This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Slasher Movies: Female Victims Or Survivors?

1095 words - 4 pages

Slasher Movies: Female Victims or Survivors?

“[Scary movies are] all the same. Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can’t act who’s always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door. It’s insulting,” claims the character Sidney, in the movie Scream (1996).
This stereotype is what many movie fans and critics believe when the topic of slasher films arise. Slasher films normally include a psychotic killer (either real or supernatural), a number of victims (often female), and usually the only person alive at the end of the movie is a female. Yet, one has to question these stereotypes. Are slasher films really that degrading towards women? Feminist critics tend to focus on females being mutilated in these films, despite the fact that just as many men die in most horror movies as women. Is it fair to claim horror movies are sexist when men and women both die in horror movies, and it is often a woman who is able to outsmart the killer and survive the entire movie? Are women is slasher films really victims or are they strong survivors?

The first misconception about slasher films is the idea that women are the main victims in these movies. According to Vera Dika:
Although it may at first seem that the violence in these films is directed overwhelmingly against women, a closer look reveals a curious fact…. There seems to be a pronounced tendency across these films to be evenhanded. In Halloween, for example, the majority of victims are female. But in Friday the 13th and Graduation Day the victims are as often male as female; in Happy Birthday to Me all but one of the killer’s victims are male. (90)

In movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), there are more male victims than female. In all of the above examples, the last people to survive the killing sprees are women. The female is often able to outwit the killer and this is how she survives. Sometimes, such as in the movie Halloween (1978), the female must rely on the luck of a stranger trying to help her. However, in sequels of the movie, the main character is able to defend herself and conquers her killer. Many strong female heroines are shown in slasher films.

The theory of the “final girl” is a fascinating concept in horror movies. Carol J. Clover created the term “final girl” in the book, “Men, Women, and Chainsaws.” Clover points out that the “[final girl] often show[s] more courage and levelheadedness than their cringing male counterparts” (36). Clover argues from a feminist perspective that the females in these movies survive only because they are acting as male protagonists would (Wells 18). From a psychoanalytic standpoint, she feels that women “must be eliminated in horror text because they lack a phallus” (Wells 19). However, Paul Wells feels this theory is questionable and challenges it:
The monster sometimes has an indeterminate gender, or is, indeed, a woman. ...

Find Another Essay On Slasher Movies: Female Victims or Survivors?

Friday the 13th: Jason Voorhees, a Horror Icon

1299 words - 5 pages a noise and innocently going to check it out, then ending up dead. The director and producer of the 1980s version made a poor quality film, but started a new era and genre of movies, known as “slasher” films. These films are often considered exploitation films, because they frequently use low budgets, nudity, gore, and shock techniques. The Friday the 13th series has thirteen movies alone, all slasher films. Jason is taken out, or finished

The Evolution of Horror Films Essay

1954 words - 8 pages beginning of slasher movies. Slasher films contained killers that violently destroyed the bodies of their victims, leaving them extremely bloodied and dismantled. A common theme was a group of victims that were viciously murdered one by one, captivating the audience by their desire to know which character would be next to die. (Wilson) Although many people enjoyed slasher films, there were also many critics who labeled this style as unacceptable

Violence against Women on Television and in Movies

1471 words - 6 pages suspect that was a family member or intimate partner of the victim. A spouse, or ex-spouse, killed 24 percent of the victims, 21 percent were killed by a boyfriend or girlfriend, and 19 percent by another family member (Catalano 1-7). Horror Films Started It All To find out why so many of the TV shows and movies people watch contain so much violence, and violence against women, it is important to take a look back to where it all started—horror films

North of Nowhere?: The Signifigance of Canadian Cultural Identity in Genre Films Produced During the "Tax Shelter Years"

