From Final Girl to Action Hero:
Women and the Modern Slasher Film
MA Film and The Moving Image
Final Dissertation
Keith De...
The horror
film
occupies a
position in
popular
culture
roughly
comparable
to that of
horror
literature.
That is to
say, it...
Andrew Tudor discussed the evolution of the horror film, splitting them up
into six main chronological periods between 193...
However, from the 1960s onward the horrific threat, became less supernatural
and more psychological. In 1960, two horror f...
While Psycho was acknowledged as the original template for most modern
slasher horror films, and for the similarly themed ...
However, while the final girl was able to
recognise the threat and fight against it, she
was never able to kill the monste...
The Contemporary Horror Film: From Classic To Slasher
While the classic Universal films such as Dracula and Frankenstein w...
With the unprecedented success of the Universal horror films, other studios
produced their own, most notably Freaks (Tod B...
From the 1930s to the 1960s, the
emphasis of the horror film developed
from one of an external or ‘foreign’
threat –the va...
In his analysis of over 900 horror films
from 1930-1984, Tudor found that
nearly one third of them –produced
between 1960 ...
Whether the change in emphasis of the monstrous threat demonstrated a
natural development of the genre (Jancovich, 1996:22...
By the 1970s, the family became the monster in such films as Texas Chain Saw
Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1973) and even in cont...
The success of these slasher films
generated a range of sequels, and
derivatives such as the Nightmare on
Elm Street serie...
One of the strengths of the early horror films was that the identity of the
killer remained a mystery for most of the narr...
In The Terminator (James Cameron,
1984), the slasher film which also
probably started the action movie genre
in the 1980s,...
With an emphasis on the killer, after all
the killer goes from film to film. The
teenagers do not
(Sconce, 1993: 113),
in ...
Many of the slasher movie franchises eventually lost their ability to thrill and
became repetitive in their narrative, or ...
…those commercial feature
films which, through
repetition, and variation,
tell familiar stories with
familiar characters i...
Like other genres, the horror film often displays ‘intertextuality’, overlapping
with other genres, such as science fictio...
One of the developments that occurred
in the transformation of Ripley
from the final girl of Alien to the
action heroine o...
While the repetition of particular themes
and motifs within a genre suggests that
they are static, they are actually
conti...
One way for a genre to develop is to hybridise with other genres, or
become subsumed by them. Neale discusses this in rela...
Thus as a genre such as the slasher horror film has changed, it is subjected
to a ‘sequence of rivalries’ (Jauss, cited in...
Consequently, while the slasher horror film became ‘thin on plot and heavy on
special effects’ (Ibid.: 105) the action fil...
Hailed as a postmodern horror film,
Scream was notable for being very ‘self-
conscious’ in its selection of stars and in
i...
In revitalising the slasher genre, Scream
led to several other inferior slasher movies –
using the same device with teen T...
The Slasher Film And The ‘Final Girl’
Don't you know the rules?
There are certain rules that
one must abide by in order
to...
In turn, the young community is divided into three sections: the victims,
who are unable to defend themselves or are aware...
Dika observed that although the killer has been defeated, the threat to the heroine is
not removed. The killer is often no...
Drawing from antecedents such as Psycho, Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1975) and
Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween is ackn...
In Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (Tobe Hooper, 1986), Stretch actually
‘becomes’ the monster, forced in one scene to wear the ...
In her critique of the female role in the contemporary horror film, Barbara
Creed addressed the role of the monstrous femi...
The representation of the young community has been the source of much
comment and criticism. While accepting that the vict...
scopophila, looking for pleasure,
Mulvey argued that the look may be associated with fetishism or desire,
and the look of ...
In this psychoanalytical discussion of the gaze, Mulvey argues that the
power of the gaze is male –the active form- and is...
While the male victims also fall under the power of the gaze of the killer, they
receive a swift death and shorter screen ...
But if an audience identifies with characters depending on their own gender
and sexuality, so in a slasher horror film, if...
For the final girl, the point of view is reversed, she is able to face the killer
and take away the power of his gaze, giv...
This perspective has been challenged by Pinedo (1999), Dika
(1987) and Jancovich (1992b, 11) who observe that while
[t]he ...
Rather than arguing in favour of ‘lack’ in allowing the female heroine to take on the
‘traditional’ male mantle, an altern...
Hills states that the final girl is able to adapt –thus ensuring her survival-
in ways which the other characters, and in ...
The distancing of the body from its composition to its capabilities, as Deleuze
argues
we do not even know what a body can...
Hence in the development of the action heroine, as we have seen from Ripley in
the Alien series, Sarah Connor in The Termi...
In his analysis of Halloween, Halloween 2 and the Alien series, Iaccino suggests
that while in both Halloween and Alien, t...
The Final Girl As Action Heroine
Combined with a recognition in the development of the female action role that
was created...
Both the horror film and the action film
are very reliant on the display of
the body. In both genres we see the
body being...
The pumped-up body of the action hero(ine) in the fantasy films, and the
later action texts was also read as linking the d...
But why do we see the overt development of the final girl into the action hero role
in late 1990s horror texts like Hallow...
There is also a re-articulation of the action heroine role in Halloween:H20, and
I would suggest this is a case of the mat...
The maternal influence runs very strongly through the horror/action
movie canon, particularly when the protagonist is fema...
The development of the final girl as action hero has still not enabled the
character to take an active sexual role, for th...
Employing a mature action heroine
brought the genre full circle back to
Psycho, for the characters in Psycho were
not teen...
The action heroine is also presented in a similar way, any former erotic look
deflected onto the suffering that she endure...
In her critique of the action movie, Yvonne Tasker introduced the psychoanalytical
term of 'homeovestism' (Tasker, 1993:12...
The costume of the female action hero was also represented by the ‘little
black dress', first popularised by Anne Parrilla...
Much as a Schwarzenegger film like True Lies can
be assumed to contain action, spectacle and
violence, by donning the acti...
While many of the actors in the low
budget slasher horror films of the 1970s
and 1980s were unknown at the time
the films ...
Curtis’ first non-horror role was as the
Playboy model Dorothy Stratten in
Death of A Centrefold (Gabrielle
Beaumont, 1981...
Blue Steel also feminised the character of her partner, Nick (Clancy Brown), who
would normally be the male hero –particul...
The film then becomes in part a rape-
revenge narrative, much like I Spit on
your Grave (Mier Zarchi, 1977). In her
discus...
While at the time, True Lies was condemned for a scene in which Curtis is
interrogated by Schwarzenegger and his partner, ...
While Curtis’ role, in Virus (John Bruno,1998) was the first to attempt to place her
overtly in the action hero mould, she...
Conclusion
In a constant state of
development, the horror genre
has internalised its monster into
the psychotic killer, co...
Bibliography
Arroyo, Jose, ‘Cameron and the Comic’, Sight and Sound (September 1994)
Balio, Tino, Grand Design: Hollywood ...
Iaccino, James F., Psychological Reflections on Cinemmatic Terror: Jungian
Archetypes in Horror Films, (Praeger, 1994)
Jan...
Mulvey, Laura, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema", in Film Theory and
Criticism, Ed by Mast, Cohen and Braudy, (Oxford...
Rodowick, D.N., Gilles Deleuze’s Time Machine, (Duke University Press, 1997)
Sconce, Jeffrey, ‘Spectacles of Death: Identi...
Filmography
p.c.: production company, p.: producer, d.: director
sc: screenplay, l.p.: leading players
Alien GB, 1979
p.c....
Black Christmas Canada, 1975
p.c.: EMI/Film Funding/Vision IV; p.,d.: Bob Clark; sc: Roy Moore; l.p.: Olivia
Hussey, Keir ...
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers US, 1988
p.c.: Fox/Trancas International/Halloween 4 Partnership; p.: Paul Freema...
Mother’s Boys US, 1994
p.c.: Miramax/CBS; p.: Jack E. Freedman, Wayne S. Williams, Patricia Herskovic; d.:
Yves Simoneu; s...
Scream US, 1996
p.c.: Buena Vista/Miramax/Dimension; p.: Cary Woods, Cathy Conrad; d.: Wes
Craven; sc: Kevin Williamson; l...
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 US, 1986
p.c.: Cannon; p.: Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus; d.: Tobe Hooper; sc: L.M. Kit
Carson; l....
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From Final Girl to Action Hero: Women and the Modern Slasher Film

MA Film and The Moving Image, Final Dissertation

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From Final Girl to Action Hero

  1. 1. From Final Girl to Action Hero: Women and the Modern Slasher Film MA Film and The Moving Image Final Dissertation Keith Devereux Student Number: 10154146
  2. 2. The horror film occupies a position in popular culture roughly comparable to that of horror literature. That is to say, it is generally ignored, sometimes acknowledged with bemused authority and viewed with alarm Introduction In the introduction to a booklet for the Toronto Festival of Festivals, Robin Wood defined horror as ‘one of the most popular and, at the same time, the most disreputable of Hollywood genres’ (Britton, Lippe, et. al.: 1979:13). While being popular and profitable, horror films were either ‘restricted to aficionados *or+ complemented by total rejection’ (Ibid.: 13), leading to their being derided by most critics. However, in the intervening years, the modern American horror film, i.e. those dating from the 1970s onwards, have been noted for a range of transgressive themes and motifs that have differentiated them from the genre films of preceding generations. This has led to horror being submitted to a range of readings, using a variety of critical tools, to explain their appeal, development and relevance both to film theory and to the changes in popular culture.
