Monday, September 29, 2008

Horror is a feminist genre

    Amanda Seyfried On "Jennifer's Body" Set, 2008 May 6 -Vancouver, Canada-

    "It was among the more gothic scenes in “Jennifer’s Body,” a closing battle with fewer rules than Ultimate Fighting, pitting Jennifer (“Transformer’s” Fox) against her longtime friend Needy Lesnicky (Seyfried, of “Mamma Mia!”) and her relatively wimpy boyfriend Chip Dove (“Evan Almighty’s” Simmons)."I want to be faithful to the genre but also turn all of those things sideways", Cody continued. "My biggest priority is putting words in women's mouths -- it just doesn't happen. Women don't get the good lines. They don't get to do anything. And they don't get to be reckless. And I've always been reckless."

    A former alternative newspaper reporter, Internet blogger, sex industry worker and memoirist, Cody grew up loving scary 1970s and 1980s movies -- "I'm a horror junkie," she said. Cody was particularly drawn to thrillers with artistic flair -- "Rosemary's Baby," "Carrie," "The Shining," "Poltergeist" and the darkly comic pre-" Spider-Man" films from director Sam Raimi, especially "The Evil Dead."

    Yet Cody was equally struck by films that many might not find inherently terrifying, including Sofia Coppola's "The Virgin Suicides." "There's the idea of the adolescent feminine mystique being inherently creepy", Cody said. "Two girls holding hands platonically as they cross a schoolyard -- I find that creepy."
    'Juno' is a life-affirming movie", Cody said over dinner, with filming wrapped for the day. "And this is a death-affirming movie. The people who really loved 'Juno' -- I don't know if they will love this in the same way. And the people who hated 'Juno' -- well, this will just be more grist for the mill."

    While the film, set in rural Minnesota not far from where Cody once lived, tweaks the conventions of the killer-on-the-loose genre, it does so in Cody's familiar pop-culture-reference-laden style. When a poser devil-worshiping rock band named Low Shoulder decides to perform a human sacrifice, they rely on plans printed out from the Internet.
    "But horror is a surprisingly feminist genre", Cody said. "The last person standing is usually a woman. And most of the guys in this movie are vain and insecure. You'll notice there are no fathers in this movie. I didn't want there to be any male role models -- I didn't feel these were girls who were loved by their fathers".As she bobbed in the pool wearing a black-and-white prom dress (of course, there's a prom scene -- it's a horror movie after all), the 22-year-old Fox said she knows girls like Jennifer all too well. "I was the Jennifer of my school -- the troublemaker, the anarchist" Fox said. "She has an appetite for destruction".
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