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Analysis Of Slasher Films Through Scream

1327 words - 6 pages

Film is an important part of American culture. Movies provide us with various kinds of entertainment due to a wide array of genres. A “slasher” film, as defined by Carol Clover (author of the horror film analysis Men, Women and Chainsaws) are “the immensely generative story of a psychokiller who slashes to death a string of mostly female victims, one by one until he is subdued or killed, usually by the one girl who has survived”. One of the most popular slasher films of the late 90’s was Wes Craven’s “Scream”. The film has all the trademarks of a slasher film; the knife-weilding masked psychopath, the stupid teenage victims being picked off one by one, and the plot twist ending. Not only are slasher films predictable, but they also contain the same gender roles most horror films have. The helpless and promiscuous female victims, the strong and brave males, and the dominant murderer are all present in the film. Though the typical gender roles seen in horror films are portrayed throughout the film, the end of the movie reverses these roles by having a female character triumph over evil.
“Scream” opens up with the scene of a girl who, while home alone, receives a call from a stranger who begins to ask her strange questions. Upon seeing the body of her murdered boyfriend, the girl begins to be tormented by a serial killer who chases her throughout her home and ends up stabbing her to death on the lawn. The gender roles present in this scene show the girl as being weak and vulnerable, cornered in her own home at the mercy of the mysterious killer that lurks outside. The killer, on the other hand, displays the typical gender roles of a male, which are powerful and dominant. The killer has control over the situation by chasing the female victim throughout her own home. These gender roles are portrayed throughout the horror genre, which typically view women as the weaker sex who are chased and victimized in their own homes by the strong male aggressors (Nolan, 1999).
The film then moves on to introduce the main character, Sidney Prescott who, as the audience soon finds out, lost her mother a year ago to a mysterious murder. Her mother’s killer was never found. Sidney lives alone with her father and has her boyfriend, Billy. Early on in the film, we learn that Sidney is still a virgin and refuses sexual advances made by Billy. One night, Sidney is home alone when she is attacked by the same masked murderer that killed the girl in the opening scene. In typical slasher film fashion, instead of running out the front door, Sidney takes off up the stairs where she frantically locks herself in her room. Sidney follows the female gender role again of being weak and vulnerable, as seen when she runs away from her assailant. When Billy sneaks in her bedroom window to console Sidney, he drops his cellphone and Sidney immediately assumes he was the one who made the ominous phone call preceding her attack. Billy is then taken in for questioning but is soon...

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