Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Laughing at horror movies
Using the "whatever's playing next" method of choosing what movie you see is dangerous, but sometimes its your only choice. When one of your best friends (or, as far as they know, one of your boyfriend's best friends) is a biomedical physicist at a local hospital, and her boyfriend is an intern there, it's not like they can always leave on time. So, once again, Kurt and I met at The Place and had a few drinks while waiting for Wei and Jim.
We talked about baseball, me arguing that the Sox's first World Series victory since 1918 would be tainted if they won this year, since they couldn't even win their own division, him being wrong. We talked about our weekends, each leaving certain details out. I teased him about the cute new guy who just started at BioSoft that day, saying that I might really notice how cute he is if I didn't get a little more attention. Mostly kidding, and I doubt he could guess I knew about him and Denise, but a little pressure doesn't hurt.
By the time the hospital crowd got to the bar and had a a drink of their own, it was eight, and by the time we reached the theater, the next movie was Cabin Fever.
I am completely incapable of saying whether or not it was a good movie. After a twenty-minute deluge of horror trailers (but no Kill Bill; the best part of seeing a movie the last couple months is the Kill Bill trailer), it started, and you could see this Eli Roth fellow was eager to be the next Sam Raimi, but he didn't have a Bruce Campbell to star in his movie. He also had trouble writing sentences that didn't involve the word "fuck"; the dialogue, as you might imagine, got pretty monotonous.
Eventually, the kids get to the cabin in the woods, and within a minute of getting in the door, the Smug Guy and the Girl With Big Tits are getting it on. And I start laughing.
Now, about half the people in the theater were laughing, in a sort of post-modern way - "appreciating" the conventions of the genre or cliches, whichever you feel they are. And I'm feeling some of that, but also... Well, you know.
Somewhere on the Internet, there's probably a "find your horror movie stock character" page. Are you the Smug Guy, who thinks he knows everything and is dispatched in a bitterly ironic way? The Sweet Virgin, who screams well and maybe shows how tough she really is by the end, which she survives because the moral message of every horror movie since Halloween rewards chastity? The Sacrificial Lamb, who really isn't close to everybody else but whose death is a warning?
Me, I'd always figured I was the Loveable Wiseass. In more recent horror movies, he knows all the horror movie rules, but he generally fights evil with vicious sarcasm, sometimes showing unexpected inner reserves. Survival rate is around 50%. But now, clearly, I don't fit that role any more.
And that's why I was laughing. Once I'd laughed much longer than anyone else, Kurt leaned over and whispered in my ear, asking what was so funny. I guess I'd had a little to drink, because I told him (in pretty much these exact words) that I'd never looked at one of these movies from the Girl With Big Tits's point of view. He didn't know what to say, and I told him to just imagine that you knew the person on screen who most resembles you was going to die, but only after she'd boned one of her co-stars and had to run through the woods bare-breasted? But it was okay, because she was really just someone else's plaything and wasn't smart enough to help the rest survive?
If I'd been born into this body, horror movies would probably really piss me off. But the fact that most of these movies are made by men, who see girls like, well, me, in this way... It's just absurd. How would the typical horror movie screenwriter do things differently if he had to walk in my heels for a while? Would he make sure the Girl With Big Tits was a better character after he switched back, or would he be so bitter that he makes her suffer more?
To be fair, the GWBT was pretty capable in this movie, but the amount of skin shown by the women versus the men... Nutty. I know other people have spotted the gender stereotypes in horror movies before, but only from one perspective.
After the movie got out, Wei asked what was so funny, and maybe I was sobering up or something, but I figured I had probably said too much before.
Kurt, of course, stepped in. "Apparently, Michelle here has never identified with the, um, girl with the, er, pneumatic figure before."
Jim apparently tended to doubt it, but Wei got an impish look in her eyes. "So, what are you trying to tell us? You had some work done?"
"Trust me," I told her, "they're work, as in work to lug around." I probably wouldn't have said anything if I hadn't known Wei for years, and that she wasn't terribly sensitive about her size.
I told Kurt I was feeling pretty silly and had better head home to bed. He looked disappointed, but kissed me and sent me on my way.
Of course, once I got into bed, I couldn't sleep, wondering if maybe Michelle had had some work done. I gave them some squeezing, but how would I know what fake boobs felt like? Every girl I'd ever slept with was (as far as I knew) 100% natural. I didn't feel anything floating around.
Not that it matters. Even if they aren't "real", they're certainly not imaginary.
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