Saturday, March 26, 2011

Talking about Sucker Punch

Mainly the fact that Sucker Punch was hideous, and Zack Snyder has a thing about rape that makes Frank Miller's thing about prostitutes look downright classy.

But there was a point in cinema, particularly horror, in which rape was viewed as a bad thing.  Rape/revenge films made a lot of money in the 1970s and early 1980s.

The only rape/revenge films that I see making money in the 2000s are either remakes (the pretty good Last House on the Left), or are films made to deliberately made to fit a 70s exploitation aesthetic which, ironically, is more socially just than films made to fit current priorities (the excellent Death Proof, which I urge everyone to watch, both for the fact that it's a damned engaging movie on its own merits and then also because Tarantino is actually saying a lot of tremendously cogent things about rape and rape culture that he manages to slide past without outright acknowledging, the very best way to teach).  I am alternately optimistic and wary about the upcoming I Spit on Your Grave remake, because there is little way that this particular film can be made without stating outright that rape is among the worst things you can do to a person without murdering them that doesn't dismantle the whole damned thing.

I have a lot of ~thoughts~ about the horror genre, both as a fan and from the bygone days in which I was actually an academic.  I laugh in the face of anyone who says that genre fiction cannot also speak to the human condition; good lord, I know it's cliched, but who did Shakespeare speak to if not the groundlings?  Rape/revenge films were big on the second wave of feminism because people were talking about such things, and they were acknowledging that they were wrong.  Part of the reason that I am a fan of horror as a genre and "genre" as a genre is because so few people take it seriously that you can slide all kinds of lovely, subversive details in there without anyone noticing.  Criticism becomes irrelevant in the vacuum in which no one gives a damn from the outset, and instead you are touching the very freakin' heart of what concerns a culture at that moment.  

In this culture within the USA, right now, rape/revenge films are irrelevant.  Rape films, as Snyder as proved three times now, make money.

This bothers me, guys and gals.  This bothers me a lot.

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