Sunday, 3 February 2013

Monster Mavens: What is Feminine Horror?

Have you ever heard some one tell you, "This horror movie is a girl's movie"? If you're a female who loves horror, it's probably happened at least once- because apparently it's important to note the gender of a movie, as if we can peek under it's clothing and check what sex it is.

Just let us peek under your clothes and see if you're a real girl...

While I will agree, some films do tend to deal with certain issues of gender (The Woman, Grace, Martyrs, etc), this shouldn't be what determines whether or not a film sucks. In fact, a lot of movies labeled Feminine Horror are amazing. The three I mentioned got great reviews, for instance. I know plenty of films with strong female casts, interesting tales, and great female direction that have nothing to do with female issues, and yet win awards.

And my response to people who say in condescending tones, "This horror movie is a girl's movie." is this:
"AND? It's a good fucking movie. Shut up and watch it!"

I haven't seen a movie dealing with feminine issues that was completely and utterly terrible in the last 5 or so years. If anything, all the films prove is that horror from the female point of view is scary as hell, and will even creep-out men if done right. Ever seen Teeth? It's good. It makes my male friends who watch it curl up into little balls. It deals with both female and male issues in a way that I think is awesome and worth seeing. Vaginas can be scary things to have, folks. The shit women deal with on a regular basis can be quite frightening if looked at through the right lens.

I'm all man baby!
We deal with oppression, even in this day and age. Having our bodies debated in congress, having our right to choose if we want something growing inside us or not, having rape discussed like it's our fault it happened to us, I could go on. Woman are NOT equal to men. So asking why there needs to be a Women in Horror Month is like asking why Tarenteno made Django Unchained. Black History Month is happening right now for a reason. Slavery is still a thing folks and there is still oppression. Just ask people in 3rd world countries. Woman are still treated poorly in all industries, even horror. So yeah, it's a big deal. It still needs to be talked about and dealt with. We will talk about these things until they don't exist anymore. So maybe you should examine your privileges closely next time you think you understand oppression, or are tired of hearing people in under privileged groups "complain".
Feeding time for baby.
We also deal with some scary-ass body horror, if you think about it. We can produce babies, have periods, get illnesses specific to our gender. Lots of creepy shit happens to a woman's body, and a lot of us have issues because of the shit we have to endure. A lot more women in our society have been raped than we like to admit. It's a sad fact. They don't usually speak up, due to fear and societal pressure. Rape changes you, and is a horrific thing to live with. And while the average woman may not be as physically strong as her male counterpart, she can endure a hell of a lot more than the average man. For instance, she can endure 9 months of horrible transformation to her body as something grows inside her, than have her body torn apart as she expels it into the world. Childbirth is scary; at least I think so. Why do you think Alien was such a creepy movie? And it was made by a man. Think he fears the female body? Even men can tell feminine stories. Sure, some people paint childbirth as this beautiful thing, but that's why when I watched Grace I was freaked out. Not everyone has a "miracle." Not everyone's pregnancy goes well. My mother had a horrible time giving birth to me, for instance, and almost died giving birth to my sister. Why not make a horror movie about what happens when childbirth goes very, very wrong? I think it's a great idea.

Where do you think I keep my genitals?
If we didn't have female voices in horror, or feminine issues to discuss in horror, the genre would be pretty bland. New perspectives are essential, and woman can bring a lot to the table, even if it's a male telling our stories. When someone makes it a thing to point out how girly a movie is, that isn't even the point. If you are going to judge something based on its gender, you are spending way too much time thinking about the wrong thing. Feminine horror stories aren't terrible, and need to be told. Whether a woman's issue is told or not, a good story should be judged on how involved you get in it. Even women's stories can be creepy, and that's all that matters in the end.

 I don't waste time thinking about my movies with sex organs. That's just...weird.


  1. Very insightful post. I loved it.

    And Teeth is an awesome movie. It also makes me jealous...I wish I had a vagina dentata.

  2. Damn hon, when you're insightful, you're still entertaining. That's a damn fine skill to have. Martyrs is seriously in my personal top 10 of all time horror, beating out a lot of the classics (I'll take it over Friday the 13th ANY day of the week.) It's up there because it looks at a lot of deep things in a show rather than tell way. The deep things that slither around in the dark corners of the human psyche, they writhe, and burrow, the light of a cinema projector can let us examine it, and if necessary, begin the process of excising it in our culture.

  3. Great blog, lots of excellent points made. This is the second time I've read it, but was interrupted before I could leave a comment last time.

  4. My favorite female "monster" would have to be "Drucilla" ( from "Buffy") ... She is Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know..." 9 and the Only female in my 1/6th scale figure collection)

  5. Didn't they already do the "Childbirth goes horribly wrong" with It's Alive (original AND remake) and Grace?


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