The role of the female throughout the horror genre has generally reflected the roles of women in society within the social context of the movie. In the early days of movie, women were no more than the weak and defenceless victim. They are ‘the object of the creature’s desire’ , a beautiful yet two-dimensional character who is there for no other reason than to become the victim. As feminism and the role of women in society has developed, so too has the role of the female in the horror genre. This is recognisable in both Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) and John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978).
Modern horror films are analogous to male-filled teenage parties otherwise known as “sausage fests.” In more analytical terms, the modern horror film overflows with symbols that represent the human male penis. While a penis may seem like a scatological device to include in films, the phallus actually reveals key traits about the characters. Specifically, in Halloween, American Horror Story, Psycho, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, phallic-shaped weapons help identify the females’ transition to a more masculine gender role.
There has been a large variety of horror films produced throughout the last fifty years. People are always going to be frightened and scared by different types of horror films. But, what type of horror film scares more people, and were men or women more frightened by these horror films? Each one of the horror films had its own agenda to frighten its audience using several different methods of horror. Some of these methods were more so directed at the female audience than the male audience. Most horror movies show the female as being vulnerable, because in real life females are defenseless against monsters.
American horror films have often played on our societal fears, and in Candyman (Bernard Rose, 1992), the film directly deals with race, reminding us that it is still very much a problem in society today, and that ‘our traumatic racial past still haunts us’ (Vern, 2015). The film ‘marks the introduction of an African-American monster to the horror mainstream’ (Donaldson, 2011) and it ‘succeeds in asking some very pointed questions about race and class’ (Elizabeth, 1992). Ultimately this is done by investigating ‘the obscure fears we harbour about the unknown’ – or the racial ‘other’ (Blackwell, 2015). Andrew Tudor says that ‘typically, a horror movie will exploit the tensions implicit in a particular contrast, confronting known with the
Halloween is a popular time of year, where plenty of people dress up and having ‘taste’ or ‘poise’ is optional. However, to many, Halloween may seem harmless and innocent, but as we age and the growth of sex appeal increases, the amount of innocence decreases. Even though Halloween may be simply fun and games, the gender lens and Freud’s psychoanalysis lens assists in helping the reader truly see now nauseating Halloween has become
Horror movies throughout history have been known to have their cheesy storylines or continuous bad acting. Especially horror movies. People nowadays could easily spot the flaws in a film and judge them drastically in reviews. Yet, little do people notice the ongoing discrimination between genders. Horror films tend to portray males and females substantially differently because of stereotypical views. There seems to be a pattern in which each gender takes a certain role in a movie continuously. Females are shown to be “objects” such as sex and emotional symbols, while males are shown as strong or powerful and moreover as the main bad guy. Although some of the newer edition films of the horror genre are displaying each gender more and more equal throughout the ongoing years, the gender discrimination dilemma still exists and can be seen by the statistics in the movie industry in general.
In the movie Halloween, John Carpenter (1978) depicts a horrifying tale of a young man who kills his own sister. Carpenter discloses how a monster murders an innocent in the most terrifying and raging act of lynching. He tries to reveal the film’s image of a woman who learn to fight for justice and life, and he also layers how a certain woman knows how fight back amidst tremors of her life. However, Carpenter’s Halloween offers more than scary scenes and women fighting for survival and fear. It simply suggests that how women in general learn to fight against the dominance of men in general perspectives.
A girl runs frantically through the woods trying to escape an axe wielding villain. The defenseless victim suddenly trips and collapses to the ground. The villain laughs wickedly as he lifts the axe above his head. The girl releases a final scream as the weapon quickly ends her life, causing the audience to go silent as they watch the villain drag away the lifeless body. Death, blood, guts, suspense, screaming, and terror are all just a few things to expect when watching a modern day horror film. What is horror? Horror can be defined as an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust. (Wilson) The description of horror is not very pleasant, but for some reason horror films are extremely popular. Why is this so? People are addicted to the
Psychological Desires for Monster Movies One of the major reasons people watch scary movies or go to haunted houses and corn mazes is for the feeling it gives inside. The scary feeling we crave. As Stephen King mentioned in Danse Macabre, “terror as the finest emotion, and so I will try to terrorize the reader.” Some authors, as well as movie directors, will portray scary to please the audience that wants the thrill or rush while watching or reading.
Horror is designed to scare, cause alarm and dread, while also entertaining the audience at the same time in a cathartic experience (Dirk, 2016). Horror films are meant for a specific type of audience that enjoy scary films. Dirks (Tim, 2016) approach to genre horror, is that films went back as 100 years ago, from the earliest days our vivid imagination in seeing ghosts in the shadows to be connected emotionally of the unknown, and fear things that are improbable. You watch a horror film, it makes you aware of the scary surroundings, the essence of fear itself, without actually being in any sorts of danger. Dirks argues that there is a fun and thrill factor in being frightened, or watching something disturbing. It gives you that feeling of an adrenaline rush, as well as having that feeling someone is actually next to you lurking in the dark (Dirk, 2016).
Since the beginning of time, there has always been gender roles in society. Back then women are supposed to stay home and do housework, are not supposed to work and have power. Slasher films are sub-genre of horror films that involves someone who is psychotic that stalks and murders random victims (typically women or teens) a day. You never see the monster [the psychotic killer] use a gun or a blunt object to kill their victims. Deaths by a gunshot or any other objects such as a rock they do not like to use because they are too quick and the victim will have no opportunity to scream. Weapons such as a butcher knife, chainsaw, or any other sharp object are usually a choice of the villain in these movies. These tools are used by your average everyday worker that could go home after work with their tools and eventually hurt your family. Slasher films, like many other genres, inevitably have gender stereotypes. Through these movies, everyone has an idea of how the perfect man and women look like. Today you hear that men are getting paid more than a women, women are not strong as men, and many more. Through advertisements and the media, women are portrayed to look like what they see in these platforms. A lot of powerful women; Hillary Clinton, instead of focusing on how she can improve America, everyone is focused on how short her skirt was. Men and women are restricted to certain roles and responsibilities in the film, thus portraying them unequally.
Since the inventions of television and film, media influences have become extremely important in modern society with people constantly being inundated by images and messages that come from film, television, magazines, internet and advertising. Researchers and theorists such as Carol J. Clover and Jean Kilborne believe that the fact that people are going to be affected by the media is absolutely unavoidable. Films can act as guides to how people, particularly women, should act and look. Women in horror are typically shown as the ‘damsel in distress’ and are usually attacked by the killer after committing a sinful act like having sex or misusing drugs or alcohol. The females are
are horror movies anti-feminists? There have been Discussions about gender representation in horror films for nearly 40 years now. when feminism became more popular during the 70s and early 80s, horror films also became more popular and began to appeal to a larger audience, including females. Feminists once saw a problem with the highly sexualized violence of women in the horror genre, mainly the “slasher” film and Horror was initially criticized for how they represented female characters, the Horror Genre has sparked a discussion between feminists and filmmakers, resulting in a more prominent voice for female characters.