The Rocky Horror Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again (Ortega, Fox, 2016) – Why has it missed the mark?

The sheer volumes of 1-star reviews for the ‘new’ Rocky Horror Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again is astounding. The highest rating I saw was a four despite Fox’s efforts to pull out all the stops, in this post, I want to consider why this might be and why a new remake of a cult classic will never, ever win.

rocky-horror-press-fox-2016-billboard-1548

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ITV’s Victoria: Every Inch a Good TV Series?

Jenna Coleman as Victoria


Victoria (Daisy Goodwin, Rebecca Eaton, ITV, 2016) finished last Sunday with the promise of a second series after a very promising first run. The series which premiered on ITV at 9 o’clock, in direct competition to Poldark genuinely impressed me, and seemed to be competitive in the ratings for the BBC equivalent. This is really the first time in a long time that ITV has given the BBC a run for their money with Period dramas, as they have been the king of the genre ever since Mr Darcy dove into the lake in 1995 (Pride and Prejudice).  When all is said and done, Victoria did actually beat Poldark for ratings, which is, for ITV a major feat.

So after watching the series, here are the major things that stood out to me: Continue reading

Can the Film be Better than the Book? A case study of Virginia Woolf’s ‘Orlando’

Hello, everybody! Yes, this is a literature review, and no this is not what I was supposed to be writing this week, but due to a farce with finding employment (guys, do a degree because you’re passionate not because you think it’ll make you more employable) earlier this week my plans and usual upload schedule were shot to hell.

But in the meantime, I have bee venturing into feminist literature in the form of Orlando by Virginia Woolf, and I have some thoughts for you….

I came across Orlando (Sally Potter, UK, 1992) during my undergraduate degree and thought it was honestly one of the best films I had ever seen (WATCH IT, IT IS AMAZING), I was also given a copy of A Room of One’s Own for my birthday and read it rapidly with interest. My next project, post-degree, was to read Orlando.

Here’s the thing about Virginia Woolf – she is incredibly intelligent, and has fantastic ideas and it is interesting to look back on early feminism. Her essays are phenomenal. Her books are dense.

I’m not saying I didn’t like Orlando (the novel) because I did, truly. I enjoyed the witticisms of the narrator – including the section where she comments that she cannot narrate anymore because Orlando has shut herself inside reading and therefore the narrator has no room to comment, and the actual concept of the novel: a man who throughout the course of time turns into a woman – fascinating. (Side note, I do feel like Orlando was always effeminate and this is why he can transform – would you ever have a novel with a woman transforming into a man, or would it not work?)

The major problem of the work, and I found this with both To The Lighthouse and Mrs Dalloway is that her writing – unlike in her essays – is dense, overcomplicated and sometimes difficult to actually understand. I find this baffling considering how fluent and easy to read A Room of One’s Own is – a forerunner in feminist literature! I think she had a tendency as a writer to overcomplicate her novels with philosophy, almost in the style of the 17th-century writers that she refers to in the text – Addison, Pope, Swift. For me, this is a stylistic choice which I find very difficult to grasp.

Personally, and this is a controversial statement perhaps, I prefer the film. When I was younger, before I studied Film as an Academic subject, I thought that you could only see a Film Adaptation of a book if you had read the book, and even then the Film was NOT ALLOWED to be better than the book. I now think that books and films are good in different ways, they can show different things and explore different angles – sometimes a book can elaborate more in a positive way, sometimes they can elaborate too much.

I think Sally Potter’s adaptation of Orlando is much more succinct, impressive and politically meaningful. The medium of film allows Potter to show the passage of time in way books cannot (see video clip below), equally, it has room to be funny and extracting the narrator to use Orlando himself/herself as narrator by breaking the fourth wall is a stroke of genius. Orlando (the book), despite the complex subject matter, is perhaps not Woolf’s best feminist text; indeed most academics agree it is a love letter to her lover at the time whereas A Room of One’s Own pretends to be nothing other than it is – an essay.

So here’s the crux: can a Film be more meaningful than the source text? Where do you stand on this issue?

