Friday, July 8, 2016

The Virginal Survivor in Horror Movies.

Wes Craven matured into the idea of a Virginal Survivor with Nightmare On Elm Street, but therein the concept was not pure because of the realization and empowerment of the Virginal Survivor in the climax; Craven did this on his own terms then, and before making the virginity of the leading lady an openly discussed topic in Scream, even stating in words erroneously that virginity was requisite for survival.  Before Nightmare, Craven made all of his heroines endure rape, and where the first dies a slow death from a gunshot, the next takes revenge and survives(so therein is a sub-arc in Craven's work, a progression from a Bergman off-shoot to the development of his own empowered heroes/heroines with gadgets and booby traps actively taking revenge on the monsters).

It was not sex that precipitated death most often in Friday the 13th films, but vulnerability expressed in nudity-of which the first film features a game of "Strip Monopoly".  Then in that universe, it was not virginity, but prudishness or morals that saved the leading lady, leaving her safely tucked away until the climax, tucked away while her friends are murdered.  The FBI, in luring Jason out of the woods, sends a female agent to the shower for bath time, which draws Jason Voorhees near like a big electromagnet.  Bill Lustig's Maniac gave us vulnerability murders, even staging one scene in a subway bathroom; this film is a monolith of the sub-genre, seemingly spawning out of its own universe with it own dictates, its own rules, though it observes, establishes or upholds, largely, the trappings of the sub-genre while yet maintaining focus on the disturbed main character.

What we see most often now is not necessarily a virginal character, but a tormented, introspective heroine.  Surviving or even killing the monster is a validation or just good therapy, so in the modern vernacular, the woman becomes a long-haired beautiful Beowulf, at first seen as Thelma from Scooby-Doo, and at-once an anti-hero surpassing the stripe of the great cowboy and cops and robbers and road films.

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