Thursday, October 21, 2010

Removing the Mask: Gender in Halloween by Sarah Frantz

When most scholars discuss gender in films, especially horror films, they cannot help but mention Halloween (1978). Halloween inadvertently explores gender roles because of the nature of the killings. The deaths in the film occur after the young teens have sex. Whether the intent was to or not, the film depicts sex as a dangerous act. Since the killer is male, the female victims are focused on in this film. The girls are being killed because they have had sex; they are fighting against the traditional norms of society that states that women must be wives and mothers.

I chose this film because it’s a classic horror film. It is one of the first to be examined under the gender lens. My cinematheque presentation will focus on gender and sexuality in this film but the opening scene is an interesting look at family. Also, Dr. Loomis becomes something of a father figure to Laurie in the film, which is an interesting dynamic. I will mostly discuss the women in the film being killed after sexual activity and how they are being punished for not following tradition values. I will reference how other films seem to follow this very conservative moral view as well, even very recent such as Scream.

This film fits into my paper, because it examines gender and sexuality. This film is a great example of femininity vs. masculinity. Halloween is one of the first films to have a “Final Girl”, a girl that fights back and in the defeats the killer. Comparing it to later films reveals that Laurie Strode, although she lives, doesn’t really survive. She is traumatized at the end of the film and Dr. Loomis must help her defeat Michael Myers. However, Halloween was revolutionary in its use of a girl that can live at the end of the film. Many scholars point to that fact, that she is the only girl in the film that doesn’t have sex, which is why she survives. A chaste girl is the only girl that can escape the killer’s wrath.

I’m using this film, because it was the first. It’s gender in horror films 101. This film is very straightforward in its depiction of sexuality and gender making is great to analyze. This film says so much in a very short amount of time with very few characters. I don’t want to call this film simple or easy but its basic in many ways. In many ways, I’m using this film because it’s unavoidable. Every article and scholar mentions it and compares other films to it. There really is no better way to describe it than classic.

1 comment:

fede. said...

Really interesting subject. Where can i read it?