  3. 3. Andrew Tudor discussed the evolution of the horror film, splitting them up into six main chronological periods between 1931 and 1984: the classic period, the war period, the fifties boom, American decline, the seventies boom and a period of sustained growth from 1978 onwards (Tudor, 1989:24-25). Within this period, Tudor suggested that while the basis of the horror film remained the same: ‘normality’ was disturbed by an external force which required resolution, the mode of the threatening external force changed in response to the norms of the day. During the early part of the classic period, the horrific threat was from a supernatural source (e.g. Dracula (Tod Browning, 1931)) or from science gone wrong (e.g. Frankenstein (James Whale, 1932)), while during the 1950s the threat was either from invasion, perhaps representative of the communist threat at the time, or from misguided scientific experimentation. In each case, normality was restored through the efforts of the authorities themselves or in concert with an older individual armed with the knowledge to counter the threat.
  4. 4. However, from the 1960s onward the horrific threat, became less supernatural and more psychological. In 1960, two horror films, Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960) and Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960), unveiled a new terror, the psychotic killer, seemingly ‘ordinary’ on the outside, but capable of unspeakable evil within. Alongside this change, the influence of authority and the role of experts became less effective against the threat, and this role was taken over by another ‘ordinary person’, who recognised the threat and took action against it. From the earliest examples of this new type of horror film, the opposition to the threat was usually a young girl, who recognised the threat to the community and was able to defeat it with the bare minimum of technology, usually stabbing or slashing weapons.
  5. 5. While Psycho was acknowledged as the original template for most modern slasher horror films, and for the similarly themed serial killer movies, the contemporary slasher movie officially came of age with Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978). Between Psycho and Halloween, a number of films established the conventions of the genre, which were best summarised by Carol Clover (Clover, 1992:26-41) as: killer, terrible place, weapons, victims, ‘final girl’ and shock effects. These earlier films also established the position of a young female as the heroic sole survivor, or final girl. In her definition of the final girl as: …the one who encounters the mutilated bodies of her friends and perceives the full extent of the preceding horror and of her own peril; who is chased, cornered, wounded; whom we see scream, stagger, fall, rise, and scream again, Clover isolated two main characteristics of the survivor: that she is the first to recognise the terror that is stalking her and that she is different to the other characters in the film in being able to feel terror –all of the other victims were killed without appreciating their peril or a knowledge of their impending death.
  6. 6. However, while the final girl was able to recognise the threat and fight against it, she was never able to kill the monster outright, aid from the authority figures were always required. But as the slasher horror film developed, so too did the resilience and ingenuity of both the killer and the final girl, and in this essay, I will discuss the role of women in the contemporary horror film, and demonstrate how the image of the final girl has changed with both relation to the slasher horror film and in the form of the mainstream Hollywood blockbuster, in the guise of the action heroine.
  7. 7. The Contemporary Horror Film: From Classic To Slasher While the classic Universal films such as Dracula and Frankenstein were the first films to put the genre ‘on the map’, horror films have been around a lot longer. Early examples from Georges Méliès or the German expressionist films such as, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1919) or Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922) established the conventions from which the later Hollywood productions would draw, but because of their European origins were largely ignored outside the United States, where the appeal was for comedy or melodrama. With the gain in power of the Socialist party under Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, many German technicians and directors fled to Hollywood. As Tudor has observed, the horror film and the gangster film were the main beneficiaries of this influx, the studied compositions, elaborate lighting techniques and heavy shadows (Tudor, 1989: 27) fitting naturally with the style of the horror film that the studios produced. Interestingly, Hollywood did not draw it’s inspiration for the classic horror films from the original novels, but from the stage productions and from ‘the influence of the circus, the fairground and the freak show’ (Neale, 2000: 98) that were popular at the time.
  8. 8. With the unprecedented success of the Universal horror films, other studios produced their own, most notably Freaks (Tod Browning, 1932) and King Kong (Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1933). While the various studios produced relatively few horror films during the 1930s, compared to other genres, they ‘left an indelible mark on the era’ (Balio, 1993: 298-310). Balio also raised the role of women in these early horror films, particularly in relation to Dracula, when he observed that the monster terrorises the surrounding countryside‟ killing „young innocents, particularly females, who are caught up as potential victims; [and] the expert… is the only character capable of defeating the threat (ibid.: 299).
  9. 9. From the 1930s to the 1960s, the emphasis of the horror film developed from one of an external or ‘foreign’ threat –the vampire or mad scientist was not only aristocratic, but a foreign aristocrat- to one of internal and ‘local’. During the 1930s, America felt threatened from the rise of fascism in Europe, especially Germany, while after World War 2, when the cold war was at it’s greatest, male and female scientists joined forces in opposition to a… common enemy… that threatened humanity in general and Americans in particular. It was a battle for survival between civilisation and “the other” During the war years of 1942-46, the horror genre produced less innovative work, most likely due to the strictures imposed by the war in Europe and Asia. Most of the films produced were sequels or remakes of the werewolf/vampire/monster films of the 1930s, though films such as Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942) were among the first to explore psychological and sexual themes. Following the end of World War 2, and with the detonation of the atomic bomb and the race to build more and better nuclear weapons, the horror film was subsumed into a horror/science fiction hybrid, with tales of alien invasion and radioactive mutations taking over from the ‘traditional’ horror film, until a gothic revival through the British Hammer Studios, with remakes of the vampire myth such as Dracula (Terence Fisher, 1958) from the late 1950s onwards.
  10. 10. In his analysis of over 900 horror films from 1930-1984, Tudor found that nearly one third of them –produced between 1960 and 1984- were concerned with ‘homicidal psychosis’, depicting monsters that were victims of overpowering impulses that well up from within… Horror-movie psychotics [that] murder, terrorise, maim and rape because of some inner compulsion, because the psyche harbours the dangerous excesses of human passion. The next major development in the horror genre came with the release of Psycho, which was considered notable for two developments: an emphasis of the role of psychosis in the monster, rather than an external or supernatural element, and the transference of the narrative from the authority figure to the ‘ordinary person’. Psycho was also the first film to allude to the rules of the slasher genre where the roles of women are concerned and introduced the ‘final girl’. The internalisation of the monstrous threat meant that anyone could be the monster, inasmuch as anyone could be the victim –or the hero.
  11. 11. Whether the change in emphasis of the monstrous threat demonstrated a natural development of the genre (Jancovich, 1996:220-223) or, as Tudor implies, a radical break in the format and function of horror films (Tudor, 1989), the bulk of the post 1960s horror films represented the ‘return of the repressed’ (Wood in Britton, Lippe, et. al., 1979: 17) with it’s concentration on a threat not only from inside the mind but from within the American community as a whole. Wood relates the change in the genre to a change in the image of the American family from the 1930s to the 1970s: The family (or marital) comedy in which the Thirties and Forties are so rich, turns sour… in the Fifties and peters out; the family horror film starts (not, of course, Without precedents) with Psycho in 1960, and gains impetus with Rosemary‟s Baby and Night of the Living Dead toward the end of the
  12. 12. By the 1970s, the family became the monster in such films as Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1973) and even in contemporary, films where the family is apparently united, that disruptive element is never far away (The Stepfather, Joseph Ruben, 1987). The sense of apocalypse in horror films such as Texas Chain Saw Massacre, was explored by Wood (Britton, Lippe, et. al.: 1979) and Sharrett (1984), and suggested that the ‘Age of Aquarius’, when the emphasis on ‘doing your own thing’ was nearing it’s end and America had suffered from the trauma of losing the war in Vietnam. America found itself in an enfeebled world position, faced with a faltering economy (Dika, 1987:97) and the sense was that annihilation is inevitable, humanity is now completely powerless (Wood in Britton, Lippe, et. al.: 1979:20).
  13. 13. The success of these slasher films generated a range of sequels, and derivatives such as the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Hollywood was not keen to develop the characters too far, though, preferring to stick with an established formula, and the ‘conventional’ slasher movie, became basically a re-treading of the original film with the killer terrorising the young community. Consequently the different series’ came to be perceived as ‘highly formulaic and thus uninteresting’ (Sconce, 1993: 105) and from a groundbreaking debut with Halloween, by the time Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (Dwight H. Little, 1988) was released, it was described as ‘a further unnecessary sequel. Poorly made’, (Halliwell, 1999: 346) and there were still two sequels to go! However, the release of Halloween and Friday the 13th (Sean S. Cunningham, 1980) coincided with the election of Ronald Reagan in the United States, with a return to traditional values ‘family, home, and religion’ (Dika, 1987:98). The slasher heroine was seen to embody ‘personal restraint’ in ‘sexual matters… family or professional relationships’ (Ibid.: 98) and as such her actions were valued over the other characters within the films, such as the sexually liberal actions of the victims. Alongside an increase in the emotional strength and violence of the final girl in the horror film, there was also a celebration of the male body in the form of the action hero, cementing the restored power of the United States on the world stage. These two aspects would later be combined in the form of the action heroine.
  14. 14. One of the strengths of the early horror films was that the identity of the killer remained a mystery for most of the narrative, thus increasing the tension for the spectator, as they possessed knowledge that the characters within the film were unaware of. For example, the use of the point-of-view shot from the killers perspective upon an unsuspecting victim reinforced the a knowledge on the spectators part that exceeds that of the characters under threat of attack (Neale, 1984:340). However, in the sequels the identity of the killer was known to the audience, and while still being masked to the characters in the film, was no longer hidden by point of view shot, thus depriving the spectator of that element of threat. It was therefore necessary for the filmmakers to create new means of providing tension within the audience, as in Aliens (James Cameron, 1986) where the audience was fully aware of the appearance of the aliens from the first film. In this instance the aliens were redefined as an army to be annihilated –as suggested by the tag-line for the film ‘This Time it’s War’.
