You are startled, it has come down to the last woman, tattered clothes, breast falling out over the place, and the scream that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. You have just sat through a typical slasher movie where there was a group of sex crazed teenagers out camping were they probably should not have been. The first ones to get massacred; are the first ones who wandered off in to the woods to get busy with each other. All of them are met with the same fate, except for the one who is pure, waiting for Mr. Right to marry her. She becomes the sole survivor that gets chased all over the place and barley escapes at the very last minute.
Almost every horror/slasher film follows the same old rules that have been in place sense the beginning of the typical slasher film. What makes audiences want to watch the same plot of a movie over and over again? Why is it that they use same type of woman to be the sole survivor in every one of these films, are they essentially the same? For the movie to work and be popular it has to follow the set guide lines set forth by dated horror movies. It is these rules that are followed that keeps us coming back over and over again to watch the same movie.
The movie “Death Proof” is an attempt to recreate the old double feature, grind house movies that were shown at the drive inn’s all over America. The only difference is the rules are changed and we get a different experience of the typical slasher movie. The question is what has changed and why, do we like it? Many people have given their input about what does the gender role play in a slasher film? We are going to explore the thoughts of some of these authors and try to figure out what they mean.
Linda Williams article, “Gender, Genre, and Excess” state that there three things that you need to take into consideration when talking about slasher films, sex, violence, and emotion. She goes on to tell us that all three of these subjects are relevant in our infamous slasher films. Without one, the others can’t stand alone, and if they do it makes for a bad film. Linda argues that, This argument holds that when the girl-victim of a film like Halloween finally grabs the phallic knife, or ax, or chain saw to turn the tables on the monster-killer, that viewer identification shifts from an abject terror gendered feminine to an active power with bisexual components. A gender confused monster is foiled, often symbolically castrated by an androgynous, final girl. (7)
It seems that all of these slasher films have this in common. The masculine, non-sexual women ends up as the last survivor that has to battle through an eternity of torture to either kill the monster, or at the last minute get away with not much of their life intact. Is this formula so popular because these movies are geared towards men and not women? Do men get excited by the torture of women and leave the movie all wound up and ready to tackle the world, I think this holds a little bit of water, and this why these films are made the same way over and over again. Does “Death Proof” fall into this generalization, yes and no? I n the beginning it has the right formula, but then things get twisted.
Barry S. Sapolsky in is article, “Sex and Violence in Slasher Films: Reexamining the Assumptions” argues that the amount of violence acts against women and also the amount of time women spent being tortured in slasher films is increasing over time. The amount of sexual behavior is also more prominent as time passes; this seems to make for enjoyable slasher films. Sapolsky goes on to state, “The present study revealed that screen time devoted to females in fear was significantly longer than that for males. Slasher films in the 1990s feature females in terror more than two and-one-half times longer than males” (10). He also backs this up with, “The latest generation of slasher films contains more acts of violence, and it focuses on victims in terror for longer...
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