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February 1996, Week 4


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Sean Desilets <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 22 Feb 1996 20:40:16 -0500
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        I think the book about Slasher movies you referred to is Carol
Clover's _Men, Women, and Chain Saws_, which has also stuck with me since
I first read it. I'd have to read it again to figure out if I really
agree with her anallysis of how identifications work in horror cinema,
but I am certainly inclined to think that the usual gender-analysis of
those films is not only too easy, but also assumes that the "right"
gender identifications are going to happen in viewers. The most obvious
example, and one which Clover deals with, is the idea thatthe use of
steady-cam first person stuff in slasher films produces a male
identification with the killer. I'm not saying (and neither did Clover)
that that odesn't happen--only that whole lots of other things happen to.
Including male identification with the figure Clover identifies as the
"final girl"--the inevitable surviving female character who presides
(very often) not only over his sexual humiliation (she mentions the
famous chainsaw rape scene in the second Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie).
I'd really like to hear some people's ideas on this question of where
audience identifications go and how those mechanisms work in film texts.
I don't feel like I have the clearest understanding of how to theorize
those processes.
Sean Desilets
Tufts University
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