I’ve always thought horror to be one of the more welcoming milieus for women, despite looking like a landscape that’s not welcoming to anyone (and American horror movies unfortunately remain unwelcoming to American minorities). There’s a lot of room for subversion in horror – even the most formulaic slashers value “final twists.” The Final Girl may have started off as an emblem of chastity but she’s evolved over time – as I hoped to show in my story “And When She Was Bad.” You don’t have to root for the heroes and heroines of horror – indeed, there might not even be any. Villains – including female villains – often have wildly sympathetic back stories. Realistically, this probably comes from the need to get the audience excited about bloodshed, but I like to think it stems from our recognition that “all cats are grey in the dark,” as The Cure says. Either way, that’s a petri dish that supports a diverse variety of human personalities.
I was listening to “Ghosts” by Ladytron today, which got me thinking about the surprisingly-good Sorority Row movie, and it turns out that the star of Sorority Row, Briana Evigan, was in one of my favorite Fear Itself episodes, “New Year’s Day.” In Sorority Row she plays the “good sister” of the sorority who nonetheless finds herself in the crosshairs of a patriarchal code when she chooses her sorority sisters over her boyfriend. In “New Year’s Day” she plays a depressed twenty-something who wakes up during the zombie apocalypse and crosses the city to get to the apartment of the guy she’s in love with, under the false impression that he likes her too — among many other false impressions. That’s a pretty hilarious coincidence, and it got even better:
Evigan was the tortured artist of Linkin Park’s “Numb” video.
So she’s also in a bunch of dance movies. The subdued, hard-drinking, glum tomboy “I love you because you are so real”/”That’s just because she can’t afford fake ones” thing works well. Which I guess is the long way of saying that her characters remind me of me, and contrary to what you may have heard lately, seeing yourself “represented” on screen/page is extremely satisfying. Not because you get to live vicariously through this character you identify with – God knows things don’t end well for Briana Evigan in “New Year’s Day” – but because you think, “hey, look, I’m not a freak, I’m a part of this society too, and I don’t have to be X to be considered a realistic human being.”
Sometimes, it’s the small things.