Friday, April 10, 2009

FEMALE ARCHETYPES IN HORROR FILMS

Hello Out there DotW readers, my little video yesterday didn't include my conclusion [stupid college wireless uploads] but I included my e-mail address. I would like to get some input on things people would like to hear about, and recommendations for my Wednesday Woman of the Week. Contact me at BRITTNAHJADE@gmail.com Thank you so much for reading, and I always welcome comments and critiques :)

So I was just doing some thinking about the evolution of women in horror films. My most recent posts haven't been to woman-focused so I figured to get back into the swing of things. It seems that women have fallen into a handful of categories in which they exist in horror films. Now, this isn't to say that there aren't always exceptions to the rules, but I'm not worried about exceptions, or individual ideas. I'm more concerned on the common characteristics of a woman in the horror genre, the archetypes if you may.

1) WOMEN AS THE REASON FOR THE RAGE:
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So writers always have a conflicted relationship with the place in which they grew up, and slashers tend to have conflicted relationships with the women in their lives. Everything from poor Norman Bates and his whacked out mother or Judith Myers and her neglectful mocking older sister role to her little brother Michael. Women have the power to make people snap. Sometimes the women aren't even the ones to "drive" these men to madness, but don't do a good job at calming them down. Pamela Voorhees promoted Jason's killing spree. These women are so prominent that they are driving forces in these men's lives, even after these women have been killed off.

2) BOOBS TO KILL
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Everyone knows that the simplest way to survive a horror film is to NOT BE A SLUT. However, this rule was only invented because, there are prominent skanks in the horror genre. Maybe if Tina wasn't so disgusting in Nightmare on Elm Street, or that chick in F13 part 6[maybe] that get's split in two while riding some guy. Or in Halloween when Lynda gets killed off after flashing her tots, or yet another Tina in Halloween 5 in the midst of her roll, roll, roll in the hay. Easy enough, keep the girls in the shirt, and nobody gets hurt :)

3)TOUGH GIRL WITH FABULOUS LEGS.
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So contrasting to the skanks who show off their tots, we have the tough fighter types that always have legs that go on for days. I think there's an unwritten rule that if you're a hot chick fighting some scary figures, you have to either be wearing a dress, a skirt, short shorts, or leather pants. Alice in Resident Evil sports all three, Slack in Land of the Dead even goes as far as to rock some fishnets, Selene in Underworld has those "painted on" leather pants, Trash in Return of the Living Dead and even Jenny in I Spit On Your Grave [Day of the Woman] has some sassy legs on her raper killing self.

4) STUPID GIRL who does the obvious wrong thing...
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So everyone has once in the lifetime watched a horror movie and has had the "don't open the door!, or don't go out there!" moment. A good chuck of the time, its some dumb twat who isn't listening to your words of wisdom from behind the screen. Like Ash's stupid sister who gets raped by trees in Evil Dead, Paola Mernard in Zombi 2, that dumb girlfriend [can't remember her name, but you know who i'm talking about] in Return of the Living Dead, and Any female that isn't Sidney Prescott in the Scream series.


5) FEMALE KILLERS
-Sometimes we women get lucky and have some women that are plenty clever, plenty sexy, and plenty "going to kill the shit out of you". Pictured is one of my favorites [albeit the movie sucks] of Dodger in Cry_Wolf, but let us not forget about Karen Cooper in Night of the Living Dead, Countess Dracula, Angela Baker [kind of] in Sleepaway Camp, Irena in Cat People, Baby Firefly in House of 1000 Corpses/The Devils Rejects, and you know, that weirdo from Urban Legend.

 6) FINAL GIRLS
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So obviously I would save the best category for last, and obviously...Laurie Strode gets to have her picture on this entry twice. Final Girls are the eptiome of female characters in horror [not to mention a seriously sweet blog] They're the killers, the survivors, the virgins, THE ICONS! So thank-you Laurie Strode, Nancy Thompson, Sidney Prescott, Clarice Darling, Sarah Connor, Ellen Ripley, and hell even Clear Rivers for being s-s-survivors!

7 comment(s):

Alana said...

Oh, yes: horror films, as does religion, rewards virgins and punishes "sluts" loosely defined and open to debate. Horror films aren't so far from the morality you find in fairy tales and the bible and sometimes feel anti-female and quite backwards in their morality if you consider it's cool to go around hacking people up but not so cool to fuck. Go figure. At least Sarah Conner fucks and kicks ass. :-)

B-Sol said...

True--horror films, especially slashers can be surprisingly puritanical. John K. Muir, a great horror writer with a great blog, makes the excellent point that these Bible thumpers should look a little closer before they condemn them en masse lol....

gord said...

The chick split in two is from Jason Goes to Hell, or Friday Part 9.

BJ-C said...

Ah thankyou! I was looking everywhere for it and I couldn't figure it out!

Alana said...

B-Sol,

You bet. :-) One of my bible thumping relatives loves horror films, and for a long time I found this odd: how does a bible thumper condone, in fact dig, horror films? But as you've pointed out, horror films, especially slashers, are like fairy tales meant to scare us into purity and obedience. Otherwise, Jason will get you.

Peace,
A

B-Movie Becky said...

Like the archetypes you identified. There are a couple others I've noticed: The Fat or Nerdy Girl that everyone picks on and you think might be the killer, and The Best Friend (may fit into other categories as well, but she is different than the other "sluts")

Zacery Nova said...

Siigh, I love Urban Legend.

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