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The Portrayal Of Women In Horror Movies Film Studies Essay


Woman: Whist the term girl can be used for a child or female adolescent, the word Woman would refer to an adult girl human.

Horror film: Movie theater that is established to disgust and cause fear and stress to

its spectator though topics of your gruesome and paranormal mother nature.


This dissertation will consider the functions of ladies in the horror film genre and can deconstruct how the conventions of the horror film prescribe such jobs. Despite continuing criticism for delivering women in a negative manner, lots of the motion pictures explored here appear to suggest strong feminine representation so that it will possible to research the position of the female from a variety of angles allowing a substance discussion and counter discussion. The passive female assignments will be examined from the perspective of the male gaze and abjection, whilst effective female functions will be explored from the role of the mother and the outcome of 'The Last Young lady'.

As it might be impossible to discuss the entire background of the horror genre and woman's marriage to it within the space available, so three chosen motion pictures will support the debate. In all circumstances these motion pictures are regarded as 'typical' horror videos and, importantly, landmark and watershed occasions in the horror genre.

Psycho (1960), The Exorcist (1973), as well as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) all stand for meta statements in the annals of the genre and offer essential examples of the arguments talked about here. It should also be known that all three videos contain also ambiguous feminine character types for example; Mrs Bates in Psycho, the 'cross dressing' 'Leatherface' within the Texas Chain Noticed Massacre and the possessed Regan within the Exorcist who'll all be debated.

Significantly the movies were produced and released during durations of change for women's rights, including the origins of the women's liberation motion in the early sixties though to the publishing of THE FEMININE Eunuch by Germaine Greer, and Spare Rib mag in the seventies. This help fuel the issue more significantly as the particular films span a period when women in the real world (as opposed to the produced world of the theatre) acquired made great steps toward equality through the feminist activity.

Horror videos are informed as experiences of good versus bad. The drama of their narratives tends to derive from the clash between a monster and an innocent,

So I wish to understand why so many gratuitous, unjustified serves of assault towards girl could be justified on display screen. I will consider the following aspects: male gaze, abjection, family composition, and the results of 'the last female' in the framework of horror film genre. These are four common tendencies embedded within the books of women and horror film and the backdrop to these conversations will be framed within the context of the chosen movies.

This writing will deconstruct and examine the structure of these motion pictures, the motives behind their composition, and can consider their target audience. It will examine the symbolism that is used expressing the plots and sub-plots and, most importantly, consider the jobs of the feminine personas in those motion pictures.

I will employ psychoanalytic and feminist theory to explore the feminine roles and will interpret commentary on Freudian and Lacanian theory, including castration panic and the role of the unconscious and apply those to horror film. Semiotic and populist point of view may also be considered to lay out this debate.

Much has been written on the subject and over twenty literature have been investigated to go over this awareness of women and horror film at length. Key text messages include: Means of Viewing (1972) by John Berger, Men, Women and String Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film (1992) by Carol J. Clover, The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis (1993) by Barbara Creed and Powers of Horror (1982) by Julia Kristeva. The text messages outline the intellectual framework into which this dissertation gets into.

People suppose that horror film entirely represent ladies in a reactionary fashion, but further examination has recommended that female personas aren't as weak and prone as they first may appear. For example 'The Last Girl's' last occasions have been radically written and rewritten across the remakes and sequels to provide new interpretation.

Analytical and theoretical research has been up to date by the writing of Laura Mulvey and specifically her conversations of the male gaze. Mulvey argues in her polemic essay 'Visible Pleasure and Narrative Movie theater' that theatre was primarily designed for the male spectator exploiting women as 'things of desire'. Julia Kristeva's essay 'The Capabilities of Horror' provides essential understanding on the positioning of abjection in the context of horror and mortality. All the above writers discuss theoretical studies and ideas of Dr Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan who are both indirectly referenced throughout this dissertation. Barbara Creed's 'The Monstrous-Feminine' and Carol Clover's e book 'Men, Women, and Chainsaws' will notify debate throughout the matriarchal figures in Psycho and the results of 'the final girl' within the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

CHAPTER 1 - Gendered Spectatorship

The male gaze is manufactured explicit in the horror genre, and this is inscribed in both aesthetics of the videos and its own exhibition context. Among the main essays about women in theatre is Laura Mulvey's theory on the 'male gaze'. As Mulvey expresses:

'The theatre offers a number of possible pleasures. Some may be scopophilia (pleasure in looking). There are circumstances in which looking itself is a way to obtain pleasure' (1989, p16).

