Unit 10. Gothic, Bromance, and Other Transnational Fascist Love Stories

This week we dwelled in the concepts of the Gothic (architectural, Medieval, literary) and Bromance as two key filmic narratives of transnational fascist, masculinist tales.  We explored how these two concepts shape an interplay of fascism and religiosity in post-Franco Spain.

Unit 11.  Gothic Bromance Renaissances.jpg

For this blogspot, consider these three question: One, how does a critique of the self (Gothic) entangled with a critique of masculinity (Bromance) contribute to a radical questioning of fascism and religiosity in the midst of fascist legacies and their signs in Spain? Two, how do hidden continuities provoke terror and laughter at once?  And three, how do new directions in film in the Spain of the 90s at once install and discard homoerotic relations between men, and classic religious iconographies and myths, thus questioning the very heart of traditional politics and religion?

Taking into account what we all read (Oria’s essay on Gothic and Bromance film narratives, Davies’ essay on Spanish Gothic, and Besas’ essay on the financial structure of films and their relation to Spain’s economics), answer ONE of the three questions posed above, and briefly discuss how that question and your answer are represented in one of Spain’s most poignant films about neofascism and neo-Nationalism: Alex de la Iglesia’s El día de la Bestia / Day of the Beast (1995).

This blogpost does not have a deadline; however, do not let blogging accumulate for the final days of classes, when you should be focusing on your final research project.

This is blogpost number 10. We have two more coming: one on Medem’s Lovers of the Arctic Circle, and the last one, on Medina’s Insensibles / Painless. Happy blogging!


  1. With the very recognizably Gothic visuals implemented into Alex de la Iglesia’s El día de la Bestia, as well as the less overt aspects of this genre that play with the boundaries of time and continuity, we have a juxtaposition of elements that create a classic Gothic film. Question 3 asks us to consider how the purposeful movement through the film gives the audiences a sense of terror and humor at the same time.
    As we spoke about in Thursday’s class, the time that it takes for the three main characters to move on from whatever sinful or malicious acts they have just committed in attempts to summon the devil, is absurd. After the priest has gone to draw the blood of the virgin Susana, he is suddenly being chased through this large, consuming, haunting house, and ends up throwing Jose Maria’s mother down multiple flights of stairs where she falls to her death; of course, any normal person, not to mention the holiest of people, the priest, would be in utter shock and pain after causing and witnessing a crime like this. What this film does is have this entire experience so fast paced and sudden, so that both the spectator and the priest, himself, aren’t even able to take a moment to process the immense loss right in front of their faces.
    Similarly, the camera movements and timing elements of the film really work to create humorous, ironic, and upsetting moments all at once. As the three main characters take the final steps of their ritual by entering this massive structure that represents the anti-christ or whatever is the opposite of the cross and Catholic church, they are shown racing the clock to finish their ritual and suddenly, the priest, standing erect between the two inclined columns; his face is completely battered and bruised, and of course, the area is ruinous as a reflection of the economic issues Spain was dealing with that inevitably paused many construction projects. Here, the camera really changes our perspectives in terms of what is supposed to be seen as something a Catholic person praises because the towers are being shown as being above the priest’s head rather than below.

  2. This week we watched Iglesia’s Day of the Beast, which uses gothic aesthetics and a bromance trope to tease apart facism and religiosity in Spain. The film centers on three men, Angel, Jose, and Cavan, who band together to provoke the Antichrist by committing evil across Madrid. Gothic aesthetics contrast with other religious aesthetics, deploying darkness and violence and converging “holiness” with subversion of religious principles. An unusual reworking of the nativity story, this film critiques Spain’s past as a church state by merging the holy and the sinful. Humor also plays a role, with the ironic nature of a priest committing sin against the innocent. This film sees a friendship and collaboration between these men, invoking the American “bromance” subgenre of comedy, with these men bonding in part through the act of violence. The bromance trope plays with homoeroticism, exploring where the line is drawn between friendship and homosexuality, and exploring the characters masculinity. This film includes some of these elements, but the glue between the men is their shared experiences with violence. If this is an exorcism of the Antichrist or the Church itself, it is unclear, but this film questions Spain’s relationship with religion in a humorous and interesting way.

  3. how do hidden continuities provoke terror and laughter at once?

    Comedies are my favorite genre of film and usually are good at highlighting social or political problems without causing arguments. However, when you were growing up in a fascist country with a dictatorship, these political problems become more serious. The day of the beast pokes fun at religiosity in Spain and how seriously people take it. A priest attempts to commit sins in order to kill the antichrist but these sins include murder and stealing someone’s blood. He even kills a baby. While the movie is framed around comedy and you often find yourself laughing during it, it can be scary to think about how far religious zealots would go to “protect their faith”. Especially during Franco, religiousness has always taken a big role in Spain. As the Catholic Church supported Franco when he rose to power the Catholic Church’s power only grew. This meant that religious morals and exceptions were further imposed on society in the public. The movie questioning religious nurses role in society can be scary. If you’re one who’s very strong in their faith it could even shake it as the movie comments on its true role. The day of the beast definitely provokes laughter but it can also provoke terror by questioning such a big part of society and Franco’s rule.

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