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U. E. Academia Washington-001410 Subject: English A. Component: Extended Essay. Session: May 2013.

“The portrayal of women in the modern horror and exploitation film” (Number of words: 4000)

Student: Alejandro Montaño Candidate number: 001410-0021

Candidate number: 001410-0021 ABSTRACT In this essay we will be exploring the question of whether horror slasher films and exploitation films treat and portray women in a misogynistic or an empowering fashion. These films are criticized by the general public and critics alike, who only see these as “lowbrow” pieces of entertainment, dismissing them for their apparent lack of artistic and moral value, but through the consideration of their astounding popularity and the analysis of these two genres, we’ll try to prove that these films are indeed worthy of academic discussion. Slashers are a sub-genre of horror films that rely heavily on gore, while exploitation films are low-budget movies whose plots revolve around sex and violence. Many critics see, through feminist readings of these texts, how in the slasher films young girls are, in a way, being punished for wanting to explore their sexuality and womanhood, and how apparently the only way they can survive at the end of the movie is by losing their “femaleness”; while in the exploitations, they see how women are portrayed as overly sexual – thus being portrayed only as sex objects - and overly violent, or “masculine”, in their attitude. Others, however, believe that these films are a step forward within the feminist movement by portraying women as independent entities, true owners of their bodies and warriors against oppressing male figures. In the end we’ll establish how these films share both empowering and disempowering elements, by acknowledging that they sometimes do objectify women in an attempt to provide the audience with those gratuitous sexual overtones, but also empower women by breaking strict societal stereotypes and exploring some of the archetypes that allow them to be strong figures, without this meaning that they have to lose their femininity nor their femaleness.


Candidate number: 001410-0021 TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT………………………………………………………………………………1 INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………………...3 BODY The slasher……………………………………………………………………...4 Audience identification and men……………..……....………………….…7 Exploitation……………………………………………….…………………...11 Different women, same gender…………………………….………………16 CONCLUSION……………………………………………………….………………...18 APPENDIX……………………………………………………………..……………….19 BIBLIOGRAPHY………………………………………………………..……………...34


Candidate number: 001410-0021 INTRODUCTION The two subjects that have been chosen for this essay are slasher films and t exploitation films. They have been chosen for their similarities (like the extensive use of sex and violence) and for the very interesting fact that both have been criticized for virtually the same things. Slashers are a subgenre of horror films that feature a serial killer going a killing spree in pursuit of usually young, sexually active victims. Exploitations, on the other hand, are usually low-budget B-movies that also rely on sex and violence, but from a more action-packed perspective than a horror, suspense-filled tension one. One could say, that exploitations are also more self-aware in their motives and the fact that they are blatantly using such characteristics as “a base desire for lurid subject matter(s)”. 1 Some critics argue a tendency in directing this violence towards women, and using sex as just another vile and exploitative tool, testing the argument that these movies abuse women in a misogynistic fashion to gratify its vicious male audience, and also that there is an importance and a power given to masculinity over femininity. Others, however, refute these theories by pointing out how it’s almost always a woman who survives at the end, gaining power over the male attacker, thus empowering the female characters. Do these movies then antagonize not just women, but “femaleness”, or do they rather empower the female gender? By looking into both arguments and studying such elements as the relationship between the film and the audience, the astounding popularity these movies have, and the impact they have on society, we’ll try to find out who is right.

1 "Exploitation films." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 19 February 2013. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 5 Mar 2013. 4

Candidate number: 001410-0021 BODY The Slasher Slasher films, in short, are those in which a serial killer goes on a killing spree after a group of victims (generally teenagers). Part of what makes these movies so artistically worthless in the eyes of many critics is not just the abundant sex and violence being shown, but the fact that there appears to be a lack of originality in the genre. Many have pointed out strong similarities among these films; a sort of formula or pattern. Kendall Phillips, an examiner of the horror genre and author of Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture creates a list of what he feels the “slasher formula“ consists of, according to Carol J. Clover, an important examiner of gender roles in the horror genre and author of Men, Women and Chainsaws. This list consists of “a psychosexually confused killer“, “the use of primitive, usually phallic weapons such as a butcher knife or chainsaw instead of a pistol“, and “victims (who are) almost all sexually active young people”2. Clover was also the one to coin the term “Final Girl”, which she defines as “a virginal tomboy who becomes the target of the killer’s attention but, unlike her friends, survives his attacks.”3 Almost every slasher film has a Final Girl (Laurie in Halloween, Sally in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street, Sidney in Scream, among others), a character known for her resistance to the killer’s attacks all the way through the movie. However, many critics, who have given feminist readings of these films, claim to see a prevailing misogyny in which the predominant male killer tortures and oppresses the female victim, who so happens to spend her time running and screaming scantily clad. Journalist writer, Anna North tells us that horror films invite audiences to “watch with glee as women are horribly injured or killed” 4. Kira Cochrane from The 2 Kendall R. Phillips, Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture. (88 Post Road West, Westport: Praeger Publishers) 128. 3 Carol J. Clover, Men, Women and Chainsaws (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press) 24. 4 Anna North. “In Defense Of Lady-Terrorizing Horror Movies.” Jezebel 27 Aug 2010, Gawker Media, Web, 21 Feb 2013. 5

Candidate number: 001410-0021 Guardian suggests that “such films seem to be part of a wider trend towards the mainstream depiction of women as highly sexualized bait and prey”5; while author J.A. Kerswell explains how many filmmakers at the dawn of the slasher in the 70s strove to please their audience by topping each other in a competitive race to have “more boobs and more blood” 6 than the rest. These critics see the oversexualization of the female victim, while punishing her at the same time, as a way to gratify its male audience either consciously or subconsciously. Certain differences between the Final Girl and the rest of her female peers have also been noted. For example, the Final Girl is more concerned with chores, studying, and being “the good girl”, while her friends just want to party, drink and have sex. Consider Laurie from Halloween who converses with her girlfriends on their way home from school. While her friends are discussing boys, upcoming parties and dresses, Laurie shows more responsibility by insisting that she has to babysit her neighbors’ kids. Another characteristic of the Final Girls is that their names seem to be masculine, or at least gender-neutral (Laurie, Sidney, Billie, etc.). Also, in a Freudian reading, one could see that they save themselves by acquiring a “phallic weapon”, suggesting a gaining of masculinity. Hence, in order for this Final Girl to save herself she must be stripped of her femininity, and become a “masculinized” female to assume any kind of power. The fact that these movies have become renowned for lacking artistic integrity and being morally degrading begs the question of whether or not these texts should be considered worthy of serious academic study. Despite that, these movies still manage to garner an astounding cult fanbase, and have secured an important spot in popular culture; therefore, some attention must indeed be paid to them. Jungian psychologist Gertrúdis Ostfeld de Bendayán contends that things are only capable of moving so many psyches when they are a reflection of those 5 Kira Cochrane. “Torture Porn.” The Guardian 01 May 2007, Guardian News and Media Limited, Web, 21 Feb 2013. 6 J.A. Kerswell, The Slasher Movie Book (Chicago, Illinois: New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd.) 71 6