(will i guide?) If scopophilia can be defined as 'love of looking' or 'deriving pleasure from looking', then this is often a definition of the cinema experience. Movie theater is, in the end, a kind of aesthetic entertainment. It entails the individual singularly participating with the display screen and its own projections as a kind of escapism and even rest, and can be perfectly achieved only as it entails very few sociable skills, since the viewer's only determination to the process is to look. However, after we question the way the film is looked at and who views the film, the relationship becomes more technical.

The reason for this article is to question how the female is looked at from the perspective of the spectator; to question how women are portrayed in horror films, and how these are 'searched at'. It'll explore the debate that cinematic looking comes from a male point of view and can question what kind of pleasure is obtained from looking at horror films out of this perspective. As Mulvey talks about: 'The movie theater satisfies a primordial want enjoyable looking' (1989, p17).

It allows the spectator the chance to observe within an totally passive role while the action occurs. The experience of movie theater is a one-sided agreement between your film itself and its own viewer. However, as Mulvey discusses regarding Dr Sigmund Freud, 'it also runs further, expanding scopophilia in its narcissistic aspect' (1989, p17).

Scopophilia can also claim that sexual joy can be produced from looking at things; that the way they are interpolated can make them erotic, and - while they are not erotic in their own right - through their relationship with the spectator they may become sexually objectified. The famous psychologist Dr Sigmund Freud isolated scopophilia among the component intuition of sexuality which exist as drives independently of the erotogenic areas. At this time he associated scopophilia with taking other folks as items, subjecting them to a handling and wondering gaze' (Mulvey, 1989, p16).

The history of art work emphasises this facet of scopophilia. Throughout skill history, painters have been commissioned to coloring female models as items of desire that have been and still are masquerading as artwork more closely related to pornography than with the great masterpieces.

Moving frontward, Clover debates that 'the cinematic gaze, we could advised, is male, and simply as that gaze "has learned" how to fetishize the feminine form in pornography' it also, she suggests (going to associate this to cinematography), 'recognizes' how to check out a female persona as she goes by way of a forbidding house, and scrutinise her face for signals of fear in a way that it does not do with male personas, since:

'a group of conventions we have now take for granted simply "views" males and females in different ways. ' (1992 p50-51).

This shows that the ownership - in the framework of theatre - is the cause of the effect that the viewers, by objectifying the physique on screen, provides it new so this means, a new public place. Simply by being looked at, new rules apply. To place this in to the context of women within horror, the men can now view the girl and the conditions and events around her in a newly detached manner and openly let the activities against her happen on the display.

'In psychoanalytic conditions, the female number poses a deeper problem. She also connotes something that the look constantly circles around but disavows, ' says Mulvey (1989, p21). This could be suggesting that as the spectator is assumed to be male, the appearance of a lady (ie non-male) form creates an stress around the potential for castration and an un-penised body 'hence unpleasure. '

Mulvey argues in Lacan: and Post feminism by Elizabeth Wright (2000, p45-46) that 'the look is from the discovery of erotic difference', and that having less a penis must be packed by multiple images of glamourised women as 'a substitute for the imaginary phallus. '

Mulvey writes that cinema, and in particular horror theatre, is willing to 'target attention on the individuals form' (1989, p17). The human form and the individual condition are fundamental aspects in the horror genre, especially the feminine body. Horror shows visceral and exaggerated versions in our basic wishes and a strong and aggressive version of body lust. The horror film specifically relies on the physical individual form and hostility towards your body to carry its plots and storylines in the most extreme sense. This is clearly not really a natural state of being: to be seated in a darkened room, with a huge rectangular screen in view and surround sound at high amount. But this is actually the environment of the movie theater, where the viewers is asked to concentrate on exaggerated and extreme situations very good beyond the realms of 'real' life in the name of entertainment. Here, not unlike in other places in the advertising, the feminine form is prevalent, to be exhibited again for entertainment which is the female characters in the horror film genre that appear to command the majority of the attention on the theatre screen. Mulvey suggests that, because the world displays such disparities between your genders, with the masculine almost always positioning the reins of ability: Do I reference point here as well?

'pleasure in looking has been divide between productive/male and passive/female. The determining men gaze jobs its dream onto the feminine figure, which is styled appropriately' (1989, p19).

So since society isn't similar in conditions of who holds the energy, either sexually or otherwise, women take action a certain way because they're alert to how men expect them to be - that is, passive and sexualised. Mulvey says this as a 'symbolic formula, girl = sexuality'. (1989, p35).

