Having made this argument, Lau also explains that the deep bond between mother and daughter in the story challenges Freud's Oedipal structure: "the avenging mother undercuts the importance of both vision (Freud) and language (Lacan) to psychoanalytic theories of the Oedipal phase
, castration anxiety and subjectivity" (35).
Later on, during the Oedipal phase
and under the threat of castration, the child may accept civilization's offer of a mother-surrogate as imaginative compensation for the loss of the mother.
According to Freudian theory, the Oedipal phase
takes place between the third and fifth years of a boy's life.
 Philip ostensibly never had the chance to work through his oedipal phase
with his mother dying shortly after his birth, making his newly kindled desire for her quite strong.
Although the Oedipal phase
is the same for both sexes insofar as it is held together by the fantasy of reanimating a totemic mother, boys and girls give up the object on entirely different hands.
(triangular): 'masculine' attachment--mother
According to Kristeva, the 'Imaginary Father' fulfills an archaic paternal function in the infant's mind, preceding chronologically the Oedipal phase
and even the 'mirror stage'.
He has never passed through the Oedipal phase
since he has no father to bury.
So while the ghost comedies feature gender stereotypes and heterosexual romance plots, the films also allow access to the feminine/maternal prior to the fixed gender identities of the Oedipal phase
. Indeed, the subtext of the genre is that "the masochist seeks to expel the father and glorify the mother" (54).