Candidate number: 001410-0021 same psyches. When we recognize something that is present in our conscious or subconscious, we feel spoken to, we are drawn to these things as a result of seeing some of our deep desires played out. Perhaps, what those critics, North, Cochrane and Kerswell believe is that what these movies’ fans are watching is their hatred of women being acted out, thus reaching some sort of sick catharsis. Nevertheless, these theories also have a counter-theory. Many have seen the triumph of these girls over the male killers as a rendition of female power, and women’s vindication against a historical patriarchal oppression. Even having a heroine, instead of a hero, symbolizes a feminist step within this genre. All of the female characters, that aren’t the Final Girl, die at one point or another, and critics argue that these films show them as having their femininity as a fatal flaw; but the issue comes when we equate gender to sexuality, and we wonder whether this “punishment” comes from them simply being women or for them wanting to explore their sexuality. Erica Wright in her essay Carnage and Carnality: Gender and Corporeality in the Modern Horror Film says, “Femininity is socially desirable, but not adequately rewarded” 7. As a society, we want women to be “feminine” but not fully sexual or even too aware of it, which is why films allow us to punish them under the safety of the fiction. Most of these girls get killed almost as a consequence of their sexual explorations or for simply for being careless teenagers. Lynda from Halloween (1978) who after having sex with her boyfriend Bob gets choked to death with a telephone cord; or Marcie from Friday the 13th (1980) who goes into a cabin with her boyfriend Jack because of a thunderstorm, ends up having sex and then gets killed; or Sylvia, or Harriet, from My Bloody Valentine (1981), who both get impaled after engaging in sex with their respective love interests. The Final Girl on the other hand is independent, selfreliant, and with very little interest in sex, boys or partying. Clover however does not credit an entire loss of femininity in the Final Girl, otherwise, why wouldn’t we just have a male hero? She sees the female heroine as more androgynous than completely male, and gives credit to audience identification for this. She says, 7 Erica Wright. “Carnage and Carnality: Gender and Corporeality in the modern horror film.” MA Thesis. Unomaha, 2010, University of Nebraska, Nebraska, Web. 09 Jan 2013. 48. 7

Candidate number: 001410-0021 “one cannot help wondering whether the historical maintenance of images of women in fear and pain does not have more to do with male vicariism than is commonly acknowledged.”8 Audience identification and men In these movies, we see most of the action through the eyes of the killer, be it from Michael Myers in Halloween hiding in the bushes or climbing up the stairs, or Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees standing behind the trees of Crystal Camp Lake, so we are almost forced by the camera to identify with the killer, at least through the first half of the film. However, the camera’s point of view shifts during the film from the killer’s perspective to the victim’s; for example, in the scene in which Laurie is hiding from Myers in the closet, the camera is in the closet with her, not with Michael out in the room; or when Nancy from A Nightmare plants her booby traps for Freddy Krueger, we are expectantly waiting for his fall, just like we had before waiting for the killer to jump out of nowhere and kill one of the victims. This leads us through a journey of identification that only occurs on an unconscious level, because would a sane mind really admit to identifying with a sadistic serial killer? What Clover sees in her psychoanalytical review of this genre is a sadomasochistic tendency within the male audience, in which men are able to see “taboo subjects in the relative safety of vicariousness” 9. This vicarious enjoyment reflects that the male viewer is distanced from the instrument of pleasure and pain by experiencing all this through a woman’s body, yet subtly identified with it through the woman’s masculinity; what we have here is a “masculinity in conjunction with femininity”, Clover says, used as a tool to fulfill the male audience’s desires.

8 Carol J. Clover, Men, Women and Chainsaws (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press) 62. 9 Clover 51. 8

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Krueger creeping up on Nancy in A Nightmare, vs. Nancy, being resourceful in order to catch Krueger

Having a male viewer use a male character to explore these dark and hidden desires of chastisement would bring these out of the unconscious and into the conscious mind, thus bruising the male ego. We encourage the male killer to punish the masculine female character, for whom we are consciously rooting, but whose punishment we are unconsciously wishing for, because we ourselves are vicariously enjoying the pain. This would eventually pose as a threat to the male ego in the long run either way, however, at the end, we regain masculinity by giving the female victim enough power to defeat, or at the very least survive, the killer (“She is simply agreed-upon fiction and the male viewer’s use of her as a vehicle for his own sadomasochistic fantasies” 12). The male viewer can easily dismiss the “feminine females” who perish, but find survival by holding on to a sort of “man in drag”. If we look at Happy Birthday to Me’s Final Girl, Ginny, we’ll see her being haunted by a killer, later revealed to be herself. Does this “cheating,” this gender-reversal symbolize a comfort blanket being taken away from the audience? Perhaps Clover would think so, looking at the male ego and subconscious desires being left vulnerable in this context.

10 Photogram of A Nightmare on Elm Street. 1984. Deadcentral. Beyond, Dread Central Media, LLC. 23 Feb 2013. JPEG File. 11 Photogram of A Nightmare on Elm Street. 1984. Best-Horror-Movies. BestHorror-Movies, com. 23 Feb 2013. JPEG File. 12 Clover 53. 9

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Laurie, from Halloween, fighting to stay alive and hiding in a closet from the killer, Michael Myers

But why are these critics so intent on putting their magnifying glasses on the female characters and not male ones, who are also killed, many of them after engaging in sex as well? In fact, these movies see just as many men dying in these films, if not more. Kerswell tells us that “In the 175 slasher films made between 1978 and 1984, some 558 of 1046 on-screen fatalities were male as opposed to 448 female deaths”14. In Friday the 13th, for example, 4 girls die, while 5 men die; in The Funhouse, 2 girls and 4 men die; in Hell Night, 6 and 2 men and women perish, respectively; in My Bloody Valentine, 5 girls and 7 guys die, while in A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Burning, 2 and 5 men and women die respectively.15. However, as Clover tells us “even in films in which males and females are killed in roughly even numbers, the lingering images are of the latter”16. The therapy pool scene in Halloween II (1981) is an example; a man and a female nurse have sex in the pool, and the guy is killed swiftly after being stabbed in the back, but the latter is choked to death in the boiling water in a long and tortuous scene with a very tight frame, almost exploiting it to the point where you feel you’re being choked yourself. The importance being given to males, as