John Berger differentiates men from women as he describes 'a man's presence' to be described by 'what he's capable of doing for you or for youbut the pretence is always towards a electricity which he exercises on others. ' (1972, p39-40) Expand

Mulvey's view is the fact that narrative movie theater 'positions its spectators as guy, catering limited to male fantasies and pleasures' (p39 Feminist Film Theorists). This suggests that women are objectified in film generally (as well as for the purposes of the argument, considerably in horror motion pictures). Mulvey also claims that the spectator/audience/audience is said to be a man; cinema almost 'needs' its visitors to be male and therefore creates heroes and plots to fulfil a man's gaze. So prevalent is this notion that Mulvey boasts 'narrative cinema will not provide a place for feminine spectators'(p40 Feminist Film Theorists); that theatre essentially isolates the feminine as a significant viewer:

'As the spectator identifies with the primary guy protagonist, he tasks his look onto that of his like, his screen surrogate, so that the power of the male protagonist as he controls events coincides with the productive power of the erotic look, both providing a satisfying sense of omnipotence. ' (Mulvey, 1989, p20). Shorten

Clearly men can certainly identify with the man protagonist however the female followers have to distance themselves from their femininity to be able to take part in the cinematic experience; critics refer to this as 'gender misunderstandings'. Freud would argue that to talk about these experiences, woman would need to revert back again to her 'pre-Oedipal phallic stage. '

It might now be relevant to explore the male gaze specifically functions in the context of the horror genre.

Looking back again at the annals and advancement of the horror film, the cinemas flourished at a time when there was less open to the public and strong moral codes and rules about associations were set up. 'The clichd notion of horror films was being scripted and edited to fulfil the role of the seeing couple on the Saturday night time'. (pg 61 Horror: The Film Reader - Edited by Tag Jancovich (different authors per chapter)'

The cinema was a location where young couples could avoid family life for the few time of a day. It allowed them space to be alone together at a time, before the intimate trend, when men were expected to be chivalrous and protect and offer 'support' for his or her female associate, as Make Jancovich clarifies: 'Women cover their eyes or cover behind the shoulder blades of their dates. ' (pg 61 Horror: The Film Reader - Edited by Mark Jancovich (different authors per chapter). This then created a chance for the male viewers to comfort his time as she squirmed and shrieked at the on-screen horror. He could become closer plus more close as she was lured into vulnerability by the action projected in front of her. Mulvey features this dominant order:

As a sophisticated representation system, the cinema poses questions about the ways the unconscious (produced by the dominant order) constructions ways of seeing and pleasure in looking. ' (1989, p15) Paraphrase or include in text.

Given this weather, the notion of the 'woman as victim' was permitted to evolve. An association could then be produced between the girl viewer and her on-screen feminine counterpart, for the reason that the spectator cannot bear to look on helplessly as her cinematic alter ego - that is, a close representation of herself - suffers the horrors of rape, mutilation and murder.

Mulvey argues that ladies have had two different functions within cinema: 'as erotic things for the character types within the display story, and since erotic things for the spectator within the auditorium. ' (1989, p19)

There is clear evidence of this in Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It uses the story of several young Us citizens as they endeavor in to the countryside and meet their fate in the shape of an disturbed and hostile cannibalistic family whose weapons of choice are butchers' tools and chainsaws.

The three young men meet their fatalities quickly, paving the way for the females' more drawn-out and gratuitous torture. While one of the ladies meets her slow-moving, lingering fate via a meat hook and deep freezer, the other is chased and tortured consistently across the last third of the film.

Female heroes in horror videos are usually young and 'attractive'. They maintain a key role in the film; types of this might be Laurie in Halloween and Marion in Alfred Hitchcock's infamous Psycho. When Michael Myers' very sister matches her fate in the beginning picture of Halloween, she actually is pursued by (and through the eye of) her killer; indeed, throughout Halloween the storyline is often seen/told through the eyes of the killer, a method referred to as the 'POV (point-of-view) shot'. But before the murder occurs, the audience are offered a completely superfluous view of her naked body, seen through the male gaze as she brushes her locks.

It could be argued that the feminine characters take up many on-screen time and appear to dominate the films, yet on closer inspection the real business lead role is preserved for the 'celebrity' psychopath, who is almost always male. It could be debated that male spectators are therefore being asked to recognize with the killer. With respect to Halloween there are a variety of photographs explicitly from Myers' physical point-of-view with 'an acoustic close-up' of his monstrous 'heavy deep breathing (Isabel Pinedo 1997, p52). It cannot be proven that the whole audience identifies with him but they are pressured to look out of his murderous gaze, which almost compels a kind of affinity.

