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Thread: Horror Films

  1. #1
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    Hello, I am currently in the middle of a study on the represenation of women in horror films ranging from the 70's to recent times. After much research I decided to focus my study on the following four films:



    The Hills Have Eyes (Original, not the remake!)

    A Nightmare On Elm Street

    Scream

    The Descent



    I need other peoples opinions on the representation of women in these films for my study, any feedback, especially your own personal opinion of the representation of women of the four films specififed would be greatly appreciated.



    Chris

  2. #2
    GRAEME
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    Another project on the representation of women in blah blah genre blah blah...




    FRANCIS: Why are you always on about women, Stan?

    STAN: I want to be one.

  3. #3
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    What level is this for? That will help for suggestions...



    Anyway, to start with, I think you've chosen the wrong 4 films. Not that they're not interesting from the point of view your taking, but the actual combination is wrong.



    You have 3 Wes Craven films, all American, and then a British film! Unless you want to argue that US and UK films are the same and there is no such thing as a national cinema (might be dangerous views on this board!), I think you're adding in an extra dimension that will complicate matters.



    There's also the issue that Scream is directly referencing, and playing all sort of self referncing games to, the stalker / slasher subgenre - a subgenre that you really don't have an example from (although Nightmare has obvious similar traits). The more conventional I Know What You Did Last Summer might be a better option in the circumstances.



    Unless you want to change tack to say analysing the changing role of women in Wes Craven's films (and replace Descent with, say, Cursed), my suggestion would be taking two choices of 70s/80s subgenres and then a more recent example to see what, if any changes, there have been.



    I'd suggest Halloween as a slasher film and then one of Scream, Last Summer, or (and I haven't seen it so I don't know what it's like) the new Halloween directed by Rob Zombie. (Actually, another possibility would be tracing the treatment of women throughout a series of films, such as Halloween, the dates would tie in nicely as well).



    My other pairing would be one of the wilderness survival horrors - you suggest The Hill Have Eyes and that is a good choice, and then either its remake (which I haven't seen) or the Eliza Dushku film Wrong Turn.



    Any of these suggestions will tighten up your focus substantially - making this a lot easier to tackle.

  4. #4
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    First of all thank-you for your feedback, I understand many other people are asking similar questions. I am studying at A2 level which is the last year of sixth form. I discussed your feedback with my teacher and she completely agrees with you that ‘The Descent’ is a bit of an anomaly in my study because of the 3 Wes Craven films.



    The reason I chose ‘The Descent’ is that it is only female characters and they are mostly represented very positively. The way I was going to structure my essay was to go through the decades using various examples but focus on these four films and come to the conclusion that representation has improved, which I believe in the majority it has.



    However like you say I do need to tighten up my focus and think your idea about just focusing on just Wes Craven would be good, however has he directed any horror movies in the past 8 years that you know show women in a positive light, especially subverting old gender stereotypes?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: United States torinfan's Avatar
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    I'd go with Alien, Chris. In this film, we have a woman who is the hero. She is strong and smart. You're better off with this one than maybe The Hills Have Eyes.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    I think focusing on one filmmaker will severely restrict your scope for useful comment. It's also predictable. I'm too often given essays to mark on, say, the opus of Spike Lee or (god help us) "the genius of Steven Speilberg" and they just come off as shallow 90 percent of the time. I believe you have to have a very broad background knowledge to make a study like that work.



    Another possible approach would be to trace an evolutionary line through the genre. How does it reflect social and historical change? For example: I always liked the fact that Joss Wheedon's stated aim was deliberately to take the 'blonde victim' stereotype in horror and set her firmly in the central role when he created BUFFY. What was the journey to the point where he could do that and get away with it and make it hugely succesful and culture changing?

  7. #7
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    Wes craven is not the only horror movie maker! Can i suggest you look into other iconic horror movies?



    My suggestions would be flowers in the attic, The grandmother is wonderfully played by Louise Fletcher!

    Any Dee Wallace film, but my favourite has to be Cujo- Stephen king classic!



    When a stranger calls, not the remake, but the 1979 original.



    But seriously you shouldn't forget the classic hammer horrors! Atleast one of those should be in your project. My suggestion is the incredibly chilling - The asylum!

  8. #8
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    Sippog makes a very good point here.



    When i did my course in media studies back in 97 we were all given a separate film genre to present and discuss infront of the class. The girls were given the macho stuff and the guys were given the chick stuff! Our teacher decided to mix it up a little.



    Anyway, i got landed with War! And i cringed! I hated war movies and usually avoided them like the plague! But i was determined to kick ass, so i watched a different war film every night for lord knows how long lol! The 3 films i chose were as follows- The Green Berets, Hell in the pacific, and full metal jacket.



    What i am trying to say is watching a wide range of war films that until then 2 of which i had never heard of really helped me earn top marks in my project. Ok yes they were all american, and yes 2 were centred around the same war, but in my mind these 3 films conveyed 3 entirely different messages. And that is something that perhaps you should consider?



    BTW, ever since that project i have a new found respect for war films. I didn't get to see the deer hunter until about 5 yrs ago. My top 2 war films are hell in the pacific and the deer hunter!

    LOL i know that was off topic a lot!

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