conversation then broadens to style and substance. The idea of horror as a genre has become a slippery one--so riddled with the stigma left behind by cheap slashers, computer-generated aberrations, and the antiquated, almost stagnant portraits and regurgitations of werewolves, zombies, vampires and ghosts (not to mention witches, warlocks, mummies and water beasts) that the construct of that which brings terror lacks definition at its core. And considering all the subgenres and interlocking categories, spin-offs and subliminal counter-themes, we are inevitably left with a rather complicated lexicon that, by the patterns of its own complexity, seems to have been stretched too thin. The aftermath has slowly spread before us in the form of a void, and it is one we have met with no more than apathetic resignation.

This is a tragedy.

It is also a harsh reality, and modern filmmakers have to embrace horror as more of an element than a category, a signifier patterned into the broadcloth of character and theme as old-fashioned and pedagogical as that may sound. Horror is a spice. It is a toss of Habanero chilli and, while some might just prefer salt, the horror film director has to be careful not to fall too much in love with the flash and scorch of the condiment. After all, not many would be thrilled to eat a bowl of salt, let alone a plate of raw Habaneras (considering mass popular appeal, that is). In the end, it all comes down to story. What moves people? What plays out before them that somehow speaks to their experience and reconfigures it into some profound aesthetic testimony? Canadian-born filmmaker Ursula Dabrowsky would argue that the answer lies in the paradoxical family dynamic. And the second film in her Demon trilogy, Inner Demon (2014), promises us, its audience, a terrifying journey into the darkest places that lie between siblings and the cold patriarchal figures towering above them, casting shadows upon shadows, breath damp and heavy on the air, dirty fingers caressing the edge of the axe, toe-to-heel.

Dabrowsky studied film production at Montreal's Concordia University. After graduating in 1992, she moved to Adelaide, South Australia, and founded the independent film company Saylavee Productions. In 2006, she shot her first horror feature, Family Demons (2009), with an initial A$6500 budget, spending three years and a total of A$30,000 completing this dark and poetic vision of feminist beauty and familial rage. It is there that she initiated a fresh interpretation of the more traditional thematic paradigm scholars refer to as 'the persecuted maiden', and simultaneously established a filmic trademark best defined by texture, dynamics and timing.

Still, it would be a gross underestimation to come to the conclusion that Dabrowsky's appeal is solely defined by technical proficiency. True, the scare moments are visually and audibly engaging--and ultimately satisfying--yet she does not depend on them as mere buoys that dictate the direction of the plot. They are conduits to confrontations and perils more dramatically oriented, more centred on the soul than the shadow. By the same token, her debut effort--which tells the story of a blonde teenager (Cassandra Kane) who kills her abusive alcoholic mother (Kerry Reid) and is then haunted by her spirit--remains more than a film. It is a launching point for a new module of horror, intricate and disturbing, gritty and raw, vivid and personal. For it is not the stereotypical dark hallway that Dabrowsky pushes us down, but rather our own buried corridors, the twisted avenues deep inside the haunt of our secret repressions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Blood Ties: Ursula Dabrowsky's Inner Demon


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.