Horror genre is usually regarded as 'low culture'. It has a casual tone and followers have grown to expect violence, nudity and 'cheap' thrills. This position in 'low culture' seems to offer a licence to horror films to get away with an increase of than 'high artwork' movie theater, and horror is hardly ever studied for so this means or metaphor to the same amount. But because of these lower expectations, the truth can be stretched (not unlike in cartoons), resulting in irrational storylines with horror a lot more extreme than could be expected in real life. Therefore, maybe it's argued that horror motion pictures make explicit the assumption of an male spectator - which is, matching to Mulvey, only implicit in all popular theatre. Other videos, under the pressure of higher expectation, have to keep such a misogynist perspective more covered, but horror can afford to make it overt.

Clearly all normal guidelines do not apply. So, once the truth is dropped in favour of visual pleasure, why do we ask audiences to witness hostility and brutality against women? Brian De Palma assesses the motives back of this argument. It really is, he implies, not that girls are provided for male pleasure but that they offer a greater convenience of terror in the audience:

'If you have a haunted house and you have a female walking around with a candelabra, you dread more for her than you'll for a husky man. ' (Clover, 1992, p42).

This provides a better margin for 'a violent loss of life'. But how come this? Why would a woman be more vulnerable than a man in this age group of equality? The response to this lies very good deeper than in the relatively trivial world of the 'slasher movie' or emotional thriller.

This genre is simply a kind of entertainment as well as perhaps not the area for intellectual research, as John Carpenter hinted when he was challenged with the notion that he is accountable for the 'tasteless massacre of sexually dynamic women'. He claimed that, but the victims in his (and so many other) horror films are indeed the more sexually active people, to insist that is excatly why they perish is to miss 'the essential point. . . They get killed because they are not paying attention'. How do you guide Carpenter?

And maybe it's argued that academics were reading a touch too much into Halloween, since a male identity is also murdered straight after sex along with his girlfriend. You can even claim that this balances the storyline and clears the director of the accusation that he's somehow guilty of misogyny. However argues that: 'His fatality is usually only a tool to remove protection from the now prone woman. ' (pg 165 Bitches, Bimbos). This shows that the male character is now supplementary and his fatality is insignificant by comparison to the murder of the feminine.

It may be argued that Carpenter and other celebrated film makers just want to make entertaining horror and don't intend to make hateful assertions against women, or objectify them for the male gaze, but that this is simply what people find exciting and just why they fill up cinemas. Irrespective of Carpenter's motives, the requirements of what's considered entertainment tell us a great deal about our views towards ladies in horror movie theater - and perhaps in society as a whole.

CHAPTER 2 - The Abject Feminine

The ultimate physique of abjection is the corpse. As the horror genre is in the end obsessed with fatality one could suggest that horror fetishizes the abject. It's been recommended that 'the horror film tries to bring about confrontation with the abject. ' (p4 Horror Film and Psychoanalysis: Freud's Worst Nightmare. )

Creed refers to 'Kristeva's notion of the boundary':

'When we say such-and-such a horror film "made me unwell" or "scared the shit out of me" were actually foregrounding that specific horror film as a "work of abjection" or "abjection at the job" - almost in a literal sense. ' (1993, p10)

By the presentation of repulsion one recognizes what is not repulsive; to comprehend abjection one must understand restrictions. As we expand up we stop participating in in dirt and become more dignified; this is something we learn from culture as well as from our moms instructing us how to be 'clean and proper'. This idea sources Lacan's 'theory of the mirror stage, ' Kristeva facilitates:

'It is thus not lack of cleanliness or health that causes abjection but what disturbs identity, system, order. What will not respect edges, positions, rules. ' (1982, p4).

Woman and abjection

The horror genre has a historical trend to represent the feminine form as abject. In Kristeva's view, 'female is specifically related to polluting objects, which fall into two categories: excremental and menstrual. This in turn gives woman a particular marriage to the abject. ' (1982, p10)

What our company is frightened of is not the problem that we expel but what it signifies - loss of identity, lack of control, fatality and the unknown. Neither is it the end of a natural life that contributes to the strain of horror theatre, but an never-ending list of horrific deaths that we could possibly come across.

Paul Wells backs this notion with his comments on the forbidden facets of the body - its propensity to foul secretions and physical corrosion - which are associated with our relentless descent towards fatality, and that happen to be reflected in images of abjection in the horror film (2000, p16).

