A Feminist Reading of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Essay

2992 Words12 Pages
A Feminist Reading of Buffy the Vampire Slayer In numerous interviews, creator Joss Whedon has explained that the inspiration for Buffy the Vampire Slayer struck while he was watching horror films and TV shows in which pretty women run away from or get killed by monsters in alleyways. Whedon claims he wanted to give this paradigmatic girl-victim a new role: that of the monster-killing hero. Whedon's explanation of his own artistic inspiration reveals at least two things about him as a film-viewer and maker: first, his description suggests his awareness of the pervasive, archetypal quality of the traditional, mainstream horror film. Second, his description rather coyly fails to account for the more marginal genre of…show more content…
In the introduction to her book, Men, Women, and Chain Saws (1993), Clover delimits her inquiry to "[those subgenres] of [1970's and 80's] American cinematic horror . . . in which female figures and/or gender issues loom especially large: slasher films, occult or possession films, and rape-revenge films" (5). More specifically, Clover argues convincingly that these subgenres (especially the slasher film) make possible certain quasi-transgressive viewer identifications: she proves that the mostly male audience of the slasher film identifies less with the sadistic monster than with the monster's female victim-heroes. Clover ends her book by imagining a different kind of audience, this one for her own work: "at least some horror filmmakers read Freud . . . and film criticism" (232), she notes. Ultimately, she challenges these hypothetical, literate filmmakers: though the "slasher film proper has died down. . . . There may . . . be life in the amazingly durable and adaptable vampire movie" she claims. And, she adds, contemporary horror films do not "take the kind of brazen tack into the psychosexual wilderness that made horror in the seventies and eighties such a marvelously transparent object of study. Unless and until the direction changes again, I suspect we will soon be back to the dominant fiction in its dominant forms, out of which we must dig meanings rather than have them displayed so obviously and so
Open Document