13 Photogram of Halloween. 1978. SciFi Now. Imagine Publishing Ltd. 23 Feb 2013. JPEG File. 14 Kerswell 71 15 Kerswell 198-200 16 Clover 35. 10

Candidate number: 001410-0021 far as deaths go, is much lesser than that given to females. We exploit and enjoy women sexually, then punish them for being sexually conscious. Clover’s overly Freudian analysis makes too big of a presumption to be fully true. The female audience is only barely discussed, and assuming that everyone who goes to see these films has some sort of an S&M/transvestite desire just seems too extravagant. If we imagined a slasher movie in which we have a masculine male hero and a male antihero, the entire argument of the text would seem too bland, because we would be presented with two strong figures going at each other, thus providing us with no big thrills or surprises; but the old premise of “David vs. Goliath” seems much more interesting in comparison. The fact that we can have a female victim and a male attacker provides us with the necessary dichotomy to have a psychologically rich film. Slashers could have also presented a formula in which the general pattern is to have a female attacker versus a male victim, but this would be even more misogynistic, because creating a fictional structure in which the woman is the natural violent attacker would go against the societal norm of men as the transgressive character, therefore proving that the male directors have actually gone through a creative process, impregnated by their own subjective views on women. By having a woman, who society already assumes to be the victim in most cases, gain power, then we are truly facing a challenge to our societal presumptions, that empowers rather than disempowers or patronizes women. Many horror legends have expressed their opinions on this, such as Italian horror director Dario Argento, who has said, “I like women, especially beautiful ones. If they have a good face and figure, I would much prefer to watch them die than an ugly girl or a man”; or Alfred Hitchcock who quoted the playwright Victorien Sardou saying “Torture the women!”; and even horror writer Edgar Allan Poe wrote “(the death of a beautiful woman) is the most poetical topic in world”. This at first would seem to contradict the argument that these films do in fact empower women, but if we also take a look at Brian DePalma, for example, who said “women in peril work better in the suspense genre (because) you fear more


Candidate number: 001410-0021 for her than you would for a husky man” 17 we understand that maybe this has more to do with the societal construct of women as the defenseless and fragile gender gaining strength, than gaining masculinity, or being tortured just for their femaleness. Exploitation In the exploitation rape-and-revenge film (a sub-genre that, simply put, features rape of a victim followed by an act of revenge on the attackers) I Spit On Your Grave (1978) we meet Jennifer Hills, a writer who visits a small town all by herself and is gang-raped by local men, and takes the law into her own hands, chasing down the men who attacked her. The movie is extremely graphic in both sexual and violent nature, which not only led to it getting banned in several countries but also earned it the title of a “Video Nasty” in the UK, a label given to a collection of films denounced by critics, and political and religious organizations of the time for their violent content. American film critic Roger Ebert called it “a vile bag of garbage” and “an expression of the most diseased and perverted darker human natures. Because it is made artlessly, It flaunts its motives: There is no reason to see this movie except to be entertained by the sight of sadism and suffering”, and said he felt “unclean”18 after watching it. However, what Ebert failed to realize was that he was supposed to feel that way. Before being billed as I Spit On Your Grave, filmmaker Meir Zarchi had named his film Day of the Woman and had allegedly been inspired to make it by a personal incident in which he saw a brutally raped woman defenseless under the eyes of the law so, fueled by this impotence, he created a story in which the woman takes matters into her own hands. He clarifies this in the DVD extras of his movie, explaining that the rawness shown there was supposed to provoke exactly what it did in Ebert: disgust and outrage. Producers of the film apparently took advantage of this crudeness and saw an opportunity to market the film as just another quick moneymaking exploitation film (going so far as to calling it I Hate Your Guts and The Rape of Jennifer Hills in some parts of the world)19 If Zarchi had simply 17 Clover 42. 18 Roger Ebert, “I Spit On Your Grave.”, 16 July 1980,, Web, 21 January 2013. 19 Michael Kaminski. “Is I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE Really a Misunderstood 12

Candidate number: 001410-0021 shown the second part of the movie, in which Jennifer takes brutal revenge on her attackers, and only a suggestion of what happened to her, then we would feel very little sympathy for her, only seeing a men-hating monster, and the argument could be made that we are indeed supposed to be getting a gratuitous experience out of this, thus giving us a truly exploitative film in its essence.



Two of the different posters of Zarchi’s I Spit on Your Grave, the first showing the intended title and a picture of Camille Keaton’s face vs. the second one, which shows a more exploitative image of a woman’s bloodied back and buttocks while holding a knife

Most exploitation films, on the other hand, actually show women who are empowered from the beginning. In Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! we are presented with three of the most violent, voracious, man-eating women ever shown on screen. The film’s actual tagline even read “Russ Meyer’s ode to violence in women”. Notice how the tagline says in women, and not on women or towards women. IMDb’s synopsis of the movie describes the women as “three

Feminist Film?” WHATCULTURE! 6 Oct 2010. Obsessed with film, LTD. Web. 15 Jan 2013. 20 Poster of Day of the Woman. 1981. Amasse Way of Life. Blogger. 23 Feb 2013. JPEG File. 21 Poster of I Spit on Your Grave. 1981. Amasse Way of Life. Blogger. 23 Feb 2013. JPEG File. 13

Candidate number: 001410-0021 strippers”22, something only barely mentioned in the film. They don’t let society define them by their sexuality, as to not be placed in a passive, vulnerable role, but rather use their own sexuality to define themselves as they please and their power over the rest, using it only as a tool and not as other people’s right and gift.


Poster of Faster, Pussycat! with two of the movie’s taglines “Russ Meyer’s ode to women in violence”, and a second one, “Superwomen! Belted, buckled and booted!”

In Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS we also meet a woman of power; Ilsa, a female general at a Nazi concentration camp. She uses her sexuality to lure men into her bed and then castrates or disposes of them, like a black widow, when they are of no use. She is also involved in a series of experiments in which she brutally and mercilessly tortures women in the concentration camp in order to prove women’s resistance to pain to her superiors, thus proving women’s strength. Excited by the arrival of her commandant, who has finally decided to pay attention to her experiments, she plans a dinner that sees sexual tension growing between them. Expecting to finally obtain the sexual pleasure that none of her previous prisonerlovers have given her, she finds herself confused, disappointed and enraged when her commandant only seeks pleasure in having her urinate on him, after 22 “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” IMDb,, Inc. Web. 12 Dec 2013. 23 Poster of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! 1965. Amazon., Inc. 23 Feb 2013. JPEG File. 14

Candidate number: 001410-0021 which she expresses “I need a real man”; Ilsa is unfulfilled and unsatisfied by men. Through her experiments, Ilsa symbolically refutes the words of one of the hopeless female prisoners: “This is a world of broken, crippled women.” Ostfeld compares Ilsa to the mythological Amazons, who “used men, and after they were of no use, killed them. (…) There is resentment towards what is masculine, so they try to prove that they are a superior race that can live without men”. 24



Ilsa is compared to the mythological Amazon warrios

Ilsa is part of another subgenre of exploitation films called nazisploitation or nazi exploitation films, which along with other subgenres like “sexploitation” or “women in prison” heavily rely on not only sex, but lesbian sex (in Ilsa only one female guard is portrayed as a lesbian and actually participates with the rest of the men in the raping of one woman). These “strong women” have now crossed the thin line only previously hinted at in slashers of the “masculinized woman”, fully renouncing men sexually and gaining what society would describe as male qualities. This type of lesbian portrayed is the clichéd and stereotyped “macho” lesbian female. Is there some misogyny in the fact that these women obtain power over men by becoming as close to men in their qualities as possible? 24 Ostfeld, personal interview. 25 Poster of Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS. 1975. Amazon., Inc. 23 Feb 2013. JPEG File. 26 Image of Amazon warrior. A Walk in the WoRds. Blogger. 23 Feb 2013. JPEG File. 15

Candidate number: 001410-0021 Perhaps, but it would be even more so if this was the only face shown to us by the entire genre. Different women, same gender We have seen an entire spectrum of women being portrayed: the heterosexual, seemingly sexually repressed girl; the strong heterosexual female that uses her sexuality as power; and the strong homosexual woman whose power resides in her “masculine” qualities. Feminist readings of these films find in the first aforementioned







indifference given to sex and the importance given to assertiveness, intelligence and prowess; in the second, devaluation through the blatant use of sex, and masculinization through the conversion of sex as a tool; and in the third, masculinization through the renouncing of men as a sexual entity and the exacerbated acquisition of those so-called “male qualities”. One must cast doubt upon the fairness of these assertions, because even though feminist critics question the female characters’ femininity or femaleness, they don’t really question themselves what being a woman truly means. Ostfeld, for example, challenges the Freudian readings given of these texts such as the phallic nature of the weapons or the stereotypification of these women. She believes that we have put women into a certain stereotype in which the Final Girl’s friends are being glorified in society, or at least by the texts’ critics, instead praising the many different archetypes being presented in them. As Pinedo, puts it: “If a woman cannot be aggressive and still be a woman, then female agency is a pipe dream.”27 Ostfeld talks about the understanding that there are various types of women, or archetypes, which she compares to mythological persons such as Athena (symbolizing the Final Girl), Aphrodite (the Final Girl’s friends) or the Amazons (Ilsa; Varla, Rosie and Billie from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and the rest of their “exploitation colleagues”). Maybe we’re not being shown just one face of the coin in these texts; maybe horror films are not all black and white and aren’t trying to attack women left and right. Pinedo says: “The contemporary horror film genre is a combination of feminist and antifeminist elements (…) It criticizes and 27 Pinedo 83. 16

Candidate number: 001410-0021 endorses hierarchical relations of power. In short, it is a mix of contradictory tendencies.�28.

28 Pinedo 183. 17

Candidate number: 001410-0021 CONCLUSION Through the examination of both stances on the subject, we can see that horror films have this dualism when it comes to their portrayal of women. In some cases, they objectify women by having them running around in very little clothing for no apparent reason, probably working as a titillating mechanism on behalf of the filmmakers to lure audiences who are expecting this from the genre; other times, they punish women for being too aware of their own gender and sexuality. However, for the most part we can see that these movies actually present us with strong and fearless heroines with enough dexterity to survive a killer or outsmart the men. If anything, these movies don’t give much credit to men in neither their mental nor physical abilities; after all, we barely see them getting any character development or even screen time, and when they do, they’re either being beaten by other women or killed by the psychotic killer. Women are always the center of attention, sometimes as the victims, mostly as the empowered ones, but always in the spotlight. Thanks to the analysis of these elements of the horror film, we should maybe start realizing that the underdogs of popular culture are also worthy of serious intellectual discussion. We’re quick to dismiss those works that are so apparently blatant in their motives, but here we have demonstrated that there are many more things going on beneath the surface of these genres, like the way we psychologically engage with the movies as spectators, the complex sexual connotations certain aspects of these films have, and the cultural stereotypes that are being broken by the different portrayals of women. By analyzing such a massively successful popular culture phenomenon, we are able to comprehend more about our collective psychology, human behavior and human nature, for we realize that these movies speak to us, and tell us what it is that we find moving and what our deepest desires and fears truly are.


Candidate number: 001410-0021 APPENDIX Personal Interview: Gertrúdis Ostfeld de Bendayán, PhD Date: November 12th, 2012. Location: Home of Gertrúdis Ostfeld de Bendayán. Caracas, Venezuela. Interviewing method: recorded and transcribed interview; orally conducted. About Gertrúdis Ostfeld de Bendayán: Gertrúdis is a Jungian psychologist with years of experience, graduated from Universidad Simón Bolívar, and author of several book publications, such as Ecce Mulier: Nietzsche and the Eternal Feminine, an Analytical Psychological Perspective. Due to Gertrúdis lack of expertise in the particular area of horror films, I have given her a brief introduction on both of the discussed genres, and also on the objective of my essay and the several points I will be touching throughout the interview. ALEJANDRO: I've seen some quotes from many people in this genre, not only from film but also literature. Edgar Allan Poe, for example, said the "most poetical topic in the world" is the death of a beautiful woman. Hitchcock said that we don't "torture women enough", and Dario Argento said that he "would much prefer to watch (a beautiful woman) being murdered than an ugly girl or man”. It’s also interesting to see this image of the "damsel in distress" not just in horror films, but also action films, and other genres. It seems to be a recurrent theme… GERTRÚDIS: There's a difference between a woman in distress that will be rescued and a woman in distress that will be murdered, because they both give you a different perspective on "masculinity towards femininity". One could be a very misogynistic perspective, because the woman might represent a threat, a danger, temptation, and could even turn out to be the frightening object of a mother complex that is resolved through the elimination of the woman. The other perspective is the rescuing of the feminine; we see the hero who seeks to rescue these damsels, which is typical of the stories of chivalry. So you would have to see which the general approach in horror films is; is the feminine figure being 19

