Adaptation of a Murder/Murder as Adaptation: The Parker-Hulme Case in Angela Carter’s 'The Christchurch Murder' and Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures
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: In 1954, Honora Parker was murdered by her daughter, Pauline, and her daughter’s best friend, Juliet Hulme. This article looks at the ways in which writers and filmmakers have depicted the story. It suggests that two such versions (Angela Carter’s ‘The Christchurch Murder’ and Peter Jacksons Heavenly Creatures) should be seen as adaptations and read in light of a series of intertextual references to the adapters’ wider bodies of work. Moreover, it suggests that Pauline and Juliet’s writing is integral to each adaptation of the case. The murder was imbricated in an increasingly complex set of fantasies recorded in the girls’ poetry and prose, and particularly in Pauline’s diaries. By centralising this document and the role played by writing in the lead-up to the crime, Carter and Jackson invoke a source text and, at the same time, tacitly introduce questions of authorship and agency.