  15. 15. In The Terminator (James Cameron, 1984), the slasher film which also probably started the action movie genre in the 1980s, the body of the T-101 cyborg, while displaying all of the characteristics of the slasher movie killer, is celebrated and fetishised throughout the film. However, many of the conventions used in The Terminator were still that of the post-Halloween slasher movie, in particular the victims’ failure to use violence, the recognition of the final girl in her plight and the knowledge of the ‘older’ warrior needed to defeat the monster. The Terminator also combined the ineffectiveness of authority to recognise the threat of the killer by portraying the police predominantly as victims and the psychotherapist as dismissive of the warrior’s story.
  16. 16. With an emphasis on the killer, after all the killer goes from film to film. The teenagers do not (Sconce, 1993: 113), in some instances, particularly in the Nightmare on Elm Street films, the killer became an ‘anti-hero’, being given ‘all the best lines’ and dispatching the victims, who –apart from the final girl- were reduced to caricatures, in more and interesting ways. The film makers dropped plot in favour of ‘accelerated perception and dazzling spectacle’ and ‘intense visual excitement’ (Ibid.: 113-114). However, despite the change in emphasis the audience was never expected to identify with the slasher movie killer. With repetition of the story time and again, the audience became aware of the conventions of the genre and knew that Freddy, or Jason or Michael, were not unstoppable, no matter how many hapless young teens were despatched in the process, and that they would be defeated in the end –until the next in the sequence. In the sequel to The Terminator, however, like Aliens this was redefined as an action/adventure film, both to distance itself from it’s origins and also to reflect the change in the star image of Schwarzenegger, who by this time was hailed as an action hero.
  17. 17. Many of the slasher movie franchises eventually lost their ability to thrill and became repetitive in their narrative, or fell back on previously used narrative techniques (for example, the survival of Michael Myers in Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (Dominique Othen-Girard, 1989), in falling down a hole and escaping through an underwater stream, is derived from the scene of the survival of Frankenstein’s monster in Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935). It was not until Scream (Wes Craven, 1996), that the elements of the slasher film were taken and brought up to date literally, as script writer Kevin Williamson has said, because he ‚loved the idea of exposing the conventions of the genre.‛ Scream extensively used the conventions that earlier films had established, and while there was little further development in the character of the final girl: Sidney was still ambivalent to sex and her 'PG-13' relationship with her boyfriend reflected Laurie Strode's own inability or unwillingness to arrange a date for a dance in Halloween 20 years before. However, the film was the first to portray the killer suffering from assault throughout the film and Scream may be considered to be the 1990s equivalent of Psycho, developing a new direction and revitalising the genre.
  18. 18. …those commercial feature films which, through repetition, and variation, tell familiar stories with familiar characters in familiar situations. They also encourage expectations and experiences similar to those of similar films we have already seen. (Grant, 1986:xi). Genre, The Slasher Movie And Action Cinema When we are ‘establishing a genre’ (Kolker, 1999:104), we are creating a pattern by which other films within that genre may be made. I have already considered how the various generic elements of the slasher movie: killer, victims, final girl and so forth, have arisen –and how the horror genre itself evolved from the classic supernatural texts of the 1930s to the psychotic horror texts of the 1960s and beyond, but I would like to look at how a study of genre can aid in my discussion of the development of the final girl as action heroine.
  19. 19. Like other genres, the horror film often displays ‘intertextuality’, overlapping with other genres, such as science fiction, or other cultural forms, such as books and graphic novelisations, to provide variations of the theme. Indeed, providing a new direction and continually defamiliarising the audience is essential in keeping a genre vital in the eyes of that audience, be it cinematic or literary. However, by creating a pattern, it is easier and cheaper to turn out many versions of the same pattern than reinvent a new one (Kolker, 1999:104-5) and one of the difficulties with the franchise horror film, as has already been discussed, was that by providing only minor variations on the theme, or simply copying scenes from previous films, apathy was quickly generated within the horror audience.
  20. 20. One of the developments that occurred in the transformation of Ripley from the final girl of Alien to the action heroine of Aliens, was the recognition that a female could successfully adopt the action hero role and make it her own. While at the time the presentation of a female action heroine disturbed some within Hollywood, Ripley was not seen as transgressive by the audience, indeed the film was the most successful of all of the series and a recognition of the change in ‘social and historical forces’ is also vital for the development of a genre. A more successful series was created from Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979). The original film, in 1979, was a slasher movie, the unidentified monster picking off the crew of the Nostromo one by one. However, the second film in the series, Aliens was a ‘barnstorming’ action movie. As Flanagan observed, whereas Alien capitalised on the horror boom of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the market had changed by 1986. The horror genre, represented by such lamentable efforts as Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives… was
  21. 21. While the repetition of particular themes and motifs within a genre suggests that they are static, they are actually continually evolving, and should be understood as ‘processes’ (Neale, 1990:45). As Neale argues, while these processes may, for sure, be dominated by repetition… they are also marked fundamentally by difference, variation and change (Ibid.: 56) and each new ‘genre film’ will add a new element or transgress an older one. Whenever a new variation on the theme of an established genre comes along, it is often described as ‘postmodern’, in that it is challenging the established conventions of a genre. But postmodernity itself is only temporary and will become subsumed into the dominant ideological and cultural form. As Jean- Françios Lyotard says, postmodernity is part of the modern… a work can become modern only if it is first postmodern (Lyotard, 1984:79).
  22. 22. One way for a genre to develop is to hybridise with other genres, or become subsumed by them. Neale discusses this in relation to the Russian Formalist tradition when he argues that genres are ‘embedded’ not only within the generic formations, but of wider cultural formations as well and that one dominant genre may be displaced by another. The role of the ‘dominant’, as expressed by the Formalists, was a formal organisational principle around which other structures in the work cluster and may be represented as a set of conventions common to many films (Thompson, 1981:34).
  23. 23. Thus as a genre such as the slasher horror film has changed, it is subjected to a ‘sequence of rivalries’ (Jauss, cited in Neale, 1990: 58) that marks its readjustment from one form to another. In the case of the horror film, and in particular the slasher horror film, the dominant form was to adjust the actions of the final girl from one of passive defence to one of attack, taking the violence to the killer and becoming subsumed into an emerging generic form, the action blockbuster. Those slasher films that continued to pursue the ‘conventional’ slasher form and narrative were also influenced by the emerging action film, becoming ‘highly formulaic and uninteresting’ (Sconce, 1993:105).
  24. 24. Consequently, while the slasher horror film became ‘thin on plot and heavy on special effects’ (Ibid.: 105) the action film became the dominant cinematic form throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s, making stars from pumped-up action heroes like Schwarzenegger, Willis and Stallone, and reflecting, as many believe, the dominant ideological form of the day –as expressed by Reaganism or Thatcherism, where the emphasis was on the development of the individual, rather than a recognition of community. The development of the female action hero also continued through the eighties and nineties, in the form of Sigourney Weaver as ‘Ripley’ in the Alien series and Linda Hamilton as ‘Sarah Connor’ in Terminator 2: Judgement Day (James Cameron, 1991). Other action heroines to make an impact were Geena Davies (Cutthroat Island (Renny Harlin, 1995) and The Long Kiss Goodnight (Renny Harlin, 1996)) and Angela Bassett (Strange Days, Kathryn Bigelow, 1995)). The slasher movie then recaptured the final girl as action heroine in Scream, which provided two ‘arse-kicking female protagonists’ (Hills, 1999:38) in the form of Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox.
  25. 25. Hailed as a postmodern horror film, Scream was notable for being very ‘self- conscious’ in its selection of stars and in it’s use of intertextuality. Courtney Cox was originally famous for her role in the highly successful television series, Friends, and Neve Campbell and other younger stars of the film were well known for their roles on American television and in situation comedies. The use of ‘self- consciousness’ in films therefore provides another source of the interrelationship between the text and popular culture. Scream also redefined the role of the victims firstly in allowing them to use violence against the killer for the first time and also using intertextuality to define the status of the victim. For example, in the narrative of Scream, Drew Barrymore, the first victim, was not coded by her behaviour as the archetypal slasher victim -she was merely going to watch a horror movie with her boyfriend. However, the audience would know from readings of the actress’s life that although the innocent of E.T. The Extra- Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1981), Barrymore was also formerly a drug addict and alcoholic in her Hollywood lifestyle, thus making her more ‘acceptable’ as a victim. Scream also used a plot device first used in The Slumber Party Massacre (Amy Holden Jones, 1982) presenting a number of ‘final girls’ working in concert to destroy the threat.
  26. 26. In revitalising the slasher genre, Scream led to several other inferior slasher movies – using the same device with teen T.V. stars to carry the narrative. The renewed interest in teen horror was also seen on television, with the small screen version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer making a star of Sarah Michel Gellar (who also appeared in a cameo role as a victim in Scream 2 (Wes Craven, 1997) –itself a parodic reflection of her vampire butt-kicking personality in Buffy). The introduction of the first overtly aggressive final girls (in Scream 2, Sidney, Neve Campbell, takes a gun and shoots the killer between the eyes ‘just to make sure’, a scenario that would not have been contemplated by final girls from the 1970s slasher movies) brings us to Halloween: H20 (Steve Miner, 1998), which I consider to be a turning point for the next generation of horror films.
  27. 27. The Slasher Film And The ‘Final Girl’ Don't you know the rules? There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie… (Scream, 1996) Clover’s analysis of the slasher film and Dika’s consideration of the generic elements of the early slasher films (Dika, 1987) established the ‘rules’ by which the various characters in the films are allowed to perform. There are two communities within the horror film, the family and authority (the ‘old’ community) and the young community and the killer, which Dika described as an ingroup/outgroup division (ibid.: 92). The family and authority are ineffective in the typical horror film, often denying the threat exists until it is too late, or simply being unprepared for it, leaving the young community isolated and forced to defend itself.
