Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nancy Thompson, Freddy Krueger, and feminism

Tomorrow is Halloween and that means I will be doing several things:

-       Handing out candy
-       Playing spooky music all day
-       Dressing up
-       Watching A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

I’ve written about A Nightmare on Elm Street before and how much I love this film. At the risk of repeating myself, I want to discuss the original Nightmare on Elm Street again if only because of how important this film was to me as a young teenager and now, as an adult feminist.

It may seem strange for a feminist to love a film in which a deformed child murderer stalks and kills teenagers, most famously after sex. When I first saw this film as a fourteen year old, however, I was astonished by the originality of the premise. I had already seen a masked and typically silent killer slash his way through sexually promiscuous teenagers but I had never seen a killer with a personality. And I had never seen any death scenes as unsettling as the disquieting dreamscapes in which Freddy Krueger tormented and killed his victims.

Monday, October 28, 2013

"So why shouldn't I write of monsters?" A feminist considers the horror genre

Elsa Lanchester in The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
It’s the week of the Halloween.

It’s my favorite time of year if only for the reason that I love horror. Truly and desperately love horror in all its forms, especially horror films.

This often surprises people because I am a feminist. I have a very clear memory of a college professor being totally aghast that I was a women and gender’s studies student and a horror fan. This annoyed me.

Because for me, horror is freeing. As a quiet, bookish, and all-around weird kid, horror films opened up a world of empowerment for me. It is only in horror that the Other has, if only momentarily, true power.