The article examines how Marcin Wrona’s Demon
(2015) reworks the Jewish myth of a dybbuk
in order to discuss how and to what extent a spectral haunting may disrupt acts of collective forgetting, which are in turn fueled by repression, repudiation, and ritualized violence. A part of a revisionist trend in Polish cinema, Demon
upsets the contours of national affiliations, and in doing so comments on the problematic nature of memory work concerning pre- and postwar Polish–Jewish relations. Because the body possessed by a female dybbuk is foreign and male, the film also underlines gendered aspects of possession, silencing, and story-telling. The article draws on Gothic Studies and horror cinema studies as well as Polish–Jewish studies in order to show how by deploying typical possession horror tropes Wrona is able to reveal the true horror—an effective erasure of the Jewish community, an act that needs to be repeated in order for the state of historical oblivion to be maintained.
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