  28. 28. In turn, the young community is divided into three sections: the victims, who are unable to defend themselves or are aware of the threat, the killer, who is ‘a relic from and earlier time that has now returned to disrupt the present stability of the young community’ (Ibid.: 93), and the heroine. It is only the heroine who perceives the threat and is able to use violence to protect herself from it –and defeat the killer. The typical narrative of a slasher horror film is as follows: in a period prior to the start of the story, an event happens that traumatises the killer, perhaps concerned with the ‘old’ community when they were young (in Friday The 13th, Jason Vorhees drowns at a summer camp due to the inattention of his minders, or in A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven, 1984), a vigilante mob comprised of the young communities’ families kill paedophile Freddy Krueger). Years later, an event resurrects the homicidal impulses of the killer, who returns to the scene of the traumatic event and stalks and kills members of the young community. The threat is eventually recognised by the heroine (in some instances only when everyone else in the young community has been killed - for example Halloween, Friday The 13th or Texas Chain Saw Massacre) who fights the killer and eventually defeats him.
  29. 29. Dika observed that although the killer has been defeated, the threat to the heroine is not removed. The killer is often not killed outright but only ‘subdued’ and able to return to kill again (especially if the series is popular and enjoys good box-office revenue) and the heroine is forced to face a renewed threat (as in Halloween 2 (Rick Rosenthal, 1981)), or the narrative turned over to a new young community. The heroines in all slasher horror movies share certain traits, summarised by Clover as the ‘final girl’ (Clover, 1992: 35-41). On the whole, the final girl is resourceful and resilient. She also shares more screen time than most of the other characters and we are aware that she recognises the threat while the other characters, obviously coded as victims, do not. The final girl is also able to use violence to escape from the threat, fighting back in a way that the victims were unable to do. Whereas the other members of the young community are despatched quickly, and the female victims are made to suffer for longer than their male counterparts, the final girl lives with the knowledge [of her possible death for long minutes or hours (Clover, 1992: 35). However, in the early slasher horror movies the final girl was not able to defeat the killer herself, this was still left to the members of the old community, or by good fortune –as in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where Sally is rescued by a passing motorist.
  30. 30. Drawing from antecedents such as Psycho, Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1975) and Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween is acknowledged to have been the first film to self-consciously take the generic elements of the slasher film and place them into a simple story: psychotic killer (Michael Myers) escapes from a mental institution and returns to the scene of his old crime. This film also established the development of the final girl from displaying passive defence, where the heroine escapes by luck or the intervention of an external force, to a position of active defence. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) was able to fashion weapons of her own, though she was limited to household objects: knives, knitting needles and clothes hangers, in her fight against Michael Myers. However, she was still not able to kill Michael herself, which in Halloween was left to Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance), or the police or other authority figures in the later instalments of the franchise. Following Halloween, while the killers became more ferocious, the final girl needed to become more resilient and resourceful. In Friday The 13th, Annie confronts the killer, Mrs. Vorhees, though she is not portrayed as a psychotic/supernatural threat like Halloween’s Michael (or Jason Vorhees in the Friday sequels), and able to decapitate her (with the police showing up once everything is over).
  31. 31. In Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (Tobe Hooper, 1986), Stretch actually ‘becomes’ the monster, forced in one scene to wear the skinned face of her colleague L.G. to dance with Leatherface, and later taking possession of a chainsaw herself and attacking ‘Chop Top’, the survivor of her battle with the cannibalistic Sawyer family with it. Perhaps the most obvious merging of the monster with the final girl is shown in Alien Resurrection (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 1997), where the DNA of a cloned Ripley is merged with that of the alien, making her faster, stronger and more monstrous than both the aliens and the other human characters, who would typically be expected to be coded as victims. Indeed, as Linton commented, there is nothing in the formula of the genre that points to these two [Johner and Vriessas] the humans most likely to survive; they are not the best looking, nor the most sympathetic, nor the most essential to the mission (Linton, 1999:177).
  32. 32. In her critique of the female role in the contemporary horror film, Barbara Creed addressed the role of the monstrous feminine, an ‘analysis of the representation of woman as monstrous in the horror film’ (Creed, 1993:7). Using the process of ‘abjection’, Creed proposed that in horror films, the monstrous is produced at the border between human and inhuman, man and beast… normal and supernatural, good and evil (Ibid.: 10).Creed’s argument, that the female could be represented as an active, terrifying fury, a powerfully, abject figure, and a castrating monster is certainly reflected in Alien:Resurrection. Here Ripley is presented more as a hybrid between the action heroine that the character became in Aliens and the alien monster that she was fighting against since it’s appearance in the first of the series some 18 years before. While her action and behaviour reflects this hybridity, her dress, a one-piece leather suit, also reduces the humanity of the character. In becoming the ‘monsters mother’, she has also become more monstrous herself, a representation also seen in the portrayal of several other final girl characters.
  33. 33. The representation of the young community has been the source of much comment and criticism. While accepting that the victims are from the young community, the gender of the victims have remained questionable. Clover has insisted that while the gender of the victim may be either male or female (in Halloween for example the victims are two couples and an unknown male truck driver), the emphasis was given over to the fate of the female victim, sharing longer screen time in their death than the male victim and their extending their suffering (Clover, 1992: 33). In one sequence in Halloween:H20, although the female victim is terrorised and made to suffer, when her boyfriend is killed we only see the aftermath of the murder –the discovery of his body. In Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (Kim Henkel, 1995), the sole female victim is tortured throughout the film, being locked in a freezer, hung from a hook, beaten, set on fire and finally crushed! The major difference between the victims and the heroine is that the victims are portrayed as transgressive in some way –for example they are either sexually active or trespass somewhere that puts them in the way of the killer, whereas the heroine does not fulfil these roles –the killer chases after her.
  34. 34. scopophila, looking for pleasure, Mulvey argued that the look may be associated with fetishism or desire, and the look of the male hero is de-eroticised and passed over to the female characters, reflecting the control that the male exerts on the image by actions, cinematography etc. Hence the gaze of the heroine upon the killer reduces his, and likewise the audiences, identification with him and confers greater authority upon the heroine. In her paper 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema' Laura Mulvey explores three aspects of looking in the cinema: identification with the image, and the actions of the characters as they look upon each other.
  35. 35. In this psychoanalytical discussion of the gaze, Mulvey argues that the power of the gaze is male –the active form- and is passed to that of the female –the passive form. However, in a follow-up to her paper ‘Afterthoughts…’ (in Kaplan, 1990), Mulvey proposes that the female heroine –and the female spectator- submits to an oscillation between “passive” femininity and aggressive “masculinity” (Mulvey, 1990: 31). Hence, it is only while the final girl is taking on the aggressive role in attacking and defeating the killer that she is moving the narrative forward. Once the killer is defeated, she ‘reverts’ to the ‘traditional’ female role, the (male) authorities turn up and the story is resolved. The narration cannot move further forward and must be brought to a swift conclusion. For example, in Alien, once the alien is killed Ripley retires to her sleeping capsule clutching Jonesy, the cat. In Halloween, Laurie is left crying and hugging herself on the stairs and while in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, once Stretch –‘a white trash bitch with a chain saw’ (Halberstam, 1995:143)- has killed the last surviving member of the cannibalistic Sawyer family, she is left madly waving the weapon above her head as the movie fades to the credits.
  36. 36. While the male victims also fall under the power of the gaze of the killer, they receive a swift death and shorter screen time, whereas the look of the female victim is presented as ‘I-camera’ from the point of view of the killer. This has been read as placing the audience in the position of the male killer, and the male spectator, thus reinforcing the superiority of the male over the female, leading to readings of mysogyinism against slasher horror films, that because of their sexual behaviour the female victims are being punished for not conforming to ‘the traditional role for women within a patriarchal society’ (Jancovich, 1992: 105). However, by presenting the killing of a woman from an unidentified killers point of view, I believe the audience is implicated more fully in the fate of the female victim, and suffers that much more for it. Clover argues that the gaze of the final girl upon the killer is in direct opposition to that of classical Hollywood cinema, where the female is always the recipient of the male gaze as described by Mulvey. She suggests that the female exercise of scopic control results not in her annihilation, in the manner of classic cinema, but in her triumph; indeed her triumph depends upon her assumption of the gaze (Clover, 1992:60).
  37. 37. But if an audience identifies with characters depending on their own gender and sexuality, so in a slasher horror film, if the protagonist is female, how will a predominantly heterosexual male audience react? In order to confront this issue, which has featured prominently in much feminist discourse in the slasher movie debate, Clover has argued that while the final girl is feminine, she is not completely so. Her dress is often ambiguous -trousers or jeans and a shirt an her name is masculine (Laurie, Stretch, Sidney -from Scream- or Ripley -from Alien). She is also sexually inhibited, or sexually inactive, compared to other characters, who are usually coded as victims. She argues that a male audience will support a female in peril to a greater degree than a male, and that a female protagonist provides an emotional buffer that allows the males in the audience to "explore taboo subjects" that they would not otherwise enjoy. By taking this position, Clover is suggesting that the final girl is not female, but a girl in drag –a surrogate male.
  38. 38. For the final girl, the point of view is reversed, she is able to face the killer and take away the power of his gaze, giving her the strength to use violence against him (the majority of movie psychotics are male of course, adding to the claims of misogyny, the few exceptions including Mrs Vorhees in Friday the 13th and, ironically, Jamie Lee Curtis in Mother’s Boys (Yves Simoneu, 1994)). However, this has also been challenged by feminist writers in that it is said that the final girl is punished for daring to look at the killer, her look paralyses the final girl into inactivity allowing the killer to master the look and chase her, before redoubling her strength for the final attack (Williams, 1993:87). This is articulated very well in Halloween:H20 where, after rescuing her son John from the clutches of Michael Myers, Laurie Strode gazes in horror at Michael, frozen into immobilitity and missing the opportunity to shoot him with the gun she is carrying.
