Slasher films are one of the most popular subgenres of horror films. These movies typically involve a serial killer who murders several characters, who are usually the main characters. Examples of eminent slasher films are cult classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Scream, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. A prominent element in slasher films is having attractive female characters. They can be survivors or they can be victims, but they often play a role in keeping the male viewer interested and tensed up. The typical male serial killer in slasher films are usually driven by their psychological reactions to sex

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho serves as a foundation for slasher films; it is considered a horror/thriller with very original elements and character development techniques. The female victim in Psycho is both beautiful and sexually active, which is a great example of how and why male viewers become deeply intrigued in the film.

The male gaze isn’t solely from the viewer, however. The sexualized female character development can be the very motive for the killings in Slasher films. Often in movies, they are just caught in the wrong place at the wrong time ,and they die a grotesque (and very awkward) death. However, in Hitchcock’s Psycho, Norman Bates is considered psychosexual, because he targets  beautiful and sexually active characters.

What about the women that aren’t killed? The woman that doesn’t die is often the remaining victim who miraculously survives because of a spontaneous plot twist, or she is the killer herself. These women don’t conform to the image of the aforementioned sexualized eye candy women, but instead have a distressed look and have more powerful characters. These women have a very different motive for killing and aren’t driven by sexuality, like men. For example, in Friday the 13th, the killer is found to be Jason’s mother who exacts revenge for her son’s death. She is definitely not sexualized, nor is she driven by sexual motives.

 

-Michel Kazi

(I clicked “save draft” instead of publish last night, sorry)


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