The Contribution of Heroines, and the Role of Feminism in the Horror Genre – Part 2

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Tonight, I’m releasing the second part of the interview with Michelle Satchwell. Michelle analyses Martyrs and its contribution to the horror genre but she also uses it as a reference for the role of women in torture horrors. Moreover, she talks about advertisements and gender roles in the 80s, and how females have been portrayed, could have been portrayed and how that has affected the present. Last but not least, she talks about the representation of ethnic minorities and non-binary people in the film industry and what potentially the future holds.

Feminism References
Evolutionary Psychologists (no specific names), they focus on reproductive success in mate selection in humans.

Tuchman (1978) Symbolic annihilation (narrow range of roles for females).

Glascock (2001) Leading female characters (e.g. Lara Croft).

Bristol Fawcett Society (2008) Imbalance in media representation.

Ferguson (1983) Forever feminine; focusing on womens’ magazines and the cult of feminity.  Women focus on “him, home and looking good (for him)”.

Johnson and Young (2002) Impact of advertising on children.

McRobbie and Garber (1976) Bedroom culture.

Heidensohn (1985) Social Control of women and crime.

Westwood (1999) Transgression and Gender. “Transgressive female roles that go beyond gendered expectations”.

Gauntlett (2008) The representation of gender roles in the media. “Do the traits of the characters challenge conventional masculinity?”

Julia Kristeva (1980) Powers of Horror: An essay on Abjection.

Freud (1905) Psychosexual stages of development (Pre-Oedpial stage). 

Frieda-Fromm-Reichmann (1984) Schizophrenogenic mother theory.

Further References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suburb

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Lives_Matter

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woke

https://revisesociology.com/2019/09/02/media-representations-women/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suffragette

https://www.waterstones.com/author/sallie-westwood/8084

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_homogenization#:~:text=Cultural%20homogenization%20is%20an%20aspect,but%20customs%2C%20ideas%20and%20values.

Sociological key terms:

Liberal

Marxist

Radical

Black Feminists 

Desensitised

Patriarchy

Agency

Power and Control

Malestream Criminology

White Knight / Saviour Complex

Male Gaze

Vicarious Reinforcement

Toxic Masculinity

Myth of Male Power (Strong)

Halo Effect

Heteronormative

Social Norms

Interactionism

Pluralist View (Reflects Taste of Audience)

Gatekeepers (Stakeholders)

Double Deviant

Takers of Shit

Dual Burden

Idealised Mother

Myth of Motherhood

Chivalry Thesis

Meritocracy

False-class Conscious

Ageism

Fatphobic

Cultural Homogenisation (of Western Individualist Views)

Cross-Cultural Research

Transgressive Sociology

Martyrs (2008): Horror

After been physically and mentally abused, a little girl grows up, and with her childhood friend, they seek revenge against the people who tortured her as a child, not knowing though how deep that hellish rabbit hole goes.

Martyrs was shocking the first time in watched it in 2008 and it was excruciating last night. I guess the years pass by and our levels of tolerance change according to the lives we have lived and the way we have lived them. As much I despise happy endings, this is the first time I was hoping for one while knowing that it doesn’t have any. There is nothing I can say that will give justice to the film’s level of brutality, a concept that is not unknown to the French school of horror [see Haute Tension (2003)] and Martyrs, not only doesn’t hold any punches but unleashes them full force like only few horrors ever have. And the studios released that film knowing exactly what feelings it will evoke and the reactions it will cause.

Admittedly, writer/director Pascal Laugier was in a dark place during that period and shot, arguably, one of the most intense, violent, psychological, dramatic, and torturous horrors in the history of the genre. There are twists and turns in every corner, most of which, will cut your breath. There are scenes that you will want to look away and you will not be able to. At times, you will find yourselves squeezing your chair, pillow or yourselves while your brain tries to process the pain, especially Anna, endures. I guess, you may even blame yourselves for knowing what’s happening and not being able to help…

I bought the DVD knowing what I was signing up for. If you are not aware, I host the Cinehorrizon podcast where I deeply sink my teeth into the horror genre. I am in the process of trying to find Laugier and bring him on my show. There is so much I want to ask him and discuss with him. Laugier has mastered twists in his own, unique way and The Tall Man (2012) was his next proof. Two years ago, he came back with a yet another provocative horror that can ultimately mess up with your brain – Incident in a Ghostland (2018) – and even though it lacks the level of physical abuse, the psychological, for better or for worse, compensates for it. It was one of my earliest reviews: https://atomic-temporary-153424946.wpcomstaging.com/2018/11/29/incident-in-a-ghostland-2018-drama-horror-mystery/ Going back to Martyrs, I would like to take my hat off to Morjana Alaoui and Mylène Jampanoï for taking on roles that their characters are thrown into the deepest ends of human depravity.

Hostel (2005) and The Human Centipede (2009) are purely torture for entertainment and, simply put, disgusting. In Martyrs, you can sense a diabolical reason; a distorted and hair-raising perverted meaning. There is an eerie feeling crawling under your skin that all this agonising torment is coming with a purpose. So, what is more scary? Torture with or without purpose. Without it, is pointless. But if there is one, one can only wonder what kind of purpose would that inhumane, chauvinistic, and hellish journey might serve? A question that will haunt you till the end. A paralysing end that will make you pull your hair out and ask out loud, why didn’t she just leave earlier?

Stay safe!