  39. 39. This perspective has been challenged by Pinedo (1999), Dika (1987) and Jancovich (1992b, 11) who observe that while [t]he audience for the stalker film is overwhelmingly young… these films of excessive violence against women found an audience that was 55 percent female (Dika, 1987:87). So in this instance, writers who have assumed that the predominant audience for the slasher film is male, and adopting the psychoanalytical argument of lack, based on the Freudian notion of female castration, may not find this to be truly applicable to the final girl. Why would an equal number of female spectators watch these films when the target audience is male? We also find in the slasher genre, there are just as many heroines that are clearly not male – ‘Nancy’ in A Nightmare on Elm Street, ‘Annie’ in Friday The 13th, and so forth, so an argument for the androgyny of the female hero must only be part of the overall picture.
  40. 40. Rather than arguing in favour of ‘lack’ in allowing the female heroine to take on the ‘traditional’ male mantle, an alternative argument may be one of ‘empowerment’. In Screen, Hills took issue with feminist writers taking the psychoanalytical approach, such as Creed and Clover, to suggest that the difficulty of theorists accepting a female action heroine was that they were approaching the concept from a position of ‘binaristic logic’ and that psychoanalytic accounts… theorise sexual difference within the framework of linked binary oppositions (active male/passive female) (Hills, 1999:38). Taking this ‘negative’ approach, rather than applauding the positive, has greatly limited the options of feminist writers –who must argue for strong female characters from the position of being castrated males, thus allowing the male to identify with them while not feeling that their own patriarchal position is being threatened. Hills, on the other hand, using the writings of Deleuze and Guattari, argues that the final girl – and the action heroine- is able to ‘adapt to change’ and to experiment with new modes of being and the ability to transform herself in the process
  41. 41. Hills states that the final girl is able to adapt –thus ensuring her survival- in ways which the other characters, and in particular the victims, are not. This ‘becoming’ is emphasised as being independent of what the body is composed of –it is, as Deleuze calls it, a Body Without Organs and the emphasis is therefore on what it can do rather than what it is. To use Hills’ own example, rather than using Freud’s hypothesis where a knife (or a gun) in the hand of the final girl is a fixed referent for the phallus… it can be understood as part of a machinic connection: a woman‟s hand forming an assemblage with a gun (Ibid.: 44).
  42. 42. The distancing of the body from its composition to its capabilities, as Deleuze argues we do not even know what a body can do (Deleuze, 1989:189), allows the action heroine to be imagined outside the notions of „passive‟, „lack‟ and „other‟ (Hills, 1999: 45). In using violence against the threat that has killed her friends and colleagues, this not to say that the final girl is ‘imitating’ or ‘becoming’ a male but that she is adapting herself to a new situation, one that ensures her own survival. As Rodowick observes in his investigation of the work of Deleuze: To establish a successful line of flight means not only recognising a power that must be evaded, but knowing its forces and potentialities well enough to formulate strategies of evasion and creation
  43. 43. Hence in the development of the action heroine, as we have seen from Ripley in the Alien series, Sarah Connor in The Terminator films or in the original final girl role of Laurie Strode in Halloween, Halloween 2 and Halloween: H20, in order to survive the action heroine must recognise her position and adapt her situation. An alternative psychoanalytical reading of the development of the final girl to the action heroine was that argued by Iaccino (1994), using the Jungian models of anima and animus. Jung proposed that each genders psyche is a mixture of masculine and feminine, that the very essence of a man‟s soul was so dominated by the anima that, through his dreams and fantasies, the unconscious feminine side could take on a more personified form (Iaccino, 1994:129). Similarly, the female mind is dominated by the animus that is able to express itself as ‘masculine projections… in her conscious life’ (Iaccino, 1994:129). However, because the dominant form in the man is masculine, and that of the woman feminine, the anima and animus remain ‘submerged’ in the unconscious.
  44. 44. In his analysis of Halloween, Halloween 2 and the Alien series, Iaccino suggests that while in both Halloween and Alien, the final girls –Laurie and Ripley- are able to defeat the killer (though Laurie only with the aid of Dr. Loomis), Laurie is more innocent and less ‘animus-assertive’ than Ripley, who recognises the threat from the alien at an early stage and tries to counter it. However, in both Halloween 2 and Aliens, Laurie and Ripley do recognise the threat and are able to assert their own masculine animus in their battle against the evil forces that are threatening them. The advantage of using a Jungian analysis over a binaristic Freudian argument is that Jung, like Deleuze, can accept empowerment in the actions of the final girl from the initial martyr- victim to a budding warrior figure to a full- blown Amazonian with feminine elements (Iaccino, 1994:143)
  45. 45. The Final Girl As Action Heroine Combined with a recognition in the development of the female action role that was created in the 1980s, Halloween:H20 jettisoned much of the narrative that occurred in the series since Halloween 2, the only exception being to use the idea raised in Halloween 4 that Laurie Strode was ‘killed’ in a car accident to protect her from Michael Myers. Laurie is now 'Keri Tate', the headmistress of a private school in California. Divorced and with a son, John (Josh Hartnett), who she protects ferociously, Laurie/Keri is preparing to close the school for the holidays. Once the school is closed, the students are sent to summer camp, which in itself is a reversal of the normal slasher movie conventions, of course: summer camps are normally a haven for the psychotic killer. Before they go, Laurie/Keri tells the students: ‚no musical sleeping bags, no booze, no drugs‛, all things that would typically get them killed in a slasher movie. So no one is left at the school except for Laurie, Will Brennan (the school counsellor and Laurie's boyfriend) John, his girlfriend and two friends. In the meantime, Michael -who actually survived an attempt to kill him 20 years earlier- has discovered where Laurie is living and is looking for her.
  46. 46. Both the horror film and the action film are very reliant on the display of the body. In both genres we see the body being assaulted and both the hero(ine) and killer are continually under attack. In Halloween: H20, there is acknowledgement of the role of the body, associated with the look, which first emerged during the 1980s and was subsequently subsumed into the action pictures that have dominated mainstream cinema ever since. Originally seen as the embodiment of ‘fascist idealisation of the white male body’ (Tasker, 1993:1), the male action hero grew out of the new Hollywood blockbusters such as Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975), Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977) and the unanticipated success of The Terminator, which also launched the career of the most successful action hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger. One of the first overtly female action heroines was Brigitte Nielsen in Red Sonja (Richard Fleischer, 1985), alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. Some feminist readings of these films are to explore the sexuality of the character. For example, Tasker’s reading of Red Sonja is that Sonja is attempting to re-establish a ‘normal’ sexual identity (Tasker, 1993:30) after the rejection of the advances of the villainness Gedren. By ‘masculinising’ her body, she is challenging the male hero (Schwarzenegger) to beat her in a fair fight before he can establish a heterosexual relationship with her.
  47. 47. The pumped-up body of the action hero(ine) in the fantasy films, and the later action texts was also read as linking the display of the body to the ideological and political establishment. Jeffords argued that the display of the body was central to ‘popular culture and national identity *on the one hand+ while, on the other to articulate how the polarisation’s of the body altered during the years of the Reagan and Bush presidencies’ (Jeffords, 1994:13). Her argument was that: whereas the Reagan years offered the image of the „hard body‟ to contrast directly to the „soft body‟ of the Carter years, the late 1980s and early 1990s saw a… rearticulation of masculine strength and power through internal, personal and family- oriented values. (Ibid.: 13) The fetishisation of the body as utilised in the depiction of the action heroine, generated much discussion in the final scenes of Alien where, after undressing, Ripley is cornered in a cupboard in the shuttle of the destroyed space-tug Nostromo. As in much feminist discourse, the argument has taken two diverging paths, one that Ripley’s power is reduced by making her the object of the erotic gaze of the male spectator (Newton, 1990, Jennings, 1995) the other that although cornered Ripley is still able to adapt to her situation and defeat the alien (Hills, 1999, Tasker, 1993).
  48. 48. But why do we see the overt development of the final girl into the action hero role in late 1990s horror texts like Halloween: H20? By this time, the pumped-up action hero role of the 1980s had been superseded by the ‘new man’ of the 1990s, again first recognised by Schwarzenegger in action hero parodies like Last Action Hero (John McTiernan, 1993). During the Clinton years, the action hero became more ‘self effacing’, a hero who ‘instead of learning to fight, learns to love’ (Jeffords, 1993:245). This is not to say that the action hero(ine) is returning to the ‘soft body’ of the 1970s, but that they are combining strength with empathy. At the same time the female roles have become stronger, more independent and in a range of texts, from Terminator 2: Judgement Day to Pitch Black (David Twohy, 2000), the traditional action hero (Schwarzenegger in the former, Vin Diesel in the latter) steps back, to let a female action heroine take control of the situation. However, in each of these films, patriarchal superiority is re- established in that the action heroine cannot defeat the threat without the action hero's assistance.
  49. 49. There is also a re-articulation of the action heroine role in Halloween:H20, and I would suggest this is a case of the maturity of the action heroine/final girl. The final girl has ceased to be an innocent teenager, Laurie/Keri is 40 years old, divorced, tortured daily by her experience and a 'functioning alcoholic'. Like the action hero of the 1980s, the female heroine of the 1990s is a flawed character, an outsider from her own community. In this Laurie/Keri poses an interesting comparison to the slasher films of the 1970s and 1980s. In the earlier situations, the killer and the final girl are from the same young community, with the older community proving ineffective against the threat. In Halloween:H20, there are two ‘young’ communities, that of Laurie’s son John and his friends, and that of Laurie and Michael. However, it is left both to the counsellor, the security guard in the school and to John to act as the ‘older’ community, first disbelieving that a threat exists, then proving ineffective in combating the threat (John is wounded and the counsellor is killed). Consequently there is no room for Laurie to behave like a teenager, she cannot run and hide from her attacker, but must take the initiative, to fight and protect her son. A Jungian analysis would also suggest that as she gets older the masculine animus is asserting more dominance and projecting through to her conscious life.