P.S. With any luck next week I will be back to regularly scheduled programming, with one post a week on Wednesday evening around Bake Off O’clock (8pm) – and here’s a bigger question to ponder: will the move to Channel 4, without Mel and Sue, ruin Bake Off….?

Labyrinth (Henson, 1986): Rock Music, Muppets and Morality

I’ve always known about Labyrinth (Henson, 1986) or more to the point, ‘that film David Bowie was in’ and it’s always been accompanied by smirks. Last night I finally caved and watched it, and now I know why people smile…


It’s a typical story-line: a young girl makes an error and must set out on a quest to fix it – reminiscent of The Wizard of OZ (cemented through strategic placement of the OZ book in the mise-en-scene) and the perception of American teenagers in the 1980s. The representation of Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) as selfish and spoiled is found not only in other family movies of the same era – I’m thinking of the 80s/90s combined – but also in the serial horror films of the same period. I can see similarities with the concept of a teenage girl making a mistake and getting her ‘comeuppance’ in the plot lines of Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween – Sarah, for all intents and purposes, is almost a Final Girl.

Except she’s not, she has friends (the muppets) to guide her (honestly, I did not know it was a Muppet film such has Bowie’s presence overshadowed the film) echoing The Princess Bride and The Wizard of Oz. Despite her faults, she is friendly and seems to entrance people along the way. This allows for the most crucial difference in this film from others I’m comparing it too, family and horror alike – she is allowed to keep her fantasy. Typical family films of the era which would focus on a reconciliation between her parents and her coming of age – even Back to the Future came to an eventual end which sets Marty (Michael J. Fox) in the path for marriage and children in a blissful American future – and Final Girl’s, as we all know, end up scarred for life and hunted in the sequel. Yes, Sarah puts away her toys, what she realises are “junk” but she still talks to the Goblins who now seem to exist in her world. It is, in my opinion, this is one of the most surprising and lovely parts of the film, celebrating imagination rather than condemning it..

Sarah keeps her fantasy and her friends

Music videos, a moral, hilariously bad superimposition: it’s a great film and I can see why it’s a cult classic, but it is a strange combination. It juxtaposes children’s films, a rock star and high fantasy myths in a way which almost works consistently. I do wonder if spectators interpret the film based on which aspect is most important to them – as I mentioned at the beginning, I knew this as a Bowie film but watching it for myself I would call it a Muppet film, and the fantasy is almost unnecessary.

David Bowie, wearing exceedingly tight trousers, is quite wooden in his acting (haha) but I feel like that was to be expected. He stands as more of an idol in the film than any significant acting presence, but that’s probably the best role for him. One wonders, indeed, if the fantasy role was necessary to simply embrace Bowie’s eccentricity in film form. Whilst I enjoyed some of the musical interludes Bowie contributes to the film, I have to say that the Ballroom sequence, arguably the major ‘music video’ of the film was a little off. It was cheesy and strange, seemingly trying to set up a potential romance between Bowie and Connelly, but it has already been established that Sarah is a young teenager, therefore, it doesn’t quite work. On a mythological level, I understand it to be a reference to the idea that if you eat something from the Fairy Kingdom, you will be trapped in a dance until you die/your feet bleed etc., but this is where the combination of spheres (Bowie/Muppets/High fantasy) starts to clash a little.

The Ballroom scene: an awkward transition?

Labyrinth may be a silly film, but that’s part of the joy and part of why it remains relevant. Indeed I think it will be cemented as a classic through David Bowie’s death: film is immortalizing, we relive moments and stories with people who are long gone time and time again through switching on a film and escaping. Labyrinth is pure escapism, despite what some cult followers may argue is wrong with it, the lore doesn’t actually matter. Labyrinth remains a fantastically fun film, immortalizing Bowie and Henson as heroes of escapism.

8.5/10

P.s. My favourite part….because I’m a child and fart noises can be funny

P.p.s A happy Pan’s Labyrinth, anyone? What do you reckon to the similarities between them? Obviously, this one was made first…. I wonder if it shows the cultural differences of fairy stories: a happy ending for the USA but not for Spain….

