Swallow You Whole: The Jurassic Park Franchise, Eco-Horror and the Devouring Gothic
Keywords:Dinosaurs, Consuming, Eco-horror, Gothic, Nature
The Jurassic Park franchise is primarily thought of as an adventure series, yet the horror genre is invoked through themes of “mad science” and resurrected “monsters” alongside inevitable death and dismemberment. Although displaced genetically-altered dinosaurs are the primary antagonists, they are only agents for bigger threats of toxic Nature and environmental revolt. Much like the monsters of traditional horror films, Nature in Jurassic Park cannot be destroyed or bent to the will of civilisation. It is malicious, insidious and all-consuming; it cannot be denied or contained. Life, as Dr Malcolm infamously puts it, finds a way. This paper explores various ecohorror tropes present throughout the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films (1993—2022), primarily Jurassic Park (1993), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) and Jurassic World: Dominion (2022). It argues that the films’ engagement with the Gothic restores the dinosaurs’ agency, moving them from marginalised Other to a species that humankind must respect and protect in order to survive in a shared world. Furthermore, it suggests that one of the biggest threats to the protagonists stems from the franchises’ portrayal of Nature as a devouring entity, not only in the form of dinosaurs and animal horror, but in indifferent plant-life, hazardous weather and hostile landscapes. Despite its desperate attempts to create, contain and control Nature, humankind must be de-centred and the hierarchy of human and non-human destabilised in order to promote balance and co-existence. The Jurassic films show what happens when humans harmfully interfere with Nature, and Nature—quite literally—bites back.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Catherine Pugh
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.