  50. 50. The maternal influence runs very strongly through the horror/action movie canon, particularly when the protagonist is female. In Halloween, Laurie is a baby sitter, in Alien, Ripley risks her own life to save the cat and later in Aliens to save the little girl, Newt (in Alien: Resurrection where she is closer to the aliens than the humans, she refers to herself as ‘the monsters mother’). One notable exception is the role of Schwarzeneggar as John Matrix in Commando (Mark L. Lester, 1985). At the beginning of this film, he is seen being the perfect father to his daughter, playing games, fetching ice cream and so on. When she is kidnapped, he uses his special forces training to rescue her (killing several hundred bad guys along the way). Here the action movie departs from the horror film in that the hero(ine) is generally associated with the forces of authority, such as the police (Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988 or Lethal Weapon (Richard Donner, 1987)) or the security forces (The Long Kiss Goodnight or Predator (John McTiernan, 1987)).
  51. 51. The development of the final girl as action hero has still not enabled the character to take an active sexual role, for that would allow the killer to attack and possibly kill her. While clearly sexually active, Laurie/Keri has a seventeen year-old son and a relationship with the school counsellor, throughout Halloween: H20, Laurie/Keri remained sexually inactive, the only opportunity for sex being interrupted by the realisation that Michael was not after her, but John. However, while resisting the change to make the final girl into a final boy, killing off Laurie and letting John defeat Michael, Halloween: H20 was the first slasher horror to allow the final girl to move from a position of active defence to attack. Although in Friday the 13th Annie was able to decapitate Mrs. Vorhees, she was continually on the defensive and took up the weapon only in order to defend herself from aggression. Similarly while the first final girl to show aggressive tendencies towards the killer was Ripley in Aliens, by this time the series had moved into the action genre. However, the Alien series never moved too far from its horror roots –especially in Alien3 (David Fincher, 1992) which attempted to return the slasher franchise to an outer space prison colony. In Halloween:H20, though, Laurie did not run from Michael –except when she lost her own weapons- but searched for him during the films climactic scenes and continually assaulted his body.
  52. 52. Employing a mature action heroine brought the genre full circle back to Psycho, for the characters in Psycho were not teenagers but adults, able to control their own destiny. References to Psycho are very prevalent in Halloween:H20, from the casting of Janet Leigh (Marion Crane, the first slasher victim) in the role of the school secretary to references to showers, the appearance of Marion’s car, and so forth. While this may be an attempt to distance the film from the ‘teenie-pic’ connotations of the 1980s slasher film and position the film on a more serious critical level, the knowing use of popular cultural references, particularly in the horror film, connote a further element of the self- consciousness that these films portray. The display of the body of the action heroine raises once again the subject of the gaze. Mulvey’s positioning of the active male/passive female argument in relation to the male action hero has been that any notion of eroticism is displaced by subjecting the male body to continued assault in ‘ritualised scenes of conflict’ (Tasker, 1993:115). In his study of ‘masculinity as spectacle’, Neale acknowledges that while the male body may be filmed erotically –he uses Rock Hudson as the subject in melodramas, which may be considered by some for a predominantly female audience- the body of the male action hero is marked not by eroticism but by ‘fear, or hatred, or aggression’ (Neale, 1993:18).
  53. 53. The action heroine is also presented in a similar way, any former erotic look deflected onto the suffering that she endures during the narrative. In The Long Kiss Goodnight, for example, Samantha Caine (Geena Davis), has a family and is filmed as the subject of a male gaze, her performance as ‘Mrs Santa Clause’ in the town pageant eroticised by the commentary of the TV reporter. However, once she regains her lost memory, as Charlie Baltimore she not only disowns her previous identity (‘look what she did to my behind?’) but becomes androgynous in looks, with heavy make-up and a thick parka, and by the suffering that she is subjected to in her battle with the villain played by Craig Bierko. In Halloween:H20, Jamie Lee Curtis only wears feminine clothes while acting as the headmistress of the school. Once all of the students have been despatched to summer camp, she reverts to a T-shirt and trousers, thus reducing any display of femininity. During her battle with Michael, she is attacked and, like the action hero(ine) the object of the gaze is not on her body but on her actions.
  54. 54. In her critique of the action movie, Yvonne Tasker introduced the psychoanalytical term of 'homeovestism' (Tasker, 1993:128-129), defined as a perverse behaviour involving wearing clothes of the same sex. The action hero, male or female, adopts a similar costume, designed to show their body to the best, so that the audience can bear witness to the brutality they receive yet at the same time admire them. Compare the costume worn by Schwarzenegger in Commando or Willis in Die Hard, with that worn by Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight, Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2, and Laurie/Keri during the climax of Halloween: H20.
  55. 55. The costume of the female action hero was also represented by the ‘little black dress', first popularised by Anne Parrillaud in Nikita (Luc Besson, 1990) and the vampire horror film Innocent Blood (John Landis, 1992). Jamie Lee Curtis used this costume for her own action movie role in True Lies (James Cameron, 1994), and this was also used in the publicity poster for Halloween: H20, silhouetted against Michael's mask, though she never wore the costume in the film. In True Lies, for the better part of the narrative she was portrayed as Schwarzenegger’s long-suffering wife and a secretary in a law firm. At first tricked by Bill Paxton –a con man posing as a spy- when she is ‘recruited’ by Schwarzenegger to play at being a spy she converts the dowdy gown she was wearing into the ‘little black dress’ of the female spy. Once in this dress, she is ‘empowered’ to behave as the action heroine, using a gun and fighting with the villainess. However, this being a Schwarzenegger film, once rescued she is restored to the position of passive rather than active form and takes little participation in the remainder of the narrative.
  56. 56. Much as a Schwarzenegger film like True Lies can be assumed to contain action, spectacle and violence, by donning the action hero costume in Halloween: H20 Jamie Lee Curtis is informing us that we should expect much the same. It also confirms that the role of final girl, traditionally that of a victim-hero, is now coded as an action hero. So we should not be surprised that in the last act of Halloween:H20, when the final girl is facing her most desperate time, Laurie/Keri should take the fight to Michael, tracking him down and meting out as much violence to him as she can. The Laurie of Halloween, who was overtly coded as the victim, could never have considered such acts. Indeed, no longer does the original final girl show fear, but in her determined destruction of Michael Myers, the adult Laurie Strode actually relished the experience.
  57. 57. While many of the actors in the low budget slasher horror films of the 1970s and 1980s were unknown at the time the films were made, a strategy both to minimise the cost of the films and to disavow spectator identification with a character coded as a victim, the final girl was often a higher profile actor, for example Linda Blair in Hell Night (Tom de Simone, 1981) or Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. In Curtis’ case, it was her relationship to Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis that secured her the role. Aside from the late nineties regeneration of the genre, the low budget horror films of the 1970s were treated in a similar manner to pornography by mainstream Hollywood and once an actor was established in the genre, they were considered to be suitable only for other horror roles. Jamie Lee Curtis: Scream Queen To Action Heroine A star image is composed of several different ‘media texts’, summarised as ‘promotion, publicity, films, criticism and commentaries’ (Dyer, 1998:60) and these elements position the actress in the audience’s psyche. By coding stars according to the roles that they play, Curtis’ presence in several horror movies during the 1970s and early 1980s ‘connoted strength and power gleaned from her own previous appearances in these films’ (Dika, 1987:91), allowing the film makers to use her image to promote their product. Consequently, unable to secure mainstream roles, Curtis became known as the ‘scream queen’, always appearing as the heroine.
  58. 58. Curtis’ first non-horror role was as the Playboy model Dorothy Stratten in Death of A Centrefold (Gabrielle Beaumont, 1981). Her portrayal led to her receiving the nickname of ‘the body’ and provided her break into the mainstream as the kindly prostitute in the Eddie Murphy comedy vehicle Trading Places (John Landis, 1983). The emphasis on the body in the 1980s was also reflected in culture and society that marked Reaganism, and Curtis’ subsequent role in Perfect (James Bridges, 1985), as an aerobics instructor acts [for]… the aggressive fitness culture which emerged during the decade (McDonald, 1998:182). The positioning of Curtis’ role as ‘the body’ may be seen as re-evaluating the actor for a role in mainstream cinema, in the conventional passive position as the recipient of the male gaze -presenting her as an object to be looked at. While this was very much in evidence in her role in A Fish Called Wanda (Charles Crichton, 1988), as Megan in Blue Steel (1990), director Kathryn Bigelow used her horror star persona to transform Curtis into an action heroine. Cast as a rookie police officer, the film played with both the conventions of the horror genre, in presenting Curtis as an androgynous final girl, using the police uniform to mask her own femininity, and action hero. Providing ‘elements of gender stereotype reversal’ (Powell, 1999:137), Megan was ‘physically strong, prefer*red+ ‘masculine’ attire and behaved transgressively’ (ibid.: 137)
  59. 59. Blue Steel also feminised the character of her partner, Nick (Clancy Brown), who would normally be the male hero –particularly as his previous role was as the macho villain Kurgan in Highlander (Russell Mulcahy, 1988), and Powell has suggested that his film is also transgressive in presenting him as the ‘hero’s sidekick’ (ibid.: 149) a character that is coded as the victim in many cop ‘buddy’ movies. Blue Steel was also notable for its fetishisation of the gun, both in the opening credit sequence and in the use of guns within the narrative. The film challenged the conventional set of associations between guns and images of a specifically masculine power (Tasker, 1993:159) in giving the role to Curtis as Megan. Asked in one scene why she joined the police, she replies: ‘I want to shoot people’ and then moments later performs just this act in foiling a convenience store robbery. However, Megan is also disempowered from her action heroine role within the film, both by the actions of her superiors, who find her position a threat, and by her relationship with the psychotic killer Eugene (Ron Silver) who ultimately rapes her.