IS THIS 2ND PERSON? Whenever we are children our parents encourage us to respect boundaries about cleanliness and behaviour, and we reject the abject. But in the context of the horror film you can find perverse pleasure which allows us to explore our fascination with the abject. The abject confronts the repressed/un-civilized side of the ego and we can check out the 'other'. The horror film makes good use of the abject. Julia Kristeva uses her experience with dairy as a kid so that they can explain the idea of abjection:

'Food loathing is perhaps the most primary & most archaic form of abjection. When the eye see or the mouth touch that skin area on the top of dairyI experience a gagging experience and, still farther down, spasms in the tummy, the abdomen: and everything the organs shrivel up your body, provoke tears and bile, increase heartbeat, cause forehead and hands to perspire. Along with sight-clouding dizziness, nausea makes me balk at that dairy cream, separates me from the mom and dad who proffer it. ' (p2&3 Powers of Horror: An Article on Abjection by Julia Kristeva). Will this have to be cut?

This could suggest that when a skin area forms together with dairy, it is crossing over the 'border' or breaking a guideline regarding what is suitable as 'good food', so the milk is no longer pure. The milk has perhaps split into two; dairy being the acceptable form and its solidified talk about being the abject. Hence it fulfils a similar role inside our creativity as a corpse does indeed over a living, breathing body. We will no longer admit/drink the milk as it includes 'turned' bad and represents death, a state beyond living.

The maternal body grows and provides a full time income being but it is also 'the sister of the corpse' so it can remind us of life but also fatality. If we confronted the abject in everyday life we would be constantly alert to our very own mortality.

Milk explained in the framework above provides a powerful exemplory case of abjection, as it suggests the differential between satisfactory breastfeeding as a kid and unacceptable breast-feeding as an adult.

The Exorcist was the to begin many 'possession' films. Its premise involves an innocent young young lady called Regan McNeil who shows abnormal behaviour in the middle course American home she shares with her mom and house keeper. Throughout the film her father appears absent so it is her mother (Chris McNeil) who bears witness to the profound and hostile series of occasions and paranormal behaviour as the story unfolds. Creed says that:

'The possessed or invaded being is a amount of abjection for the reason that the boundary between self applied and other has been transgressed' (1993, p32)

by the devil himself, who is apparently the only male central shape in the film before arrival of your psychiatrist and two Roman Catholic Priests. In the plot on the Exorcist, Regan's personality is a vehicle which allows the portrayal of abjection to the mass audience. Got a young youngster been cast in an identical role, the horror might have been undermined, but due to your own preconceptions of femininity and youngsters, the possession portrayed in this particular young gal only increases the horrific occasions. Regan is the most passive of female victims, repeatedly transitioning from tearful litttle lady to demonic aggressor. She expels her fluids, blood vessels, vomit and urine; she is 'a playground for bodily wastes' (1993, p40). Creed continues on to point out that the female is more abject because 'its maternal functions' acknowledge 'its debts to nature' 1993, p11). She also highlights that, as Regan cavorts and flaunts herself, we become all too aware of the forbidden fascination of the abject, as well as its horror, inherent in the actual fact that young lady has overtly flouted her respectable feminine function, and has;

'put her unsocialized body on display. Also to make things worse, she's done all of this before the stunned eye of two male clerics. '' (p 198 Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies. edited by Bordwell, D and Carrol, N)

Creed (1993, p37) sets forward:

'In Kristevas view "the abject represents whatever "disturbs identification, system, order"'. Regan's possessed soul tasks this through levitation and profound spoken foul words. As the film remains, an exorcism occurs by means of a battle between your Cathedral and the Devil. If religious beliefs could be utilized to explore the abject, no film would it more tellingly than in The Exorcist. Creed places forward, according to Kristeva:

'Kristeva argues that, historically, it has been the function of religious beliefs to purify the abject. ' (1993, p14)

As the film concludes, Regan is kept by the cathedral and restored to purity. She changes to hug the one person who preserved her: a male Priest, or perhaps God himself?


In the 'real' world, when confronted with something sincerely repulsive, we reject that object of repulsion. However in the cinema it is not essential to 'fully stop' what confronts us.

The setting of the spectator within the cinema experience must be accepted if abjection is going to be fully soaked up. The viewer gladly rests as the spectacle of horror unfolds and it is projected onto them. Although viewer has no control over the situations projected before them, the annoying acts observed by the spectator can pleasantly be dismissed when the credits spin and the film has ended.

Viewing the horror film indicates a desire not limited to perverse pleasure where restrictions are crossed, both attracting and repelling (confronting sickening, horrific images/being filled with terror/desire for the undifferentiated) but also a desire, once having been filled up with perversity, taking pleasure in perversity, to throw up, get rid of, eject the abject (from the safeness of the spectator's couch).

