Night of the Living Dead
Check out all of the posts for our The Terror of Little Girls Theme Week here.
The crumbling cement in this relationship is the injured little girl lying on the table downstairs. Her parents are united only on the question of her safety. Unsurprisingly, Karen has no voice or agency of her own. The adults perceive her as entirely helpless— “Maybe it’s shock,” her mother says of her condition. “She can’t possibly take all the racket…”
Horror films hold a mirror up to these ideals, distorting the images and terrifying viewers in the process. The terror that society feels while looking at these little girls echoes the terror it feels when confronted with changing gender norms and female power.
The films that depict terrifying little girls are acting out the deep-seated fear of the loss of our culture’s goodness and purity, virginity and innocence. There’s also a collective discomfort surrounding the fact that little girls become women, and that womanhood is unpredictable and uncontrollable. Little girls in films like ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘The Bad Seed’ embody a premature, preternatural womanhood that is powerful, sexual, and taboo.
Check out all of the Women & Gender in Cult Films & B-Movies Theme Week posts here!
Birth of the Living Dead is Rob Kuhns’ documentary of the making of George Romero’s 1968 cult horror genre game-changer Night of the Living Dead. Bitch Flicks writers Max Thornton and Amanda Rodriguez discuss both the documentary (BOTLD) and the original film itself (NOTLD).
In terms of gender representations, both men and women are shown as the worst possible version of themselves. Barbra swings back and forth from being near catatonic and unable to communicate, to wild and hysterical. Ben even slaps her at one point to get her to snap out of her state. She is weak and unable to deal with the emotions of seeing her brother attacked. Barbra would have already been killed and reanimated were it not for the über masculine Ben to save her from the perils that lie outside.
Horror films have a long-standing tradition of commenting on the social fears and anxieties of their time. Another universally recognized truth of horror is that scary children are terrifying–especially little girls. While an analysis of “creepy children” in horror films usually proclaims that they are providing commentary on a loss of innocence, and it would […]
I spent my teen years hopelessly addicted to zombie movies. No matter how poorly made, no matter how artistically worthless, no matter how nasty and exploitative, if the movie had zombies in it, I would watch. The first thing I bought with the first paycheck from my first job at seventeen was Jamie Russell’s Book […]