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Horror Blog: Transgressing From the Classic Damsel of Distress
By James Whittington, Sunday 22nd June 2014
Sexy Killer_edited-3Hello, fellow horror fans! The days are longer, the nights are hotter and we all know what that means…SUMMER. And who would ever say, “no” to turning off the lights and catching up on some thrillers on the telly?

This July, Horror Channel is featuring a long series of films, from Miguel Marti’s Spanish dark comedy, Sexy Killer to John Fawcett’s famous cult film, Ginger Snaps, which would surely satisfy your craving for screams and thrills. While tuning into most if not all of these flics, you might catch on as to who is causing you to shriek and sit on the edge of your seat--- us girls.

After seeing about every classic horror films from The House of 1000 Dolls to Friday the 13th, I could not help but notice how a majority of them present their leading ladies as damsels in distress, typically blonde and bubbly, who typically get killed or saved by men. Sure, these characters can add subtle humour to the storyline by basically doing everything a person in that situation and in their right mind would not do, like separate from the group and mindlessly wander off into the dark in a tight t-shirt. But after a while, these one-dimensional types of characters may become repetitive and, not to mention, boring. Because let’s all be honest…these personas has its hypersexual undertones.

This idea is somewhat touched upon by the renowned British feminist, Laura Mulvey in Visual Pleasure & Narrative Cinema, who theorized how the very technology of film from cinematography to costuming is built around men’s visual pleasure for women. Yes, I know she was focusing more on classic Hollywood cinema, but I still can’t ignore how the plots of most films I watch tend to come at a standstill to zoom in and focus on a woman’s banging body before she gets hacked to death.

Hard CandyBut thank my lucky stars that next month’s line-up of films is presenting a whole, new type of woman. One of the features that I look forward to watching once again is David Slade’s revenge thriller, Hard Candy, which brings teen love and obsession to a whole new level.

It’s where Misery meets Lolita! It begins with a 14-year-old Hayley Stark chatting online with a much older man, who takes matters into her own hands and kidnaps him after their first date. What I find most appealing about this film is how Ellen Page’s character takes on a role that is active and not at all passive.

Okay, okay… yeah it a little problematic that she gets the upper hand by resorting to violence and gore. But at least we are getting a chick who is not the typical victim or heroine, for she is more than willing to take the wheel and scare the pants off of viewers! If anything, we are given a complex character that is not just sweet or sour, but both. And you would know exactly what I am talking about, if you have seen why little Miss Stark does what she does in that striking red hoodie.

So if you are in the mood for something more gripping and eye-opening, I strongly suggest you tune in and watch some of the films that are premiering exclusively next month on Horror Channel.


Related show tags: GINGER SNAPS, HARD CANDY, SEXY KILLER
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