CHAPTER 3 - The Absent Mother

'Relationships in the maternal melodrama are nearly always between mom and princess; it is to the horror film we must transform for an exploration of mother-son romantic relationships. The second option are usually represented in conditions of repressed Oedipal desire, fear of the castrating mom and psychosis. Given the type of the horror genre - its preoccupation with monstrosity, abjection and horrific familial scenarios - the issues adjoining the mother-child dyad are generally presented in a far more extreme and terrifying manner. ' (Creed, 1993, p139) Cut down

One section of female representation that is more ambiguous is the physique of the Mom in the horror film genre. No more could the killer be simply defined by gender. At the beginning of the 1960's audiences were put through a fresh kind of cinematic terror, as explains in her article: 'The monster was no longer "out there"; it was "in here". The monster was the human being head. ' (Pg 160 Gary, J and Sheila, S (ed) Bitches, Bimbos and Virgins: Ladies in the Horror Film)

As Hitchcock's emotional thriller Psycho was released The first sixties audience would be led to believe the 'approachable' Norman Bates (performed by Antony Perkins) was simply a sufferer of his over-zealous mother's bullying. But as the plot unravelled, the film shown a deeply obsessive 'real human head' as the real monster, as Steven Jay Schneider further clarifies:

'. . . When used to reveal horror movie theater, psychoanalysis in its various forms has proven to be a frightful and provocative interpretive tool' (Pg 187 Schneider, S. J. Horror Film and Psychoanalysis Freud's Most detrimental Nightmare)

The film follows its self-sufficient central feminine figure, Marion Crane, jaded by her affair with a committed man, as she embezzles a huge amount of money from her male company and leaves town in pursuit of a new life. On arrival at the infamous 'Bates Motel' she complies with the proprietor, the twitchy but approachable and, moreover, passive Norman Bates, who is clearly drawn to Crane, something she pleasantly takes in her stride, recommending a non-passive woman.

However, on better inspection, Marion's actions throughout the first portion of the film are identified by male character types she comes into connection with: her lover Sam, her guy workplace and the male customer, the highway patrol officer and Norman Bates who all establish her destiny using their behaviour towards her.

Robert Kolker helps this theory: 'Psycho: the mixture of pleasure and pain common to all or any horror looking at, and aligned with a feminine subject position, is negotiated in different ways by men than by women. ' (p193 Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho: A Casebook edited by Robert Kolker)

Throughout the first part of the film Marion is portrayed as feminine, 'attractive' and defying the normal representation of women in horror videos; however, from the perspective of the male gaze Bates pieces Marion, unbeknown to her, by way of a hole in the wall membrane as she undresses and prepares to showering.

'Norman's eyeball is filmed in extreme close-up, attracting attention to the activity of the voyeurism. ' (1993, p145). As the camera lingers on her behalf it is this scene that shows that Hitchcock cannot break away completely from the customs of the horror genre where in fact the woman becomes objectified which is discovered from the gaze of the productive male. Norman Bates' mother is another feminine character significant to the story, not seen but read off-screen discouraging her child from having any public connection with the newly came female and, throughout almost all of the film, verbally abusing her son. Surrounded by stuffed birds, Bates even states 'a boy's closest friend is his mother'. The viewers can presume that he's a dedicated and reliable kid. However, as Lacan's theorys are refered :

'The baby will its image by words and titles, by linguistic representations. A mother who keeps telling her boy "Just what a bad youngster you are!" may wrap up with either a villain or a saint. ' (2010, p43)

Norman Bates appears to be gentle and delicate, unlike the private investigator and other alpha-male heroes in the film. He even joins the audience in his horror of the finding of Marion Crane's body after the iconic shower landscape. As the story progresses through lots of 'off display screen' conversations Bates has with his mom, it now become noticeable that it is Norman Bates's palm that got Marion's life. Explained in the final landscape between psychologist Dr Simon and the police officers, Bates's own head is occupied by his dead mom, who provided the purpose to destroy. Modleski shows that:

'The misogyny and the sympathy actually entail one another - equally as Norman Bates's close relationship with his mother provokes his lethal hostility towards other women. ' (Pg 5 Modleski, T. The Women who recognized too much: Hitchcock and Feminist Film Theory. )

It is the ending that differentiates Psycho from many other horror films, with Norman Bates's ambiguous '(m)other' 1 / 2 in the centre of the killing.

Creed suggests that Norman Bates's desire to be the mom is encouraged not by love but by fear: 'he would like to be the mother in order to avoid his own castration - to castrate rather than to be castrated. ' (1993, p140).

The physiological final result shows that Bates's mother is responsible for the killing, that it is his mother who is the aggressor, and that Norman just clears up and hides the data on her behalf dominating murderous activities as an take action of loyalty. Samuels clarifies through Lancian theory: 'Norman never kept the Imaginary of mother and child and in reality absorbed mother. ' This may claim that the representation Norman saw during 'the mirror stage' was his mother only, therefore he 'is always one half, half mother, fifty percent Norman, a bisexual that has left both the Real and Symbolic realms behind, folded in on himself, and be psychotic. ' (pg 148 Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho: A Casebook).

