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Showing posts from March, 2010

Woman 1, Monster 0 - The "Final Girl"

This paper was written in 2001 as part of my "plan of concentration" at Marlboro College . This particular paper was paired with a film festival, both to be evaluated by an outside examiner (who happened to be the fantastically talented Steve Bissette ). Just briefly: the final girl is the ‘masculinized’ surviving female character in horror films – the character appeared in 1974 with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The final girl ‘replaced’ the stereotypical ‘girly-girls’ of earlier horror films. The helpless women of early horror and the dominant women of more recent horror are almost binary; they are either entirely weak or exceptionally strong. Over the years the final girl character has matured into a more balanced – and realistic – representation of women. Obviously, there have been cultural changes since than that ARE NOT reflected here. When I am less intimidated by my own writing, I will endeavor to update the following... until then, enjoy. Despite

Slashers, Psychos, & The Guy Next Door

There is a power to blood. It has an emotional impact unlike any other substance on Earth. - H.G. Lewis (1) The basic nature of life – that it is finite – is initial indication enough as to why people are consumed with a need to talk about, look at, and deal with death. A corollary of that statement addresses a secondary human occupation with the ‘horrific’; since life is so fragile anything that threatens or damages it effectively becomes a point of interest/concern for people. Often these horrors lead up to death. In fact, in terms of horror cinema Stanley Solomon asserts that the horrors must lead to death: …but essentially, for the horror to be as unbearable as we hope it is when we purchase our tickets, it has to represent death – the death of the [characters], and indeed the death of our surrogate self.(2) Considering this continual movement towards death – both real and fictional - there are no doubts why audiences want to watch horror films. However, I am inclined to