The only character that is developed and is present from the beginning to the end of the narrative is the Final Girl. We understand immediately from the attention paid it that hers is the main story line. When she experiences those “looking death right in the face moments” she become the undisputed “I” and makes the viewer relate to those tense moments they have faced. L-camera represents the killer’s POV. We see through his eyes, hear his breathing and heartbeat. These moments are usually few and brief, but striking. In these moments, his and our vision are usually obscured by some obstruction. By such means, the viewers are forced to identify with the killer. POV=identification. We are usually forced to identify with the killer in the beginning before we have seen him directly because the Final Girl has yet to appear/disclose any detail to the viewer. As the Final Girl appears, our identification shifts towards her and wanes from him. Psychoanalytic model: the threat function and the victim function coexist in the same unconscious, regardless of anatomical sex. But why are the screen sexes not interchangeable if the viewers can identify across the gender lines? Why not more and better female killers? Why not Paul’s as well as Pauline’s? Past v. Present The Final Girl is what the killer once was; he is what she could become should she fail in her batter for sexual selfhood. The final girl is a congenial double for the adolescent male. She is feminine enough to act out in a gratifying way but not so feminine as to disturb the structures of male competence. The question arises whether the Final Girl of slasher films are not boyish for the same reason that female “victims” in Victorian flagellation literature are boyish: because they’re transformed males. Flagellation- flogging or beating, either as a religious discipline or for sexual gratification. When viewing a slasher film: audience of Psycho is to Hitchcock (director). As the movie (Hitchcock) tortures the women, this means that it also tortures the audience. What if we define the Final Girl as nothing more than a figurative male, what do we then make of the context of the spectacular gender play in which she emphatically situated? Common theme of all slasher movies in some character, typically the killer: what would it be like to be, or to seem to be, if only temporarily, a woman? When cross dressing, according to Dustin Hoffman’s character, is that the man is not a powerless man, but a phallic woman.
CRUCIAL POINT: the final girl (1) undergoes agonizing trials, and (2) virtually or actually destroys the antagonist and saves herself. By the lights of folk tradition, she isn’t a heroine, for whom phase 1 consists in being saved by someone else, but a hero, who rises to the occasion and defeats the adversary with his own wit and hands. Those who save themselves are male, those who are saved by others are female.
- Spring '14
- Horror film, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Slasher film, slasher films