When I was little, I was fascinated by the horror movie section and the video rental place in my hometown. I wasn’t allowed to watch those movies and their forbidden nature beckoned me. I read the covers of every horror film in my reach while appropriate videos were selected for me. This has been a serendipitous asset during trivia games because while I may not have seen all of these movies I have bizarre facts about them tucked away in my brain because the mind is a strange and wonderful place with bizarre data hoarding patterns.
I remember writing junior high essays on Alfred Hitchcock and delighted in renting and watching as many of his films as he could while diving into biographies about his life and looking into his source materials. I felt my skin flush when I read that he dodged film code rules about the 3 second maximum length for an on camera kiss by having his characters stop to whisper in one another’s ears, to zoom in on a moving hand, to return to a kiss, and create a product that followed all the rules but was sexy as hell anyway. I loved the utterly pornographic diamonds on Grace Kelly’s neck in To Catch A Thief. I cheer for all the cinema rogues who found ways to speak the language of the erotic and turn a nose up to the draconian absexuals on censorship boards baffled by the fact that sex will always find a way.
I couldn’t be unglued from AMC during Halloween season. I was a dedicated Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanatic. I studied posters, purchased trailer compilations, and absolutely delighted in all of the very intimate stories about humanity in all sorts of creative and hyperbolic grandeur. Movie monsters delight me, all of my senses are piqued, and I’m likely to laugh and cheer through gore and spurting arteries, and a racing pulse, and loud sounds that make you jump in your seat. I sound like a hyena when I screen a horror film I love but then again, I was also notorious for being a giggling SM bottom who processes through howling laughter.
I had the pleasure of taking a class on horror films hosted by my literature department because of its strong focus on narrative analysis. The film department focused on different elements of cinema and this one was about the storytelling. It was a delightful class and every week a classic and slightly esoteric film would be projected in the biggest multimedia classroom on my campus. A state of the art digital media amphitheater with surround sound and climate control where I could experience of black and white ghostly delights.
Whether it’s fetish or just serendipity, I would sit in the back and watch while casually humping the inside of my blue jeans as the stories progressed the way I sometimes do while watching The Twilight Zone or good German Expressionism. Nosferatu’s hand shadow creeping down the body of a woman in bed still tickles my fancy every time. The tension in Cat People makes me purr in delight. Getting to see these films on the big screen with a lecture notes, a keen eye, and a redwood forest to walk home through in the dark resulted in more than one evening booty call for me.
What I love about fall is that people are willing to indulge in the spooky and the sexy. Now, sexy should not be compulsory and I’m never happy when I see young women looking obviously uncomfortable, tugging at the miniskirts of their costumes, ambivalent about their exposure. However, spotting the sexuality in any of these ghouls and goblins isn’t wholly misplaced, either. There’s always a sexual undercurrent and Halloween seems to punctuate that.
I’ll be watching lots of my favorite horror films and sharing them here for you. One thing I will be keeping track of is death toll by gender. A lot of feminists have focused on the woman’s body in horror films but what we’ve forgotten is that a lot men are knocked off as preludes to the final confrontation climax scene. There’s a lot of interesting observations in “Final Girl” analysis but it never really accounts for the what happens with the male body as a veritable sacrifice without a second thought. There is sexism in horror films but that means there are limitations on femininity and masculinity. I think it’s also interesting who is more likely to have an on camera fatality than off-camera and why.
I’ve made observations that a lot of male characters are killed off in horror films and I’ve observed that their deaths tend to happen on camera more often. Still, I don’t know how this holds up and I’m probably doing a fair amount of my own filtering. Given that I already have a throbbing clit for horror films both old and modern, I like the idea of watching a bunch and breaking them down for a sex and gender perspective. I’m also excited for whatever input you might have.
Coming Soon: Nosferatu