Sorry. Yesterday was not a good day for blogging. (Even if it was a good day for Story Brain.) Anyway, here's the review I wanted to post....
It's ironic that Horror, a genre so steeped in misogyny that it might as well be the president of the He Man Woman Haters Club, should produce some of my favorite Feminist Films. But... there you are. (Come on, SF filmdom. Step up your fucking game. Also, Noir? Please, for the love of all that is holy, join the fucking 21st century already.) Therefore, today's recommendation is a Horror movie in the same vein as Cabin in the Woods. If you enjoy genre-trope yoga, you're going to adore The Final Girls. Frankly, I don't feel it's gotten the attention (and Feminist love) it truly deserves. Mind you, I've talked about it once before, but I didn't do so in detail.
While Ginger Snaps paired puberty from a CIS feminine perspective with werewolves and Jennifer's Body commented upon women's sexuality and its role within Western consciousness, The Final Girls concentrates on women's relationships with well... women. Max and the film version of her deceased mother, Nancy, are the main focus for the story. For a Horror film, that is downright revolutionary. In addition, it takes the stereotypical sexism found in Summer Slasher Horror fare and subverts it.
I must confess that I've never been the target audience for Summer Slashers™. I didn't even watch them as a teen. They are...at best (and I use the word 'best' mildly because what teen isn't smart enough to figure that shit out)...morality plays created to combat teen sex. Ultimately, they are monetized slut-shaming, and sexualize violence against women. The murder spree never happens because the boys are sexual harassers or date rapists. It's always the girls' sexuality that is to blame--demonstrated by the fact that the only young woman to survive is typically the virgin. Not so in The Final Girls. From the moment the Misogynist Womanizer Jock™ opens his mouth to spew that first sexist line, he's mocked--even by the sleezy fan: "The writing is so bad." There is even a moment when the requisite homophobic comment is given push back: "My dads are gay, so shut the hell up." Sadly, the black kid still dies, but at least he isn't the first one that goes. That's something, I suppose. (It's also the film's only bad mark that I've spotted.) But I have to say that my favorite thing about The Final Girls is how it handles women's sexuality.
Unlike Cabin in the Woods, Ginger Snaps, and Jennifer's Body (as great as they are) The Final Girls doesn't use women's bodies to sell the movie to het CIS men. The scenes that are typically used to titillate straight males are instantly de-sexualized. For example, whenever Tina, the Slut Character™, goes into one of her grinds it's obviously intended to be funny. More often than not, she's dressed in oven mitts, a life vest, and hip waders, and moves like a demented hamster on speed. (The actress who plays her is definitely a comedic talent. Seriously, I couldn't stop laughing.) In addition, the women aren't shamed for their sexuality. They're not even shamed for their lack of experience. Here, watch this:
Each woman makes her own choices for herself--yes, even the first murder victim clearly makes a choice. She isn't brow-beaten into sex. She instigates it. I love that. I also adore the fact that in the scene when Nancy strips to attract the Murdering Psycho™ it is treated in such a way as to be a loving act of sacrifice. She's doing it to save the life of her child. It's not filmed in Male Gaze-o-vision™ either. It's a dignified, human, and intimate moment as it should be. It makes me cry to even think about. (Yeah. Yeah. It's not hard to make me cry in a movie, I know.)
Y'all, this movie is a bad ass work of Feminism and deserves to be on the same list with Mad Max: Fury Road. Fucking see it.