In Creed's view, Norman will not absorb his mother due to love but anxiousness of castration - 'to castrate alternatively than to be castrated' (1993, p40). It is also discovered that his mom is a maintained, dressed skeleton, useless for some time, not unlike the stuffed birds found in reception previously in the film. But why is Psycho unique would be that the murderer not only will not exist in the physical sense, but also takes on feminine form as the aggressor. As Lacan talks about, 'the child attempts to be the phallus for the mother' (2010, p94). This murderer takes on female form; dressed up in a wig and mother's clothing when the getting rid of takes place, with a blade signifying his/her 'castrating function' (Creed, 1993, p149).

So popular was Psycho that it was accompanied by a series of variants but by 1974 a film was made: The subject of killer masquerading as mom figure was once more apparent in Hooper's typical history, The Texas Chain Found Massacre. The dysfunctional family play a substantial role in both videos as the killer isn't only defined as persecutor but as an alternative matriarch. 'Leatherface' and Norman Bates, along with his fictionist off-screen mom, are both defined by their mix dressing up to their getting rid of but more than merely 'men dressed up as women', they have a job to complete within the composition of family life.

Linda Williams believes that Hitchcock's choice to make his monster 'a boy who dresses up as his own mummified mother' had not been in order to 'give violent power to "the monstrous feminine"', but to totally subvert notions of the masculine and feminine, striking at their very foundations and hence calling them into question. (pg 179 Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho: A Casebook by Robert Kolker)

Here the female role is neither victim nor killer in the direct sense, but another classification on the female within the horror genre.

CHAPTER 4 - Last Girl Standing

The term/name ' The Final Girl was initially created by Carol, J. Clover in her publication Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the present day Horror Film. It persona has had a large impact on the portrayal of the female in horror film. She is the one which got away; usually she actually is the 'Previous Girl Position'. She comes in person not only with her killer but her own mortality and no male identity 'lives to see the tale'. Horror videos show habits that allow a female character to make it through and sometimes even defy her persecutor however, not before she encounters the loss of life and destruction of those around her. 'She is abject terror personified. ' (Clover, 1992, p35). Sally inside the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Laurie in Halloween and, to a lesser degree, Lila in Psycho and Regan inside the Exorcist all leave from the dirt of the film - perhaps allowing the option for a sequel. Although the female victims still undergo torturous deaths which continues to be immensely appealing to the audience, 'The Final Lady' empowers the female spectator.

One of the most acute examples of the 'Final Girl' can be found in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, in which a band of five American teens mind for the available space of the united states searching for an 'idyllic day away'. This street trip leads them past the slaughterhouse that their grandfather performed in and on to their ancestral family homestead. The adolescent new found freedoms portrayed in its opening moments were popular in the mid-1970s, and also implicit in the storyline of John Carpenter's Halloween. It was natural to depict children in solely platonic relationships

The film is often shot with a hand-held camera, with relatively unknown actors building a carefree atmosphere that is made through cheerful dialogue between your young people as they travel. This enables the horror greater result when it hits, and it is shortly before a troubled hitchhiker issues their road trip. The group stumble across a family home near their homestead, where almost straight away one of the male character types is, predictably, as Clover indicate, quickly murdered without time and energy to 'respond or enroll terror' (1992, p35).

Within in seconds our first men victim is struck across the brain and dragged out of shot instantly. That is a pattern that may be within 'slasher' motion pictures where hardly any is constructed of the male loss of life. The female persona, however, is not awarded an instant and functional fatality like her guy counterparts; she is hoisted onto a beef hook, fully mindful. Clover confirms that 'the murders of women, on the other hand, are filmed at closer range, in more visual detail, and at greater period. ' (1992, p35). This landscape parallels the earlier conversation she has in the truck where she mocks the butchering of pets in the slaughterhouse. It ought to be noted that a very similar group of conjoined events take place in Psycho, when Norman Bates references his stuffed birds and it is later discovered that his mom is also preserved.

In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre original, another man, as Clover would forecast, is neatly culled: 'he is dispatched and the camera progresses. ' (1992, p35). One male figure now remains to safeguard 'The Final Woman'.

Not unlike Psycho, this is a family affair that occurs under the roof top of a family group home, with romantic relationships in full take on both attributes of the plot. Sally's wheelchair-bound sibling, is portrayed as protector over his more able bodied sister, offering support before he too is briefly killed in almost complete darkness.