Candidate number: 001410-0021 killed at the end or being rescued, and this will tell you about the connection the director has with femininity. If there is a feminine figure that terrorizes him, maybe what happens with the female has to do with his mother complex; if he seeks to rescue her, he is looking for redemption of the feminine. A: Many of those who have studied these films have noted that there is a difference between the deaths of the men and those of the women. The death of the male is much faster and less tortuous than that of the woman who, on the other hand, is tortured and is persecuted‌ G: That has to do with the relationship the director has with the female. Because it’s a form of punishment, of getting rid of the woman. "I'm not going to kill immediately, I'm going to make you suffer. "The female figure has to do with his mother complex because this is the first image of the femininity. (....) You can see in this very famous film, Psycho, how Norman Bates is trapped in a mother complex. He keeps the mother alive by impersonating the mother; (...) He is so caught up in this female complex that he's possessed by it, and gets rid of everything that might endanger the mother. So that's why I say that that has a lot to do with the relationship of the director with his own mother complex and at the same time with his own inner female. If his mother is a threatening, castrating, stifling one, we will see that this translated into the movie, because he will to solve the murder through torture, and the elimination of that feminine figure. If, on the other hand, he has a more positive example of the feminine, he will want redemption; he will save her at the end of the movie. Everything will depend on the relationship of the director with the feminine. A: One of the authors I read, for example, Carol Clover, seems to evaluate these films through a very Freudian reading. Many have said that these films empower women because it is precisely a woman the one who survives at the end, but this author has claimed that, even though she survives, in order for her to do so, she must lose her femininity, and backs her argument by noting the use phallic of symbols, such as the knife, or the fact that she (the female character) differs from the other girls in the film because she was is responsible, studious, focused,


Candidate number: 001410-0021 almost sexually frustrated, and that even their names are somewhat androgynous, such as Billie, Sydney, etc... G: I'm going to give you a Jungian reading. Let's not fall into the stereotypes of what a woman is, but let's instead look at the archetypes that teach us that there are many ways to be a woman. These archetypes are personified in Greek mythology. , For example, it is not the same to be an Aphrodite, who is a woman oriented to sex, to carnal pleasures, to the sensual, and whose powers lie in her sexuality, than to be a Demeter, a woman who is a personification of a maternallyoriented female, or an Athena who, as you can see here (points to an Athena statuette on the shelves), is completely armed, who is very connected with masculine values, very connected to the father, and who defends, who fights, because she is a warrior. She is always represented through the image of a shield and spear that works as a knife, but she's not a phallic woman in the Freudian sense that she seizes the phallus of man, but rather she is born with it and it belongs to her. She is very much a woman, but has a much more aggressive femininity than Demeter or Aphrodite. Another archetype of a very aggressive and fighting woman is that one of the Amazons, who on the other hand do seek to destroy what's masculine. Athena does not destroy what's masculine, Athena is a friend of masculinity, but she is able to defend herself in certain situations, because she is not a helpless woman. She is a woman who is considered masculine, without being a man, but this is because she defends male values. What archetypes teach us is that there is a variety of ways in which a woman can be a woman. If we look at these women that you describe, they might have a lot of the archetype of Athena or the Amazon in them, while the women who perish can be considered more of a Demeter, an Aphrodite, a Core, i.e. a female who does not defend herself from a warrior-like position. So at the end it is not a matter of a woman taking over a phallus or the redemption or exaltation of women, but about the exaltation of a type of female that has to do with patriarchal values similar to an Athena. These are women that we see every day in real life; women who are fighters and face situations that maybe other forms of femininity can't face. This is what I mean when I say that we shouldn't fall in the "stereotypes game" and say "this is what being a man is" or "this is what is being


Candidate number: 001410-0021 woman is" but rather try to understand that there are many ways to being a man and being a woman. A: That's another point I want to discuss in my work. I want to question at the end what is "masculine" and what is "feminine", because if we categorize everything that is feminine in a passive role, for example, and everything that is male in a more active role then we cannot conceive having women in another type of role in these films. G: No, but if you can look at masculinity and femininity taking sexuality away from these concepts, and look at them as ying and yang, then you'll see that there are many men who have a lot of ying, a lot of "female", and many women who have a lot of yang, a lot of "male", without having that masculinity turn them into a man, or that femininity turn them (men) into a woman. There are also several male archetypes that have a lot of ying, and viceversa, like Dionysus, for example. Dionysus is a very androgynous god who was called the he-she because people were confused by him. He had an androgyny that other gods who had a lot yang, or masculine, didn't have, such as Zeus, Apollo, and Ares; so if we take these concepts and understand them as attributes instead of "gender", we can see that these are attributes that are independent of sexuality. You could have a woman who has a lot of yang, and that doesn't mean she's a man, or a man who has a lot of ying, and that doesn't mean he's a woman. That's why archetypes are so much richer than stereotypes, because they provide us with different ways to be a man or a woman. A: Yeah, I agree, that's why I was saying that a lot of people criticize these films, arguing that in order for the woman to be empowered she has to lose her femininity. G: No, it's another expression of femininity. If you look at Aphrodite, you will that she's a woman whose strength resides in her body, her sexuality, and she's generally represented naked. If you look at Demeter, she is dressed carrying a child. If you look at Kore, you will see that she's an innocent, virginal good little girl; she's the little red riding hood always attracting the wolves. If you look at this 22

Candidate number: 001410-0021 one (Athena), you'll see that she's armed to the teeth, and she's not masculine, she's a feminine woman with a lot of yang attributes. She's very active, very phallic very decisive; she has goals, logistics; everything that is associated to the male. A: There's also the issue of the relationship of the audience with the film. Some have discussed, for example, in what I have read, the topic of the identification that the men and women feel with each of the characters, because if we look at the audience, we'll see them excited by the thrill of the movie, by seeing the victims being persecuted, being killed; there is a lot of emotion, and we are almost rooting for the murderer, because what we're excited about when we watch these movies is the violence, but later on when the roles are reversed and the girl is the one who is defeating the "bad guy", we are now rooting for her. Why do you think we shift from identifying with the male killer to the female victim? G: Because I feel that all these are aspects that we all have within us. We all have extremely violent aspects that we don't necessarily play out. We may a certain image or persona; a very pacifist social mask, but within us we have this great violence that in some way we get to drain by watching it get played out in the screen. But at the same time we have other aspects in which violence is redressed, when we see a happy ending, a hero being saved, or the girl gaining courage, we are given an example of our own defense capabilities; or when the innocent girl is saved, then we also get to rescue our own innocence. All these aspects with which we identify in the film are things that live in our inner selves, and that's why we identify with them. Leonardo DaVinci once said that we cannot love nor hate anything that we have not known. This means that these are things that in some way live inside of us and if we identify with any of these aspects, it is because these aspects are within us, I mean, we have this ambivalence. Nothing exists without its opposite, and if we identify in our social life, in real life, with manifestations of peace that there may be, you can be sure of the fact that within us there is an aggressor that is being repressed in the shadows, and that somehow we see this played out in the film. Or maybe we act in a very aggressive way in real life, but inside us there is a more vulnerable person, who is more frightened and cowardly; then we identify with the fear felt by the victims in 23