Copyright: Images/Videos are not mine and used for review purposes.

Makeup Review: Zoeva En Taupe Palette

I impulse bought this palette, and then agonised over it for days until I decided it was one of the best makeup decisions I have made.

 

Well, dramatic, but I do have a flair for it. Either way, the En Taupe palette is actually fantastic.

I like the fact it includes a white and not a black. As a fair-skinned girl, I find white is really useful to have rather than some strange off-yellow colour that most palettes seem to contain. I was worried the colours would be ‘too’ cool and taupe-y but actually, there is some variety and the shimmery shades are really lovely, though the mattes steal the show. My favourite colours are Stitch by Stitch (matte off-white), Handmade (light pink with a gold shimmer – stunning), Gallery (purple matte taupe), Hour by Hour (matte dusty pink) and Exquisite (red-taupe matte, very unusual, looks more or less purple depending on how you layer). Perhaps the least impressive is ‘Old Master’ which does not have the best colour pay off.

The shadows are:
Stitch by stitch – matte off white
Handmade – pink with gold shimmer
Gallery – purple taupe matte
Hour by Hour – matte dusty pink
Old master – purple with gold shimmer, (fairly disappointing not a lot of colour)
spun pearl – white silver shimmer
Sheers & Voiles – silvery violet duo chrome, if anyone is interested it is an exact dupe of Makeup Geek’s ‘Rockstar’.
Outline – shimmery brown taupe
Wrapped in Silk – more lilac-y shimmery taupe
Exquisite – red taupe

 

 

The colour pay-off is pretty good on all of them, some better than others but for £18 (definitely increased in price, btw – I remember buying the Cocoa Blend Palette for £15 a few years ago), It’s not a bad palette. The packaging is nice, cardboard but sturdy, and nicely slim. The design is very pretty and actually reflects the colours in the palette. Overall, it’s a great palette and I do not regret purchasing it, I urge you all to give Zoeva a try.

8/10

Zoeva can be purchased from Beautybay.com or Selfridges.

Retrospective Review: The Deponia Trilogy (Daedalic Entertainment, 2012 – 2013)

Yesterday, I finished playing Goodbye Deponia, a point and click adventure game by Deadalic Entertainment made in 2013. The Game is the final (well…almost) instalment of the Deponia trilogy,

SPOILERS

I love Daedalic Entertainment and here’s why: I am not someone who likes intense first person shooter games and I’ve really enjoyed point and click games in the past. Deadalic has an unparalleled combination of the right amount and difficulty of puzzles combined with an easy, character-centric humour that doesn’t seem too forced. The humour is at its peak in the darkly comedic Edna and Harvey games and lightens to a beautiful children’s adventure in Night of the Rabbit whereas Deponia, clearly, the brands major series embodies a middle ground.

Now, I will give a little warning with this review of the Deponia games – my memory of the first two isn’t great as I played them a long time ago, but I will try to include as much as I can remember, and if I replay the games, I may do more in-depth individual reviews for each game, as this is more of a general overview of the series with an emphasis on Goodbye Deponia.

Firstly, I have to say how much I love the mechanics of the games, the way the puzzles are integrated into Rufus’ personality and the humour that comes with that. Rufus is not a complex character, but a classic loveable oaf. I definitely think the games get better, the first game is retrospectively weak and sometimes a little buggy by comparison to the latter two. I think my favourite game is probably the second due to the clear expansion on the first one, but honestly, I really like the mechanics in both the second and the third games where you spend a lot of time in one area but continuously returning to it. Particularly in the third game, the section with the three Rufus’ and the necessity of using each Rufus to trigger something in the other Rufus’ sections was fantastic. I even liked the mechanic of finding the Platypus eggs, which is an unnecessary extra, but fun nonetheless. Much like with Night of the Rabbit, I can imagine myself playing through the games again to try and get everything out of them. This really indicates that the game is pretty good value for money, as it is definitely replayable and there is a lot of hidden content (especially in the last two).