2336 words - 9 pages quintessential director of the tax shelter era, Bob Clark, made "Black Christmas". This film was every bit the "slasher" film that "Halloween" was. All the classic "slasher" conventions were represented in "Black Christmas". There were powerless young females, a mentally disturbed knife wielding killer who stalks a sorority house and murders his victims in a most gruesome manner, and even the ever popular incompetent police officers. Throughout the next

Essay on an Analysis of Horror Movies in general...the examples used are from "Nightmare on Elm Street 3", "Friday the 13th (Part 8)" and "Freddy VS Jason"

1002 words - 4 pages most of the victims are young women. "Critic and researchers have claimed that movies such as Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, [...] feature acts of extreme violence [...], women singled out for injury and death [...] and scenes of explicit violence juxtaposed with sexual or erotic female images. It has been argued that females are more frequently the targets of violence in slasher films."(Barry S Sapolsky, p.28). For example, in the

The Effect of Mass Media on Society

2045 words - 9 pages In today’s society, the mass media plays a major role in how people: think, feel and behave in their daily lives. Mass media is communication—whether written, broadcast, or spoken—that reaches a large audience. This includes television, radio, advertising, movies, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, and so forth. The mass media impacts so many globally because of the messages that are sent out through things like billboards, TV, and magazines

Social Critique versus Sadism in Horror Films

1702 words - 7 pages “simultaneously express desires and needs not provided for within the dominant ideology and reflect major tenants of that ideology.” For example, horror films such as The Shining and Rosemary’s Baby are reflective our society’s fascination with violence against women while also being critical of the existing patriarchy that allows such violence to occur. Furthermore, the variations in the presentation of these stories of female victims over time affect the

Jaws

1233 words - 5 pages suspense, such as the Ring (2002) and the Grudge (2004). Towards the end of the era we see excessive blood and gore, more victims, violence and sadism and finally torture, Saw (2004) and Hostel (2002) are well known Hollywood examples. As I have already mentioned Jaws is an important movie because it was the first real blockbuster, grossing $450 million. A common discussion is whether Jaws is a horror or thriller, I am going to analyse two key

Rape Redefined

1055 words - 5 pages The definition of rape, established in 1927 was "the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will"(Basu, 2012). It remained this way for eight-five years. On January 6, 2012, the definition of rape was broadened to include men as victims. Rape is now defined as "penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the

The Horror Genre

1579 words - 7 pages , editors and the movie crew all have the difficult task of scaring you. Many movies use different methods to do so. Soundtrack, shock tactics, the monster, the setting, victim being vulnerable/helpless, violence and blood, demonic beings, chase sequences, fear of being alone, are some examples of the tactics used to scare people in films. Many films use some or all of these tactics to scare their audience. Different directors choose different

A Feminist Reading of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

3271 words - 13 pages predominately female audience can identify in a way not accounted for by most feminist criticism about horror.   In the introduction to her book, Men, Women, and Chain Saws (1993), Clover delimits her inquiry to "[those subgenres] of [1970's and 80's] American cinematic horror . . . in which female figures and/or gender issues loom especially large: slasher films, occult or possession films, and rape-revenge films" (5). More specifically

Similar Essays

Women As Victims In The Media

566 words - 2 pages female non-survivors wore more revealing and/or provocative clothing, were nude, or undressing, and were presented as promiscuous more often than female survivors in slasher films. Further victims were more frequently engaged in sexual behavior right before the killing. They were also more likely to be doing drugs more often than the survivors. The non-survivors were generally more physically attractive and were not the instigators of the

Archetypal Characters Within The Slasher Film Sub Genre

1261 words - 5 pages correlation was demonstrated in the glut of so-called "slasher" films during the period 1974-1984. Although the films were diverse in form and execution, the basic plot of these movies involved some sort of deranged psychopath gleefully stalking and killing a number of unfortunate teenage victims. Within this sub-genre there can be found a number of basic character styles, or archetypes. These archetypes not only serve to bind certain movies into the

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

Gender In The Modern Horror Film

877 words - 4 pages 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