MISOGYNY IN HORROR

Date/Time
Date(s) - Tue. Jan. 4, 2011 - Tue. Jan. 18, 2011
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Location
Blue Sunshine

Instructor

Admission

Tuesdays, January 4, 11 + 18, 6-9pm

Ages 16+
(Participants under 18 must have a signed permission slip + ratings waiver from a parent or guardian. DOWNLOAD THE PERMISSION SLIP HERE)

“I always believe in following the advice of the playwright Sardou. He said, ‘Torture the women!’ The trouble today is that we don’t torture women enough.” (Alfred Hitchcock, qtd. in Spoto, 483).

“I like women, especially beautiful ones. If they have a good face and figure, I would much prefer to watch them being murdered than an ugly girl or a man” (Dario Argento, qtd. in Schoell, pp. 54).

Beginning with the assumption that representations of “the feminine” and the female body illuminate broader, historical fascinations with and anxieties over gender, sexuality and the body, this course sets its sights (and sites) on misogyny, sexism, patriarchy and power as naturalized tropes in horror worthy of investigation. Women’s bodies––as slashed, maimed, mutilated and murdered, as sexually deviant and devious, as monstrous and horrifying, and even as the victim-hero––scream for interrogation, particularly by those who consume her time and time again. In a few short classes, we’ll turn a critical eye on these familiar images, asking key questions about why women are the prime victims in these films, what ideas about gender, sexuality and the body they normalize, what (and whose) fantasies are addressed when a film’s aesthetic centerpiece is a woman’s death (and for what purpose), and how we––as fans of the genre––engage with these images. These representations leave more than beautiful corpses and cliché in their wake: they provide insight into the often invisible mechanisms at work across the terrain of horror; expose the historical contexts in which they operate off-screen; and, sometimes, provide spaces and places for resistance to those very same systems of power.

—————————

Instructor: Candis Steenbergen

Candis cut her horror teeth at an early age, sneaking scary books off her dad’s bookshelf and reading by flashlight late into the night. She graduated to slasher films, B-movies and creature-features shortly thereafter. She received her PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Concordia in 2009, and has been a lecturer at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute of Women’s Studies since 2002, teaching classes on feminism and popular culture, girls and girlhoods, deviant bodies, postfeminism and marxist analysis. She also teaches courses revolving around issues of representation, power and the media in the Humanities department at John Abbott College.

NOTE: This course is a pre-requisite for the courses ALL THE COLOURS OF THE DARK: THE ITALIAN GIALLO FILM and GETTING EVEN: A HISTORY OF THE RAPE-REVENGE FILM

————————–

Cited, borrowed from and of interest:

Clover, C. Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. NJ: Princeton, 1992.
Freeland, C. “Feminist Frameworks for Horror Films.” Pp. 742-763.
Schoell, W. Stay out of the Shower: Twenty-Five Years of Shocker Films Beginning with Psycho. NY: Dembner, 1985.
Spoto, D. The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock. NY: Ballantine Press, 1983.