I found the puzzles challenging but not so much that they actively stopped progression, which is always a pet peeve of mine, and I am the sort of person that will use a walkthrough if necessary. Whilst I did use the walkthrough a little with theses games but overall, I found I could progress by myself.

Now for the Elephant in the room – the ending. Any google search on the game will show you how unsatisfied people were with the ending, and I do agree – I found it very surprising and kind of unfitting with the rest of the game. On the one hand, I can see how it may have seemed necessary to the developers to complete Rufus’ character development, but on the other hand, when you have sunk maybe 30 hours into completing the trilogy, killing the main character, who you have come to love, is a little upsetting. (I also don’t fully understand the logic behind Rufus’ decision, as I thought the blades would rotate again if someone let go, but that doesn’t really matter.)

People were so upset about the ending that there is a new game called Deponia Doomsday which was released in March of this year. As it is so newly released I will probably wait to buy it until it is more discounted on Steam, but from brief searches for reviews, due to my shock at the ending of Goodbye Deponia the ending of Deponia Doomsday seems to be just as disappointing, and the general consensus seems to be that it is another great game in terms of humour and mechanics, but the narrative is not actually changed by the new game. Which leads me to two thoughts: both, why bother with another game in the first place and a steadfast respect of the developer for making another game to defend the previous ending. Either way, I will definitely be playing it at a later date, though I will say I would like to replay the original trilogy now in a shorter space of time to get the full narrative experience and see if this affects my response to the ending.

Verdict: Overall, despite the controversial ending the Deponia games are fantastic and something that I will definitely replay to get the experience, and indeed, the achievements (I’m that person) again and again.
9/10

Zootopia (Byron Howard, Rich Moore, USA, 2016) Review

This is a film I really wasn’t expecting so much from considering the heavy-handedness with which problems of discrimination – in the workplace, in general – is really hammered in in the trailer.

And yes, the film is very much aware of its message and becomes at times almost parable-like, but surprisingly I think its done in a genuinely interesting way. The voices are excellent, Ginnifer Goodwin (Judy) and Jason Bateman (Nick, not normally my favourite I’ll be honest) are great, but honestly, I think Idris Elba steals the show, an anthropomorphic Luther parody in and of himself.

One of the major appeals to me is the postmodern aspects of the film, it is, as Barthes would say “a patchwork of quotations” some of which are easy to get – Disney is loving referencing its own films (as always) – but other unexpected ones, such as a fantastically unexpected reference to Breaking Bad (of all things!). IMDB is already having a field day with the references within the film, and it hasn’t even left the cinema, there is no doubt in my mind that this will quickly becomes a cult classic for Disney fans.

The plot is not something new and unique, but that doesn’t matter, on the whole its one of the few Disney films aside from (perhaps) Mulan and The Princess and the Frog that portrays an interesting female character that not only aims to do her best (more than simply getting married) but is also flawed and must fix her mistakes.

Another interesting aspect to the film is the rapid time span, I was expecting the film to linger on Judy’s development, but actually this takes place in a matter of minutes, and again, where there would normally b a natural close to a Disney film – the solving of the case in this aspect, actually becomes a crux for Judy’s political blunder which must then be resolved. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised at Disney stepping out of their box a little and embracing a more complex narrative – the downside to this would be that everything is a little rushed due to trying to fit a rather large time span into a 100 minute film, but for my part it is simply refreshing to see Disney do something a little different.

I would whole-heartedly recommend watching this and give it a solid 9/10.