Both female character types are young and 'attractive' and on several occasions (and only when the female is because), the camera drops down to hip level and employs the rear of one of the feminine personality as she advancements, half-dressed. As she is about to meet her fate, this may be an explicit example of the male gaze. As the film advances, the sole other female victim is last seen in a deep freezer, her body thrashing within the last throes of death; it remains ambiguous whether she dies in any way.

The chainsaw-wielding 'Leatherface', following the long, drawn-out chase arena, pursues Sally at great size. She actually is then led to believe she actually is safe with the neighborhood sheriff, a chance for the audience to witness the ultimate woman in safe environment. However, the sheriff is a family accomplice even though she actually is hysterical and prone, she is abducted and brought back to confront the horror at the homestead once again as a guest at a macabre family meals.

Here the wrinkled grandfather figure, barely alive, is present but with the lifeless mother figure just a skeleton (not unlike Psycho), it becomes obvious that 'Leatherface' has used the role of his useless mother by not only putting on a wig and make-up but her face as a face mask, as he/she serves dinner. Parental assignments are maintained and it is 'Grandpa' who's offered 'The Last Gal' to sacrifice.

While she is in the full fit of serious hysteria and the family mimic her crying, the camera engages in full close-ups of the horror she is experiencing; so close that the audience can see the veins in her eyes because they are asked to bask in her terror. This is regarded between film theorists among the most horrific views in the annals of cinema. Here the audience is asked to see her at her most prone before the closing views of the film.

Stephen Neale and others argue that 'horror film monsters are typically thought as male, with women as their most important victims. ' (Freud's Most severe Nightmares. ) Despite 'Leatherface's' wig and constitute and his initiatives to provide himself in feminine form, it is clear in this landscape that Sally is the ultimate Lady in a male world in the literal sense, surrounded only by men.

Miraculously, Sally escapes in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and survives her ordeal, with the aid of a random guy escaping in the rear of his vehicle in the final scenes. Though she actually is saved with the help of male agency, what is significant is that she escapes in any way, conquering her ordeal, which contests the hegemonic order of male/feminine relations.

Much has been said about the male audience delighting in the devastation of ladies in horror films, that they relish the feminine characters' downfall; however, that same audience is seen cheering as The Final Lady brings the film to its rightful finish and no male personality lives to share the story Clover (1992).

In the consequence of horror films it appears that the killer presides total before very end, when finally 'The Last Girl Standing' is actually the most powerful character in the storyline. However, as Clover would dispute, her level of suffering must be taken into account. Despite her liberty and survival, Despite her flexibility and survival Clover would claim that she is still a sufferer; she has witnessed the 'mutilated systems' of her friends, and experienced the most horrific works of assault. (1992, p35)

This discussion is less clear in the final moments of Hitchcock's Psycho, where there were suggestions of the ultimate Girl played out out by Marion's sister. Nonetheless it is Sam, Marion's lover, a minor identity, who ultimately will save you your day. Yet she actually is still 'the one who looks fatality in the face' (Clover, 1992, p39). This might suggest that ultimately there's a lot of variance within the horror genre, both within types of narrative strategy and portrayals of females. However, effort has been manufactured in Psycho to portray a Final gal Robert Kolker feels:

'Hitchcock's characters have more substance than they have been given credit for. It is Lila Crane who makes the ghastly discovery in the Old Deep House. ' (p148 Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho: A Casebook).

Traces of the ultimate Girl are available in all the films reviewed here; even Regan overcomes her possessor. However, in the four videos discussed, a male identity saves them all. It is not before later remakes and sequels from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre brand that 'The Final Young lady' combats the killer herself. This further advances in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) when she even takes charge of the murder weapon, not unlike an average action movie hero.

The final world, in showing Stretch waving the humming chainsaw above her mind in triumph, recalls the ultimate world of Texas Chainsaw 1, in which the wounded 'Leatherface' is shown staggering following the vehicle, brandishing his chainsaw above his mind - but with one attractive difference: 'In part two. . . ' Clover reminds us, 'there is not a male agency. ' (1992, p38-59)

Furthermore, if the female is to conquer, the male must now undergo as Stretch violently dispatches her last (man) attacker by slashing open his lower abdominal, a scene in which 'the erotic symbolism is all too clear'. (Clover, 1992, p38)

Even as much onward as 2003, in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, there's a clear loss of violence against ladies in horror, as the jobs are reversed (from the initial) and it is a man who is hung on the meat hook. In the last scene we literally see 'The Final Lady' in the 'driving a vehicle couch' when she triumphantly outwits 'Leatherface' on her behalf own.

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