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Gender in the Modern Horror Film

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Horror movies have been part of mainstream cinema since the early 1930s when films such as Dracula and Frankenstein were created. As the horror genre evolved, so did the stories in the films. Friday the 13th (Marcus Nipsel, 2009) is a very good example of this evolution. Even though it is a remake, Friday the 13th changed the way horror movies were seen by the audience. The ideas and theory behind this slasher sub-genre of horror films can be summed up in a book. Carol Clover, an American professor of film studies, wrote a book in 1992 entitled Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film in which she described the horror film genre. In a chapter entitled “Her Body, Himself”, Clover describes how weapons play a very important role in horror movies as well as explaining her Final Girl theory. Her book’s ideas changed not only academic notions but also popular beliefs on horror films. The 2009 remake of Friday the 13th implies that Carol Clover’s ideas about 80s slasher films, including male tormentors, the importance of weapons, and the Final Girl, have stayed the same through the years.

Out of most horror films, especially those of the slasher sub-genre, the killer is usually male. As said by Clover, “Female killers are few and their reasons for killing significantly different from men’s” (29). In Friday the 13th (2009), the killer, Jason, is male. He follows the typical slasher killer that Clover describes in her book. Though most Friday the 13th movies have Jason as the killer, in Friday the 13th I, the killer is Jason’s mother. In actuality, most slasher horror films have a male tormentor as the killer. Also, as stated by Clover, the killer is usually one who psychotic, previously been sexually abused, or one th...

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... is luckier, smarter, faster, or stronger than everyone else who is killed. The Final Girl is also picked out of the larger group of victim’s minutes into the film. Also, tying into the idea that the ones killed were either sexually active, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, or all three, the Final Girl does none of those things. As said before, however, Friday the 13th (2009) instead has a final boy (Clay). Though it is not a girl, the idea is still the same.

Overall, Friday the 13th (Marcus Nipsel, 2009) is a typical slasher film according to Carol Clovers book Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. With the male antagonist killer, the Final Girl, and the use of weapons and killing styles, the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th suggests that Carol Clover’s ideas about slasher films have stayed the same throughout the years of horror slasher films.
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