  60. 60. The film then becomes in part a rape- revenge narrative, much like I Spit on your Grave (Mier Zarchi, 1977). In her discussion of the rape-revenge film, Clover observes that while the final girl of the slasher film is able to use limited violence, the female heroine of the rape-revenge film ‘proves to be just as vicious as her attackers’ (Clover, 1992:114). Empowered with the police uniform, which she takes from a male police officer, thus reinforcing the androgyny of the character, Megan hunts Eugene, combating violence with more violence. By casting the original final girl as an avenging victim, Bigelow empowers the final girl of the slasher movie to use increased violence, a scenario played out more fully in the slasher films of the 1990s. While director James Cameron is known for promoting strong women in his films, Curtis’ role in much of the narrative of True Lies reinforced traditional gender roles, placing her as the wife to the super spy Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who ‘may now work, but… still bakes birthday cakes and has supper ready on time’ (Arroyo, 1994:27). This is most likely because this is an action vehicle for Schwarzenegger, made at a time when that actor was re-evaluating his own position in the industry following the relative failure of The Last Action Hero (John McTiernan, 1993) and keen to work with a director with which he enjoyed considerable success as the cyborg terminator.
  61. 61. While at the time, True Lies was condemned for a scene in which Curtis is interrogated by Schwarzenegger and his partner, played by Tom Arnold, about whether she was being faithful or not, this scene allowed Curtis to assert her own action heroine credentials. Until this point, Curtis’ role is one of a wide-eyed innocent, reflecting her earlier final girl roles – Laurie Strode could well have grown up to become Helen Tasker, if she had not met Michael Myers. As the subject both of the spectator and of Schwarzenegger through the two-way mirror, Curtis’ gaze is reduced to that of her own reflection –until she takes matters into her own hands and smashes the mirror, fragmenting her own image. From this point on, Curtis is empowered as an action heroine, transforming herself into a spy and in one scene into ‘the body’ when performing an erotic dance (although as the subject of the male gaze in the form of the audience and Schwarzenegger). As the action heroine she is able to fight with and ultimately defeat the villainess, though once rescued by Schwarzenegger she reverts to the passive feminine form, following behind her ‘husband’ as he kills the stereotypical Middle Eastern terrorists and providing no active participation in the flow of the narrative.
  62. 62. While Curtis’ role, in Virus (John Bruno,1998) was the first to attempt to place her overtly in the action hero mould, she commented that she ‘never wanted to be Sigourney Weaver in Aliens’ (Curtis quoted in Shapiro, 1998:36), and the character was a flawed hero, unable to survive on her own merits, only with the assistance of colleagues who sacrificed themselves for her. However, in her role as Keri/Laurie for Halloween:H20, Curtis wanted to show that, unlike a lot of horror movie [characters], Laurie could not confront the terror of Michael Myers and move on to a normal life (Curtis quoted in Shapiro, 1998:35), reflecting the observation by Dika that although the final girl has defeated the killer they are no longer ‘free’ from the horror that they encountered (Dika, 1987:94-95). Taking credit for the inception of the project, originally a vehicle for John Carpenter to direct, Curtis explained in an interview that ‘Laurie, 20 years later, has a lot of vitality’, and reinforces her action heroine credentials when she ‘makes a conscious choice not to run anymore’ (Curtis quoted in Shapiro, 1998:37).
  63. 63. Conclusion In a constant state of development, the horror genre has internalised its monster into the psychotic killer, combining this with the supernatural and monstrous threats of its classical and invasion periods, and brought the threat into the community and the home. During the 1980s the genre went in two directions; providing more of the same –in relation to repeating the genre conventions of its predecessors- and also into the mainstream, combining with other genres, such as science fiction and the action cinema, to give a final girl with muscle, no longer a victim but almost a monster. While feminist writers such as Creed and Clover posit that the final girl is a female victim-hero who suffers abject terror before being able to vanquish the killer that is tracking her, I have shown that a simplistic binaristic evaluation of the change in the character of the final girl –an oscillation between feminine and masculine- is not enough to explain change both in the character of the final girl nor the development of the horror genre. In proposing such an argument, feminist writers have denied that the horror film has adapted to the changes in popular culture and society, borrowing from and influencing mainstream Hollywood in the development of the female action heroine. Rather, in ‘becoming’ a vehicle for action, the action heroine has experimented with the opportunities available to adapt to ‘new mode*s+ of thinking and acting’ (Hills, 1999:47).
  64. 64. Bibliography Arroyo, Jose, ‘Cameron and the Comic’, Sight and Sound (September 1994) Balio, Tino, Grand Design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Enterprise 1930-1939, (Maxwell Macmillan International, 1993) Britton, Andrew, Lippe, Richard, Williams, Tony and Wood, Robin, American Nightmares: Essays on the Horror Film (Festival of Festivals, 1979) Clover, Carol. Men, Women, and Chainsaws. (BFI Publishing, 1992) Delueze, Gilles, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, translated by Tomlinson and Galeta, (The Althone Press, 1989) Dika, Vera’ ‘The Stalker Film 1978-81,’ in Waller (ed.), American Horrors: Essays on the Modern American Horror Film, (University of Illinois Press, 1987) Dyer, Richard, Stars, (British Film Institute, New Edition 1998) Ellis, John. Visible Fictions. (Routledge, 1982) Flanagan, Martin, ‘The Alien Series and Generic Hybridity’ in Cartmell, Hunter, Kaye and Whelehan (eds.), Alien Identities: Exploring Differences in Film and Fiction, (Pluto Press, 1999) Grant, Barry Keith (ed.) ,Film Genre Reader, (University of Texas Press, 1986) Halberstam, Judith, Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and The Technology of Monsters, (Duke University Press, 1995) Hills, Elizabeth, ‘From ‘Figurative Males’ to Action Heroines: Further Thoughts on Active Women in The Cinema’ in Screen, (Spring 1999) 40:1
  65. 65. Iaccino, James F., Psychological Reflections on Cinemmatic Terror: Jungian Archetypes in Horror Films, (Praeger, 1994) Jancovich, Mark, Horror, (B.T. Batsford Ltd., 1992) Jancovich, Mark, ‘Modernity and Subjectivity in The Terminator: The Machine as Monster in Contemporary American Culture’, The Velvet Light Trap, 1992b: 30 Jancovich, Mark, Rational Fears: American Horror in the 1950s, (Manchester University Press, 1996) Jennings, Ros, ‘Desire and Design: Ripley Undressed’, in Wilton (ed.), Immortal Invisible: Lesbians and The Moving Image, (Routledge, 1995) Jeffords, Susan, ‘Can Masculinity Be Terminated?’ in Cohan and Hark (eds.), Screening The Male: Exploring Masculinities in Hollywood Cinema, (Routledge, 1993) Jeffords, Susan, Hard Bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in The Reagan Era, (Rutgers University Press, 1994) Kolker, Robert, Film, form and culture, (McGraw-Hill College, 1999) Linton, Patricia, ‘Aliens, (M)Others, Cyborgs: The Emerging Ideology of Hybridity,’ in Cartmell, Hunter, Kaye and Whelehan (eds.), Alien Identities: Exploring Differences in Film and Fiction, (Pluto Press, 1999) McDonald, Paul, ‘Reconceptualising Stardom’, supplementary chapter in Dyer, Stars, (British Film Institute, New Edition 1998)
  66. 66. Mulvey, Laura, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema", in Film Theory and Criticism, Ed by Mast, Cohen and Braudy, (Oxford University Press, 1992). Mulvey, Laura, ‘Afterthoughts on "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" inspired by Duel in the Sun’, in Kaplan (ed.), Psychoanalysis & Cinema, (American Film Institute, 1990) pp. 24-35 Neale, Stephen. Genre, (BFI Publishing, 1980.) Neale, Steve, ‘Halloween: Suspense, Aggression and The Look’, in Grant (ed.) Planks of Reason: Essays on the Horror Film, (The Scarecrow Press, 1984) Neale, Stephen, ‘Questions of Genre’, Screen, (Spring 1990) 31:1 Neale, Stephen, ‘Masculinity as Spectacle’ in Cohan and Hark (eds.), Screening the Male: Exploring Masculinity in Hollywood Cinema (Routledge, 1993) Neale, Steve, Hollywood and Genre, (Routledge, 2000) Newman, Kim, Nightmare Movies: A Critical History of the Horror Movie from 1968, (Bloomsbury Publishing, 1988) Newton, Judith, ‘Feminism and Anxiety in Alien’ in Kuhn (ed.), Alien Zone: Cultural Theory and Contemporary Science Fiction, (Verso, 1990) Pinedo, Isabel Cristina, Recreational Terror: Women and the Pleasures of Horror Film Viewing (State University of New York Press, 1997) Powell, Anna, ‘Blood on the Borders –Near Dark and Blue Steel’ in Screen, (Summer 1994) 35:2
  67. 67. Rodowick, D.N., Gilles Deleuze’s Time Machine, (Duke University Press, 1997) Sconce, Jeffrey, ‘Spectacles of Death: Identification, Reflexivity, and Contemporary Horror, in Collins, Radner and Collins (eds.), Film Theory Goes To The Movies, (Routledge, 1993) Shapiro, Marc, ‘Halloween Heroine’, Fangoria (October 1988, number 177) Sharrett, Christopher, ‘The Idea of Apocalypse in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’, in Grant (ed.) Planks of Reason: Essays on the Horror Film, (The Scarecrow Press, 1984) Smith, Don G., ‘Women: From Female Scientists in the Fifties to Chainsaw Left- Over’s in the Seventies’, in Svehla and Svehla (eds.), Bitches, Bimbos and Virgins: Women in the Horror Film, (Midnight Marquee Press, 1996) Tasker, Yvonne, Spectacular Bodies: New Hollywood, Genre and the Action Cinema, (Routledge, 1993) Thompson, Kristin, Eisenstein’s Ivan The Terrible: A Neoformalist Analysis, (Princeton University Press, 1981) Tudor, Andrew, Monsters and Mad Scientists: A Cultural History of the Horror Movie, (Blackwell, 1989) Walker, John (Ed.). Halliwell's Film and Video Guide 1999, (HarperCollins, 1998). Williams, Linda, ‘When The Woman Looks’, in Doane, Mellencamp and Williams (eds.), Revision: Essays in Feminist Film Criticism, University Publications of America/AFI, 1983)
  68. 68. Filmography p.c.: production company, p.: producer, d.: director sc: screenplay, l.p.: leading players Alien GB, 1979 p.c.: TCF/Brandywine; p.: Walter Hill, Gordon Carroll, David Giler; d.: Ridley Scott; sc: Dan O’Bannon; l.p.: Tom Skerrit, Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto. 117 min. Aliens US, 1986 p.c.: TCF/Brandywine; p.: Gale Ann Hurd; d.: James Cameron; sc: James Cameron, Walter Hill, David Giler; l.p.: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Jeanette Goldstein. 137 min. Alien3 US, 1992 p.c.: TCF/Brandywine; p.: Walter Hill, Gordon Carroll, David Giler; d.: David Fincher; sc: David Giler, Walter Hill, Larry Ferguson; l.p.: Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, Paul McGann, Lance Henriksen. 115 min. Alien Resurrection US, 1997 p.c.: TCF/Brandywine; p.: Bill Badalato, Walter Hill, Gordon Carroll, David Giler; d.: Jean-Pierre Jeunet; sc: Joss Whedon; l.p.: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Ron Perlman, Dominique Pinon, Michael Wincott, Brad Dourif. 108 min.
