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October 1994


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"Richard J. Leskosky" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 25 Oct 1994 17:19:00 -0500
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On 10/22/94 Cynthia Fuchs wrote:
>this is an important point, and sort of what i think i might have imagined
>when i said that the rape was a surprise to those who hadn't seen enough
>movies. metaphorically, i was meaning (obliquely, i grant) that the
>invisibility of the rape-coming-up is a function of some middling,
>culturally conditioned denial. as ed rightly points out, the cues are
>all there before the door opens and we see this rape-scene. that the
>scene is a kind of "unimaginable" horror, or "the worst imaginable"
>horror is also to the point of this "invisibility": that the film
>presents it as a climax--the payoff for uncomfortably waiting for a joke
>(as much of the film works--horror becomes a joke, because [?] this is
>how to contain, mediate, and otherwise imagine horrible imagery [cf. marvin's
>head blown off becomes a joke, and the fact that marvin is black is
>connected, i think to rhames/marsellus' rape....more on this to follow]).
>so the zipperhead prisoner allows a certain chuckling as the viewers
>might be anticipating the climax of the scene.
As one who has seen lots of genre films of all sorts, I would still like to
know what sorts of conventions, genre or otherwise, would lead one to
expect a scene of male rape behind the door.  It's certainly not "the worst
imaginable horror", except perhaps for the most pathological homophobe
(getting "medieval" conjures up far more frightening images), but it does
put Marcellus in a delicate position with respect to Butch since word
getting out about Marcellus' being raped would compromise his status as mob
boss.  If "the cues are all there" about what's going on ahead of the
actual revelation (as Lauren Helwig also implied in her 10/21/94 posting),
what are they?
>(as vincent emerges from the
>bathroom, elvira madigan in hand)
That's "Modesty Blaise" that Vincent is reading.
Lauren Helwig on 10/21/94 wrote:
>As some have noted re the weapon choice,
>willis/butch knows.
I don't recall any postings here about Butch's choice of weapons indicating
knowledge of the specific outrage behind the door.  Did I miss something?
So everything he picks up is phallic, what weapon isn't?  Just asking.
--Richard Leskosky