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Film Studies - the aim of my presentation today is to establish how women are represented in slasher films by studying A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Psycho.

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Introduction

Katie Rattigan Small Scale Research Project Representations of women in the ?slasher? movie Presenter: Welcome, the aim of my presentation today is to establish how women are represented in ?slasher? films by studying A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Psycho. Firstly, we must recognize the definition of a ?slasher? movie. A slasher film is a subgenre of horror film, and at times thriller, typically involving a mysterious psychopathic killer stalking and killing a sequence of victims usually in a graphically violent manner, often with a cutting tool such as a knife or axe. ? Item 1 Presenter: Typically in ?slasher? films, women are often the victims, and are stereotyped as subordinate and often fearful. This stereotyping of women in ?slasher? films has ensured that audiences now expect women to be helpless and vulnerable, and of course the victims. This has been criticised by feminists and although most women are portrayed as the victims, in terms of Propp?s character types, women can sometimes be displayed as the hero. ?Girls and female adolescents [in horror films] who are witnessed displaying fearfulness and protective need in the face of terror on the screen are more favorably evaluated by male and female peers and non-peers than their counterparts who are witnessed displaying no distress? ? page 87 Item 2 Play ?A Nightmare on Elm Street? clip Item 3 ? Sheila?s death Presenter: This idea of a helpless female victim is a typical convention of the ?slasher? film. ...read more.

Middle

She's the most sexually frustrated. She's the one that's killed him. Not because she's a virgin but because all that sexually repressed energy starts coming out. She uses all those phallic symbols on the guy. ? item 12 Presenter: Women are constantly being objectified in the ?slasher? film. Laura Mulvey believes that film audiences have to view characters from the perspective of a heterosexual male and that the body itself becomes an object of desire for a man. She also argued that the passive and submissive nature of females in horror movies were a form of pleasure for the male audience through scopophilia or voyeurism. The villain of the ?slasher? film is typically always a male who is suffering a masculinity crisis, and in order to restore his masculinity, he goes on a killing spree. Play ?Shower scene? Psycho ? item 6 : Mulvey argues that in classic hollywood films in particular women are merely represented to provide visual pleasure to men , and the audience is constructed in a manner where they are all expected to be men. This male gaze is both voyeuristic and fetishistic. ? item 7 Presenter: The final girl in Nightmare on Elm Street is the lone survivor of her killer Freddy Kreuger. Carol Clover notes that the final girl typically displays virginal characteristics, which applies to Nancy. ...read more.

Conclusion

?Psycho? is understood to be ?the granddaddy of the slasher movie? ? and the sexualisation of women in Hitchcock?s films has ever since become a convention of the ?slasher? movie. We find that from the very beginning Hitchcock wants us to see that women are objects of sexual desire that are to be sought after. Marion is shirtless twice within the first eleven minutes of the film. ? item 10 Presenter: Typically, women are often shown to be screaming in the ?slasher? genre. The scream is usually shrill and high-pitched and the woman?s scream is now a form of iconography for the ?slasher? movie. This highlights the subordinate position of women, and close-up shots are often used to show fear on the female?s face. The term ?scream queen? refers to the typical ?damsels in distress? in horror films ? known for their iconic scream. Presenter: In conclusion, we must ask ourselves whether the position of women has changed in the ?slasher? genre. Women have been subject to many representations within the horror, from damsels in distress, to a masculine hero. As I have established, female empowerment is demonstrated in ?Halloween? through the character of Laurie, and in ?A Nightmare on Elm Street? through the character of Nancy ? whereas there is no definite final girl in ?Psycho?. Feminist theories are said to have changed the position of women in modern horror movies, however women are still presented as ?sluts? and are punished for their sexual activity and illegal drug use. ...read more.

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