  69. 69. Black Christmas Canada, 1975 p.c.: EMI/Film Funding/Vision IV; p.,d.: Bob Clark; sc: Roy Moore; l.p.: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon. 97 min. Commando US, 1985 p.c.: TCF; p.: Joel Silver; d.: Mark L. Lester; sc: Steven deSouza; l.p.: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, Dan Hedaya, Vernon Wells. 88 min. Die Hard US, 1988 p.c.: Fox/Gordon Company/Silver Pictures; p.: Lawrence Gordon, Joel Silver; d.: John McTiernan; sc: Jeb Stuart, Steven E. deSouza; l.p.: Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, Alan Rickman, Alexander Gudunov. 132 min. Friday the 13th US, 1980) p.c.: Georgetown; p.,d.: Sean S. Cunningham; sc: Victor Miller; l.p.: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor. 95 min. Halloween US, 1978 p.c.: Falcon International; p.: Irwin Yablans; d.: John Carpenter; sc: John Carpenter, Debra Hill; l.p.: Donald Pleasance, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Loomis. 91 min. Halloween 2 US, 1981 p.c.: Dino de Laurentiis; p.: John Carpenter, Debra Hill; d.: Rick Rosenthal; sc: John Carpenter, Debra Hill; l.p.: Donald Pleasance, Jamie Lee Curtis, Charles Cyphers, Jeffrey Kramer. 92 min.
  70. 70. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers US, 1988 p.c.: Fox/Trancas International/Halloween 4 Partnership; p.: Paul Freeman; d.: Dwight H. Little; sc: Alan B. McElroy; l.p.: Donald Pleasance, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris, George P. Wilber. 88 min. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers US, 1989 p.c.: Magnum; p.: Ramsay Thomas; d.: Dominique Othen-Girard; sc: Michael Jacobs, Dominique Othen-Girard, Shem Bitterman; l.p.: Donald Pleasance, Danielle Harris, Wendy Kaplan, Ellie Cornell. 96 min. Halloween:H20 US, 1998 p.c.: Dimension Films/Moustapha Akkad; p.: Paul Freeman; d.: Steve Miner; sc: Robert Zappa, Matt Greenberg; l.p.: Jamie Lee Curtis, Adam Arkin, Michelle Williams, Janet Leigh, Josh Hartnett, L.L. Cool J. 86 min. I Spit on your Grave US 1977 p.c.: Cinemagic Pictures; p.: Mier Zarchi, Joseph Zbeda; d.,sc: Mier Zarchi; l.p.: Camille Keaton, Eron Tabor, Richard Pace, Gunter Kleeman. 100 min. Innocent Blood US, 1992 p.c.: Warner; p.: Lee Rich, Leslie Belxberg; d.: John Landis; sc: Michael Wolk; l.p.: Anne Parillaud, Robert Loggia, Anthony LaPaglia, Don Rickles. 113 min. The Long Kiss Goodnight US, 1996 p.c.: Entertainment/New Line/Forge/Steve Tisch; p.: Renny Harlin, Stephanie Austin, Shane Black; d.: Renny Harlin; sc: Shane Black; l.p.: Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Craig Bierko, Ptrick Malahide, Brian Cox, David Morse. 120 min.
  71. 71. Mother’s Boys US, 1994 p.c.: Miramax/CBS; p.: Jack E. Freedman, Wayne S. Williams, Patricia Herskovic; d.: Yves Simoneu; sc: Barry Schneider, Richard Hawley; l.p.: Jamie Lee Curtis, Peter Gallafher, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, Joss Ackland. 95 min. A Nightmare on Elm Street US, 1984 p.c.: New Line/Media/Smart Egg/Elm Street Venture; p.: Robert Shaye; d.,sc: Wes Craven; l.p.: John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Johnny Depp. 91 min. Nikita France/Italy, 1990 p.c.: Palace/Gaumont/Cecci/Tiger; p.: Jérôme Chalou; d.,sc: Luc Besson; l.p.: Anne Parillaud, Jean-Hughes Anglade, Tcheky Karyo. 117 min. Peeping Tom GB, 1960 p.c.: Anglo Amalgamated; p.,d.: Michael Powell; sc: Leo Marks; l.p.: Carl Boehm, Moira Shearer, Anna Massey, Shirley Ann Field. 109 min. Predator US, 1987 p.c.: TCF; p.: Lawrence Gordon, Joel Silver, John Davis; d.: John McTiernan; sc: Jim and John Thomas; l.p.: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Elpidia Carrillo, Jesse Ventura. 107 min. Psycho US, 1960) p.c.: Shamley; p.,d.: Alfred Hitchcock; sc: Joseph Stephano; l.p.: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Janet Leigh. 109 min.
  72. 72. Scream US, 1996 p.c.: Buena Vista/Miramax/Dimension; p.: Cary Woods, Cathy Conrad; d.: Wes Craven; sc: Kevin Williamson; l.p.: Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Courtney Cox, Rose McGowan, David Arquette. 110 min. Scream 2 US, 1997 p.c.: Miramax/Dimension/Konrad; p.: Cathy Conrad, Marianne Maddelena; d.: Wes Craven; sc: Kevin Williamson; l.p.: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jamie Kennedy, Laurie Metcalf. 120 min. The Slumber Party Massacre US, 1982 p.c.: Santa Fe Productions; p.,d.: Amy Holden Jones; sc: Rita Mae Brown; l.p.: Michele Michaels, Robin Stille, Andre Honore, Michael Villela. 76 min. The Stepfather US, 1987 p.c.: Vista/New World; p.: Jay Benson; d.: Joseph Ruben; sc: Donald E. Westlake; l.p.: Teryy O’Quinn, Jill Schoelen, Shelley Hack, Charles Lanyer. 88 min. Strange Days US, 1995 p.c.: UIP/Lightstorm; p.: James Cameron, Steven-Charles Jaffe; d.: Kathryn Bigelow; sc: James Cameron, Jay Cocks; l.p.: Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliet Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott. 145 min. Texas Chain Saw Massacre US, 1973 p.c.: Vortex; p.,d.: Tobe Hooper; sc: Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper; l.p.: Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Gunnar Hansen, William Vail. 81 min.
  73. 73. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 US, 1986 p.c.: Cannon; p.: Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus; d.: Tobe Hooper; sc: L.M. Kit Carson; l.p.: Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Bill Johnson. 95 min. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation US, 1995 p.c.: Ultra Muchos, River City Films; p.: Robert J. Kuhn, Kim Henkel; d.,sc: Kim Henkel; l.p.: Renee Zellweger, Matthew McConaughey, Tony Perenski, Robert Jacks, Lisa Newmeyer. 94 min. The Terminator US, 1984 p.c.: Orion/Hemdale/Pacific Western; p.: Gale Ann Hurd; d.: James Cameron; sc: James Cameron, Gale Ann Hurd; l.p.: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen. 108 min. Terminator 2: Judgement Day US, 1991 p.c.: Guild/Carolco/Pacific Western/Lightstorm; p.,d.: James Cameron; sc: James Cameron, William Wisher; l.p.: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick, Jeanette Goldstein. 135 min. True Lies US, 1994 p.c.: TCF/Lightstorm; p.: James Cameron, Stephanie Austin; d.,sc: James Cameron; l.p.: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton, Art Malick, Tia Carrere, Charlton Heston. 141 min. Virus US, 1998 p.c.: Universal/Mutual Film Company; p.: Gale Anne Hurd; d.: John Bruno; sc: Chuck Pfarrer, Dennis Feldman; l.p.: Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, Joanna Pacula, Marshall Bell. 100 min.

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