Candidate number: 001410-0021 that movie. All this has to do with issues that reside within us and that somehow by being presented on the screen we identify with them or we recognize issues that may even be unconscious for us, but move us because they are within us, otherwise they would just leave us cold. A: Do you think that we as a society like violence, because historically speaking, entertainment used to be watching gladiators fight, and everyone gathered in these big arenas to see people being devoured by lions, etcetera, and today we have horror movies that also have a large following. Whenever a big new horror movie comes out, it's usually one of the highest grossing films of the time. G: I believe all humans possess a violent aspect within them that society has or tries to dominate, or civilize. We have this wild animal within us that somehow this movie can unleash. The dangerous part is that they are so successful, they produce such a strong identification with the murderers that these characters end up being the heroes for us and we want to resemble them. Many of these films promote this violent being that we have chained, and we have seen how in the U.S. recently with the Batman movie (“The Dark Knight Rises�), how this man (James Eagan Holmes, sole suspect to the 2012 Aurora shootings that occurred during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises) identified so strongly with one of the evil characters that the violence that he had repressed within himself because of bullying, because of all these horrible things that happen in our society, that he, thanks to being a victim for so long, saw these movies promoting him to act, because now the heroes are the antiheroes of the past. Now they set up the bad guy, the offender, as the hero who evokes in us a series of powerful emotions that may lead us to identify with him, thus activating in us that aggression that exists in all human beings. Now, aggression is necessary because it allows survival but we should try to find a way to transform that aggressiveness into assertiveness, into the setting of goals, as if it comes out like this, crude and raw, then it can be extremely destructive. Of course, our role models today are not our family, today our role models are those in showbiz, these films, these characters that embody the world of entertainment; these are the role models of young people. You don't hear kids saying "I want to be like my dad," they say I want to be like this artist who earns a lot of money or that one 24

Candidate number: 001410-0021 who produces many violent super blockbuster movies, so, of course, all this encourages us to release this aggressive energy, innate in human nature. A: So do you think then that these films encourage us to us to be more violent or... G: They may incite violence... A: Do you think that they incite violence, and that is why our society is becoming more violent, or, as others say, that they may also serve as a catharsis. G: You don't know where you sow the seed; you know what I mean? Where will this seed fall, in which soil will the seed land… If I'm a bitter person, a social misfit…through the violence I've seen and the way I've been treated in my family, in my society…then this film could promote a violent resolution, but it is also possible that it serves as catharsis. What we do see is that violence is something that is the “order of the day”. We live with violence constantly surrounding us. It forms part of our reality as a society plus we live it through the world of entertainment, which basically means that we are constantly bombarded by violence; it ends up being a commonplace means of expression…and maybe “I” identify with this hero who has been extremely violent…so it all depends on where the seed falls. There are more fragile psyches that can erupt through being moved by these movies, while there are others that drain what they need to drain through watching these scenes. But they are definitively making violence more commonplace in our society. A: There is every day a growing interest in studying these films. Do you think these films deserve to be studied? G: Yes, they should be studied, because if they attract the large audience that they attract it is because there is something in human nature that is reflected in them, which means that these films are a valid medium through which to study those aspects of ourselves. We can look at them from a psychological perspective, because these movies move our psyche, so let's see what is it really 25

Candidate number: 001410-0021 moving, what is it that we have projected in them? Why does it attract so many people? What part of us is moved? Creativity through cinematography is a valid means to a psychological reading, just like any other human creation. A: Going back to the identification issue, there was something that I found interesting. I don't know if I agree with this, but this specific author (Carol Clover) looks at these films in a very Freudian way; she looks at the masculine woman as a man in drag, and also points out that the murderer has many feminine characteristics. Many times these murderers are under the power of the mother, as in Psycho, as in Friday the 13th. In the first of this series, for example, the killer at the end actually turns out to be the mother of the one everyone thought was the killer... G: But that is all a manifestation of a maternal complex; not everything has to do with what's feminine to men, or masculine to women. That is a possession of a complex that can either be maternal or paternal, because if we are possessed by the complex of an aggressive and devouring father, then we can also go out and kill this possessive and devouring father; everything is determined by the object we're pursuing. That's why I was telling you, if a director frequently portrays women pursued we would have to take a look at his maternal complex. If a director portrays the victimization of authority figures‌the principal of a school is murdered, the policeman is could also take a look at his relationship with the father. So it has to do with the object that is being persecuted and the director's own complexes, and not only that, but also how the persecuted object ends up; if it ends up being rescued or it ends up being destroyed. A: Another thing she said, that seemed a little crazy to me, is that women-on-men violence equals man-on-man sex. G: I do not think so. A: Me neither.


Candidate number: 001410-0021 G: I just see it as the fact that we all have this aggressive component, which is presented in any form and directed at a certain object, and this is no commentary on whether we are male or female, but rather we would be talking again about the ying and yang attributes. The yang can be extremely destructive and can destroy through such things as phallic weapons, but you could also have a very sick ying, there is a sick female, who is going to kill through suffocation; she doesn't need blunt objects or phallic weapons because she has more “feminine” ways with which to kill, such as asphyxiation. A: This genre's main target audience is men, and the films are made by men. Do you think that men are more violent and that's why we are more drawn to these films? G: Look, I've seen ... my daughter is a big fan of horror films, but of course, usually the male role assigned by society is much more active, more aggressive, more violent, and that's why men can so readily identify with what happens there…but I've also seen many women who are passionate about these genres, so we cannot say "men like this more than women." It may be that much more aggressive role that is given to men, but this is just a social construct. That is why we see Greek gods who are the personifications of certain psychic energies or human behaviors that are much more calm and peaceful, and, similarly, there are goddesses that are much more feminine yet active. Society gives a certain preference to certain expressions of masculinity and femininity, and the masculine role that is preferred is the one represented by Ares or Mars, who’s the aggressive one, the phallic one, the destructive one, the rough one, the troublemaker, who requires an enemy, a target to destroy, so it's very cultural, as you can see, and all men that are outside of this stereotype are then seen as freaks, or are seen as "this is not a real man because this is not what I expect as a social construct”. Same thing with females; they are expected to be more passive, more fearful, more receptive, less active, less violent, but there's another female, and you will see her represented in mythology by the Furies, or the Gorgons, Medusa, who is among the Gorgons, by Athena, by the Amazons, by Circe, and they are all just different expressions of femininity.


