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Gender In The Modern Horror Film

877 words - 4 pages

Horror movies have been part of mainstream cinema since the early 1930s when films such as Dracula and Frankenstein were created. As the horror genre evolved, so did the stories in the films. Friday the 13th (Marcus Nipsel, 2009) is a very good example of this evolution. Even though it is a remake, Friday the 13th changed the way horror movies were seen by the audience. The ideas and theory behind this slasher sub-genre of horror films can be summed up in a book. Carol Clover, an American professor of film studies, wrote a book in 1992 entitled Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film in which she described the horror film genre. In a chapter entitled “Her Body, Himself”, Clover describes how weapons play a very important role in horror movies as well as explaining her Final Girl theory. Her book’s ideas changed not only academic notions but also popular beliefs on horror films. The 2009 remake of Friday the 13th implies that Carol Clover’s ideas about 80s slasher films, including male tormentors, the importance of weapons, and the Final Girl, have stayed the same through the years.
Out of most horror films, especially those of the slasher sub-genre, the killer is usually male. As said by Clover, “Female killers are few and their reasons for killing significantly different from men’s” (29). In Friday the 13th (2009), the killer, Jason, is male. He follows the typical slasher killer that Clover describes in her book. Though most Friday the 13th movies have Jason as the killer, in Friday the 13th I, the killer is Jason’s mother. In actuality, most slasher horror films have a male tormentor as the killer. Also, as stated by Clover, the killer is usually one who psychotic, previously been sexually abused, or one that has deep emotional family issues. This can be seen in Friday the 13th (2009) as Jason is emotionally attached to his mother after seeing her beheaded by a camp counselor. Clover states “(Jason’s) motive is vengeance for the death of his mother, his excessive attachment toward whom is manifested in his enshrining of her severed head” (29). Weapons Jason uses and the ways he kills people also plays an important role in seeing how Friday the 13th (2009) uses conventions discussed in Clovers book.
The way weapons are seen and used in slasher films. For example, Clover states, “In the hands of the killer, at least, guns have no place in slasher films” (31). This becomes very apparent in Friday the 13th (2009) since Jason is basically the only one who...

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