Have you ever wondered about the gender representation of character types in horror flicks? How about the existence of female empowerment in rape revenge flicks? Does watching a rape or murder from the from the right perspective force men to identify with women? This book may help you answer those questions.
I like most people had the preconception that horror films and their sub-genre slasher flicks were just escapism. In her book Men, Women, and Chain Saw: Gender in the Modern Horror Film, Carol J. Clover explores just how wrong I am.
Through her book I’ve learned a great deal about how film makers have been able to craft a in depth and layered narrative that is more than just the hack and slash that most people see.
The author is able to present compelling narratives about topics like how urbanization plays a role in rape revenge films; is the manner in which characters are killed an indication of a characters gender portrayal; and how exorcism is really a male story told through a female victim.
The book dissects films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Sleep Away Camp, I Spit on Your Grave, Exorcist and The Omen. Because it was published originally in 1992, it leaves the reader wondering what the other would make of more modern titles like Saw and Hostile. But the ground covered is large and even a well versed horror fan can find a title in here they’ve not yet had a chance to enjoy.
I can’t guarantee that every horror film applies to all of the theories presented here but this book is a well versed argument to look deeper into the genre that it horror and realize that many of these movies have more to them than just dead cheerleaders.
I would caution readers to while informative, interesting and insightful this is not a light read and often feels like a college dissertation. But I’m not complaining because I’ve got a new appreciation for the genre now and I would love to see a sequel covering titles like Get Out.