When tracking the mean-spirited nature of anti-choice activists, it helps to develop a dark sense of humor. It’s the only real protection against despairing at how actual human beings can let their misogyny erode away any empathy they might feel towards female human beings.
For one’s mental health, I suggest choosing some times to laugh instead of cry at the stupidity of openly suggesting, for instance, that rape isn’t that bad. Which is why I’m laughing in astonishment that right-wing nut Kenneth Del Vecchio has created a horror film about an old man who kidnaps women seeking abortion (who are all apparently white, nubile, childless and unmarried) and forces them to have the babies against their will. The press release promises a “twist,” which I think is easily predictable. While most torture porn flicks like “Saw” are ugly and misogynist, they rarely suggest, as far as I know, that we should admire the men who kidnap and torture women for the “crime” of being sexy, or that young women being kidnapped and tortured are grateful for their punishment. But I’m guessing the “twist” here is a series of young women tearfully thanking their captor for forcing them to give birth against their wills. Just a guess.
Which made me think: why stop at abortion? If this movie is a success, then it opens up a whole avenue of possible horror films where usual conventions of horror movies are turned on their head to promote right wing ideology. Some suggestions:
“The Abstinence Killer.” Most horror films have the last girl responding to a serial killer wiping out her friends by either fleeing from him, or killing him in self-defense. But in this movie, the heroine goes to the chewing gum section of her abstinence-only class and realizes something the police don’t understand. The killer isn’t a bad guy, after all! It turns out he’s only targeting sexually-active girls, and, as she learned in abstinence-only, those girls are un-marriageable and have no more value than chewed up wads of gum. The film ends with our virginal heroine helping the killer escape the police, so he can rid another town of the evils of fornication.
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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Remake: “The Stepford Wives.” In this remake of the 1975 classic horror film, the surprise twist at the end isn’t that the men of Stepford are killing their wives and replacing them with robots. You already knew that! No, in this version, the last scene shows the ghosts of the murdered wives coming back and thanking their husbands for killing them and replacing them with robots. “I was a poor help-meet,” our heroine will say in her ghostly form. “Thank you for giving yourself the marriage a man like you deserves.”
“The Smoldering Bed.” A rebuke to the 1984 film which sympathetically portrayed a woman who is driven to kill her abusive husband because she has no other way to escape his violence. In this movie, we start off by believing the screaming wife-beater is a bad guy, but then our heroine realizes it was actually her fault all along. She was a smart mouth! She did burn dinner. After our heroine shuts up and starts cooking better, she finds that the beatings stop and the hot sex—but never with contraception, you sinners!—begins.
“Another Exorcist.” The original movie, “The Exorcist”, was already a classic any sex-phobic right winger could love: a young girl brings Satan on herself by having the nerve to be pubescent, and is only saved by the hard work of a celibate priest who renounces the pro-science ways of the modern world. In this sequel, we see young Regan all grown up, and living a life of Catholic perfection out of gratitude for the priest sacrificing to save her. She’s married, has about 15 children, and spends her days singing in the kitchen, never giving a thought to having an independent life. Then, one day, Regan lingers briefly over the condom display in the grocery store, and we realize right then that she’s having a brief fantasy of what it would be like to have sex without getting pregnant. It’s only for a moment, but this bit of sin allows Satan to re-enter Regan’s body, causing another exorcist to be called, and another series of horrors inflicted on the rebellious body of our would-be Jezebel heroine.
Remake: “I Spit On Your Grave.” The 1978 rape revenge film showed a brutal gang rape and then showed the victim hunting down and killing her attackers one by one. There is no kind of unladylike behavior like that going on here. The new movie starts off seeming like a horror movie, brutal gang rape and all, but then it morphs into a romantic comedy. After the rape, our heroine begins to worry that with a past like hers, she’s never going to get married. So she hunts down each rapist, to see if he’s man enough to make an honest woman out of a woman whose virginity he brutally stole. Hi-jinks ensue, but in the end one of the rapists agrees to marry our heroine. In one more twist to the happy ending, we find out that our heroine is pregnant from the gang rape, and our noble rapist-turned-knight-in-shining-armor says, “Even if the baby turns out to be someone else’s, I’ll raise him like my own.” The swooning you hear says $100 million box office payoff! The ladies love a man who can forgive a woman for being unwillingly impregnated, and let’s face it, maybe he does owe her at least this small favor.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of taking traditional horror films and making them more right wing. There’s even more possibilities after these prove a success: monster movies where women with jobs are the monsters, a remake of “Carrie” where the psychotic anti-menstruation mother is the good guy, a version of “Alien” where Ripley feeds herself to the alien out of penance for leaving the kitchen to work on a space ship. Think of your own!