Candidate number: 001410-0021 A: You have spoken about the vengeance of men on women, who may be laboring under a mother complex, but there is a movie, for example, called Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS, in which we see a concentration camp's female general. She is a very aggressive woman, and is doing experiments in a concentration camp, with the purpose of those experiments being to prove that women are more resilient to pain than men. She also finds men who are in this concentration camp to sleep with them and then castrate or murder them... G: She's an Amazon, those are the Amazons. The Amazons used men, and when they were of no use, they killed them. So we see activated or conceptualized in this female general the archetype of the Amazons. If you look at this through the lens of mythology, you can understand this with less prejudice, because we just see what archetype is active in a certain character. It's not a matter of saying this is more or less feminine, no, it's just about different expressions of the feminine. A: And in those experiments I also feel like she seeks to prove the true power of women. G: Yes, and perfection, because what the Amazons had was a women's territory, and men were only used for their reproductive labor or slavery, and then they got rid of them. Here we can see what you're describing, like I said, the archetype of the Amazon is activated. There is resentment of what is masculine, so they try to prove that they are a superior race, who can live without a man, that is in the country of women, where the power lies in what's feminine, and that is one of the expressions of femininity. That's why I feel that it is much richer to look at this from the perspective of the archetypes than to see it as a matter of phallic possession or not, or of men becoming women or women becoming men, because we would be falling into stereotypes. A: All of these female and masculine qualities coexist within us... G: And also, there are many ways of being a woman, and there are many ways of being a man, for example, one male is the god Pan, who created panic, so what we may be looking at is a society whose Pan may be very activated. It was said 28

Candidate number: 001410-0021 that the cry of Pan was so frightening that he caused panic. We’re talking about an expression of masculinity that is very close to the animalistic, also because he lived in the woods… I mean, he is the most instinctive, most primitive, most animalistic. He is a mix of body and raw emotions and passions, bypassing culture and giving free rein to his instincts. A: There is also a genre of films called rape and revenge. For example, the most famous one, called I Spit On Your Grave, has in half of the film a group of men chasing and raping a woman and then in the other half of the movie you have the same woman searching for these men and torturing them one by one. So maybe we're identifying first with this type of masculinity or we're venting our own violence through catharsis, and then we remove our guilt by empowering the woman. G: Or the viewer can be identified with a character, with the first part of the film, and some can be identified with the second part of the film. It could also happen that (the viewer is thinking) "hey, why did they kill the bad guy if I wanted the bad guy to live", so maybe you're not necessarily identifying with all the characters in the movie, but you can identify with only one of these characters, or one of these roles. One could identify with this defenseless woman, who is taken advantage of and is abused and who is somehow given just retribution and takes the law into her own hands, while the man, or certain male characters could be identified with the exacerbated and negative male who allows violence against women. A: This type of rape and revenge movies are also a bit different from the others I've mentioned, the more conventional slasher horror films, because in these films what we see is a much more fragile woman, at least in the first part of the film. Maybe, through the violence, we're forcing her to gain power. G: Well, because the history of women has been a history of abuse, I mean, patriarchal society has forced women into a history of repression, so when that “thing” that has been repressed comes out of its shadow, it comes with violence, and it's almost like payback time. Now it's the woman's turn to defend herself, she doesn't need a man to represent her, to defend me, because she can take care of 29

Candidate number: 001410-0021 herself. These films may reflect an oppression or abuse that is still taking place in the XXI century against women. Domestic violence continues to be an issue even in the most developed of countries. So that's the way a woman who's abused by men in a verbal, sexual, or emotional way can relate to this character who is showing that she has the power within her to destroy whatever it is that is making her a victim. A: The other type of movies that we mentioned, the “slashersâ€?, we have already stated show a certain women's archetype, but it' usually the archetype of the one who has more male characteristics, the one who is more Athena... G: ‌because she has more attributes that help her survive, she has more resilience, or resistance to violence, she has those tools, because she's a woman who takes control, who somehow knows how to defend herself, who can choose what she wants in life, and who has the inner qualities that allow her to take an active part in her own survival. These are women who have more resilience, resistance to deal with more extreme situations and to act accordingly; while those who are more identified with the more conventional feminine values, are more passive. They always have the father that defends them, or the boyfriend that defends them, or they have a man who is the one that represents them, they're thinking, "I don't know how to defend myself, I'm scared", because they're in the more conventional role that's existed since the days of the stories of chivalry, the Troubadours, of the damsel in distress who must be saved. Those are the patriarchal roles that in some way put in action the characteristic dramas of the period. Now, this patriarchal role has been stressed for many years, a role in which it is the man who is the strong one, and even the abusive one; he is the law, the action; and the woman's role is more passive and submissive. These are roles that have been established in society since before Christ. Even Plato considered women as something completely nullified. A: Also, speaking of the relationship of the audience to the film, there are also discussions on the way the movie is "lived", so to speak. First, you have the type of person who is excited about what is happening, who's at the edge of their seat, and then you have the people who cover their eyes... 30

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G: And there is something in them that excites them as well, because if not, why would they be watching? They go looking for something that at the same time they cannot endure, but they're searching for that adrenaline rush. What happens is that there are those who want to look horror straight in the face, and there are others who want to look at horror on the oblique, from the side, but who also feel an excitement with that, because if not, why would you even go see it, unless you're a masochist and you find in suffering, pleasure. In mythology, for example, we also have a personification of horror, the Gorgon, who was that nobody could look at her in the face, so you would have to indirectly look at her, because the horror can petrify you. Others, however, have more stamina and want to see their gorgon face to face, they enjoy seeing every detail because they have their own gorgon activated within them. A: Now, moving away a little from the gender issue, we also see many films that explore the topic of urban versus rural. For example, in the movie “The Hills Have Eyes” a family that comes from a city, with all its technology, culture, etc., come, almost bursting into, this desert in which an underground civilization of monsters live, and these monsters attack them. However, these monsters were also victims of civilization, because they used to be normal people but were turned into monsters as the consequence of several government. Also, in the film mentioned before, “I Spit On Your Grave”, the woman comes from an urban city to this small town to write, she's a writer, and the local men who are shown as vulgar end up raping and assaulting her. G: Well, because somehow they also teach you that in rural environments they have less culture, it's nature versus culture, there are free instincts, less protection, you're more isolated, you could be caught up on a number of situations in which it is more difficult to ask for help, precisely because of the isolation in which you are in; and they could also be teaching that people who come from the city are accustomed to and protected by a series of devices that don't help at all when facing horror in a completely solitary environment, like forests, places that are more rural, that are wilder, more primitive, and that are a representation or a metaphor of the unconscious, with its stimuli, and its raw, 31

