We don’t have direct evidence of how Jennifer or Needy would describe their sexual orientations, but ‘Jennifer’s Body’ works as a depiction of the relationship between two young bisexual women. If nothing else, it subverts expectations around gender and sexuality in horror films. … Even when Jennifer and Needy resort to physical violence with each other, their conflict has an erotic, and even romantic, subtext.
‘Sisters’ displays an early concern with women’s liberation in mainstream American film (De Palma’s collaborator on the screenplay was Louisa Rose). Many of the film’s social complaints remain liberal talking points today: that police can be motivated by racism, that the legal institution can subject women to excessive scrutiny, and that the medical-psychiatric institution remains patriarchal and sexist in its diagnosing and treatment of women. Yet the film’s intersections with disability are more complicated.
But there’s also a darker side to sisterhood, where rivalries take violent turns and where bonds are almost too strong, superseding everything else including reality. When sisters are pushed to the extremes, when women don’t meet society’s expectations, what does this tell us about the constraints on women to conform to idealized versions of femininity and sisterhood? Are bad sisters just failures or are they simply women with complicated narratives that a patriarchal society doesn’t allow room for?
So what makes sisters such fascinating subject matter for horror films? What makes them both scary and powerful, yet the most vulnerable, both to outside forces as well as to each other when they are threatened? … Sisters can behave as a single entity and fight for the same things, but there are two bodies — two physical forces — to reckon with.
But more and more it seems you can judge the quality of modern adaptations on how the filmmakers view Lizzie in relation to her sisters. Even though the representation of women has greatly expanded since Austen’s time, a story that revolves mostly around sisterly relationships remains rare, which makes it even more vital. And while it is true that Austen’s romance has a timeless quality that makes it popular, the narrative of sisterly love remains transcendent.
‘The Neon Demon’ brings to light the dual narcissism of our culture: the simultaneous, reciprocal reality created when consumers come into contact with images. The images exist so long as we look at them, and all Refn has done is reify our culture’s unhealthy obsession… I’m glad for ‘The Neon Demon,’ because it solidifies something that was already there: a hundred ornate mirrors reflecting back a society complicit in rape culture.
While the happily ever after scenario in these 1950s B-movies comes with an expectation that women give up their careers in science to become wives and mothers once the appropriate suitor is identified, it seems there are women in B-movies who do have it all — they maintain the respect afforded to them as scientists and also win romantic partners, without having to sacrifice their professional interests to assume domestic roles instead.
…’Splice’ could very well be a cautionary tale for the career woman considering motherhood. From the outset, the film shows Elsa as an ambitious scientist who loves her job – and who loves her life exactly the way it is. … This presents the central conflict of Elsa’s character: her repressed desire to be a mother, and her larger desire to remain in control of her own life, body, and career.
In movies and on television, the absence of Black women as scientists is glaringly obvious. …The response on social media to the vocation of Leslie Jones’ character in ‘Ghostbusters’ offers an opportunity to ponder: When have Black women been cast as scientists in laboratories, creating and inventing significant and outlandish developments, and leading investigations? …Where are the Black women playing scientists in films in the 21st century?
However, I do thoroughly enjoy and sometimes defend 80s horror and the Black (female) characters I can find, but it’s crucial to examine the narrow confines of their characterization. …The 80s opened up a dialogue about where Black women’s place was not only in society, but in horror.
Before watching the movie with a more critical lens, I reminisced that these strong female characters drove the community response to crisis as they began to interact and even came to depend on each other. … It seems like ‘The Fog’ exposes the idea that strong women can’t have any meaningful relationships that might endure and even help them survive and understand themselves better through tough times.
Stephanie emerges as a poised, perspicacious, and resilient female lead. She is a wonderfully surprising alternative from most of the panoply of horror heroines who are tortured, fight, and scream their way through the terrifying films of the 80s. … Stephanie embodies what each of the archetypally male characters in the film fails to, and in doing so transcends the clutches of gender expectations in the film…