Candidate number: 001410-0021 undomesticated, pure instinct. Who are you going to ask for help in a forest? There is a feeling of being much more exposed to the forces of nature; and nature can be very cruel. A: Maybe we have reflected on this as well the fear of the unknown, which has a lot to do with the relationship there is with these films. G: Of course, it's usually in forests where we see fairy tales taking place in. Where you have monsters and demons in is in the woods, because they're a representation of the unconscious. The forest is the ideal representation of the mysterious unknown, where from the most magical and most sublime things to the cruelest and most unspeakable, things happen, I mean, you can find in the woods from the most magical things to the most terrifying and real things. It has a whole range of possibilities. It's the mysterious, the unknown, that which I can't control, because I cannot control nature. A: And in the face of the unknown we can feel very seduced but also frightened, because, like you said, we can find something horrible or something totally magical. G: There is a scholar of religions, Rudolf Otto, who said that in the face of that which is bright, that is, which goes beyond our human consciousness, beyond what's familiar; we can feel terror and fascination at the same time. He said "the mystery that fascinates and frightens. “That’s why we want to look at it and at the same time, we don't, or want to get out but we're stuck there because it's something that overwhelms us, it goes beyond our ordinary consciousness, it's something that attracts us, but also makes us very afraid. It's a mystery that draws us in, that fascinates us and terrifies us all at once, as it happens with everything that comes from the unconscious and with everything that comes from the unknown. If an alien suddenly appeared in front of us, we would feel fascinated by him, but also feel terrified because we don't know exactly what that alien is, or what did it come for, is it coming to destroy us or befriend us? We feel fascinated through the encounter of mysterious things, but precisely because it is something that don't control, we feel terrified. 32

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A: So, finally, to wrap things up, would you say that these films are misogynistic, that they empower women, or that they have nothing to do with it? G: They have nothing to do with it. It's about what the public is asking for, it's about violence in our society, and the director's own complexes. I think it has to do with the society in which we live and the exaltation of violence.


Candidate number: 001410-0021 BIBLIOGRAPHY BOOKS: Clover, Carol J. Men, Women and Chainsaws. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992. Print. Penner, Jonathan. Schneider, Steven Jay. Duncan, Paul. Cine de Terror. Spain: 2008 Taschen GMBH, 2008. Print. Phillips, Kendall R. Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture. 88 Post Road West, Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2005. Print. Pinedo, Isabel Cristina. Recreational Terror: Women and the Pleasures of Horror Film. Albany: State University of New York, 1997. Print. Skal, David J. The Monster Show: a Cultural History of Horror. New York, New York: Faber and Faber, Inc, 2001. Print. Kerswell, J.A. The Slasher Movie Book. Chicago, Illinois: New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd., 2010. Print. WEB Blakeley, Kiri. “Women In Horror Films.” Forbes. Forbes. 26 Aug 2008. Web. 21 Feb 2013 <> Brewer, Chad. “The Stereotypical Portrayal of Women in Slasher Films: Then Versus Now.” MA Thesis. University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, Louisiana. 2009. Web. 12 Dec 2012. Cochrane, Kira. “Torture Porn.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited.






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Ebert, Roger. “I Spit On Your Grave.”,, 16 July 1980. Web. 21 Jan 2013. < AID=/19800716/REVIEWS/7160301/1023> "Exploitation films." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.








<> Field, Emma. “Only a Trickle? Blood in Detail and Three Women’s Films.” MA Thesis. University of Tasmania. Australia. 2003. Web. 19 Feb 2013. “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” IMDb., Inc. Web. 12 Dec 2013. Kaminski, Michael. “Is I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE Really a Misunderstood Feminist Film?” WHATCULTURE! Obsessed with film, LTD. 6 Oct 2010. Web. 15 Jan 2013 <> North, Anna. “In Defense Of Lady-Terrorizing Horror Movies.” Jezebel. Gawker Media. 27 Aug 2010. Web. 21 Feb 2013 <> Wright, Erica. “Carnage and Carnality: Gender and Corporeality in the modern horror









<> Web. 09 Jan 2013. FILMS: A Nightmare on Elm Street. Dir. Craven, Wes. New Line Cinema. 1984. DVD. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Dir. Meyer, Russ. 1965. Web. Friday the 13th. Dir. Nispel, Marcus. Paramount Pictures, 2009. Web. Halloween. Dir. Carpenter, John. Compass International Pictures, 1978. DVD.


Candidate number: 001410-0021 Halloween II. Dir. Carpenter, John. Compass International Pictures, 1980. Web. Happy Birthday To Me. Dir. Thompson, J. Lee. Columbia Pictures, 1981. DVD. Hell Night. Dir. DeSimeone, Tom. Compass International Pictures, 1981. Web. Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS. Dir. Edmonds, Don. Irena Latina, 1975. Web. I Spit on Your Grave. Dir. Zarchi, Meir. Miramax Films, 1981. DVD. My Bloody Valentine. Dir. Mihalka, George. Paramount Pictures, 1981. DVD. Scream. Dir. Craven, Wes. Dimension Films, 1996. DVD. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Dir. Hooper, Tobe. Bryanston Pictures, 1974. DVD. The Burning. Dir. Maylam, Tony. Filmways Pictures, 1981. Web. The Funhouse. Dir. Hooper, Tobe. Universal Pictures, 1981. Web. IMAGES: Photogram of A Nightmare on Elm Street. 1984. Deadcentral. Beyond, Dread Central Media, LLC. JPEG File. 23 Feb 2013. Photogram of A Nightmare on Elm Street. 1984. Best-Horror-Movies. Best-HorrorMovies, com. JPEG File.23 Feb 2013. Photogram of Halloween. 1978. SciFi Now. Imagine Publishing Ltd. JPEG File.23 Feb 2013. Poster of Day of the Woman. 1981. Amasse Way of Life. Blogger. JPEG File. 23 Feb 2013. Poster of I Spit on Your Grave. 1981. Amasse Way of Life. Blogger. JPEG File. 23 Feb 2013. Poster of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! 1965. Amazon., Inc. JPEG File.23 Feb 2013. 36

Candidate number: 001410-0021 Poster of Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS. 1975. Amazon., Inc. JPEG File. 23 Feb 2013. Image of Amazon warrior. A Walk in the WoRds. Blogger. JPEG File. 23 Feb 2013. INTERVIEW: Ostfeld de Bendayán, Gertrúdis. Personal Interview. 12 Nov. 2013.


The Portrayal of Women in the Modern Horror and Exploitation Film  

Essay for the Washington Academy.

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