Review: The Others (Alejandro Amenabar, Spain/UK, 2001)

A ghost story based post-war. A woman, Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) and her two children , Anne and Nicholas (Alakina Minn and James Bentley) live in a big ol’ creepy house in Jersey, which was totally occupied during the war. Husband (Christopher Eccleston – looking remarkably attractive with floppy blond hair) has gone off to fight in the War and has yet to return: the war has ended. Unspoken since this announcement at the start of the film is the assumption that he, like so many others, has died on the front line. Another rumor floating around the house is ‘the night mother went crazy’ which drives the narrative until it is explained at the end. We are initially aligned with the servants, Bertha (Fionnula Flannigan), Edmund Tuttle (Eric Sykes) and Lydia (Elaine Cassady) who show up at the house to take on new posts, as we are aligned through them it becomes rapidly clear that the mother has a few screws loose, which in this story is totally aligned with her religious fanaticism, culminating in punishing her daughter by reading scriptures aloud for three days straight. The film is truly interesting in its use of narrative alignment, I would argue that we flip between Bertha’s focus and Grace’s, perhaps even at points engaging with Anne – it is a very female-centric traditional ghost film, recalling traditions of the female Gothic and the dangers of the terrible (male) house.
Some highlights in the film was its engagement with the past, both a dialogue with Gothic history and an awareness of post-war Europe (we should not forget that the film was made in Spain, with American money, set in Jersey, so the global affect of the war truly comes through), and the genuinely show-stopping performance of Fionnula Flannigan – creepy yet sedate – and also, Alakina Mann as Anne, portraying both the ability to be an irritating little brat and a caring older sister. I may be the only one who says this, but I thought Nicole Kidman’s performance was a little flat.
Whilst I genuinely enjoyed the film, and found it to be engaging and a little different – I honestly was not expecting the twist at the end (SPOILER ALERT – I will be discussing it in detail later on). There are some problems with it.

The photo-sensitivity of the children is never really explained, nor is the fact that each door must be locked (I may have missed something – but I can’t seem to recall it ever being explained except for the fact it heightens the tension of each moment when a child screams by having to wait a few extra seconds while ‘Mummy’ frantically jingles her keys). Also, I did not understand the repeated moments where the children breathe rapidly and heavily, as if about to cry. I was expecting it to be some sort of sign of possession, but then it isn’t – it’s just the children and it is never explained. I feel like this happens several times in the film: something occurring that seems like it should be significant and then then film carries on without acknowledging it. It is these moments that really let the film down.
Furthermore, whilst I enjoy the female Gothic reference, I did feel as if there was no real climax – no large scare, no genuine cathartic moment that made me jump or shrink back in fear – it was almost too subtle. The major climax of the film, the discovery that they are dead, whilst an unexpected twist means the film changes tack from a horror film to a ‘something-else’ – if we are aligned with the malignant spirits of the house (cemented through the final chanting of “the house is ours”) – what is there to be wary of?
Something I also think is also an important question to ask is, how and to what end does the film use religion. It is, without a doubt, a negative thing in this film, culminating in the mother’s realization that for all of her religious fervor neither she, nor her husband or children appear to have ended up in heaven or hell. Religion seems to be absent by the end, and villainised through repeated skeptical looks at the increasingly frenetic Grace throughout the film. Honestly, I’m not sure if this is a ‘problem’ or not, but it is certainly a striking aspect of the film. Perhaps if we wanted to read into it, we could attribute the loss of faith to a distinctly post-war disillusionment, but since this is not made clear we run the risk of over-interpreting.
(On a side note, there is a fantastic moment at the dinner table where they discuss the father’s return, and Grace says that her husband will not go to Hell because he has fought on the side of the ”goodies’. It is dealt with incredibly well, and truly reflects some of the attitudes of the time, and sadly, perhaps even still.) 
Finally, most significant in the film is the discussion of motherhood and wifeliness. This representation of maternity in Horror films is something I am particularly interested in. In fact, I very recently wrote an essay about maternity in the domestic horror film, of which The Others is definitely one. Maternity in the horror film can be difficult to read – many feminist critics have read the representation of mothers as always negative, the ‘good’ mother belonging to a Patriarchal discourse that ultimately forces the mother to sacrifice for the children and the good of the family, usually ending in her death or reinstating the repression of the mother figure and the ‘bad’ mother being monstrous and having to be tamed or killed. The Others is interesting because there are instances where the mother could fall into both categories -she remains a wife and mother, trapped in the patriarchal home even in death – but ultimately the major crux of the plot is the fact that she kills her children and herself – i.e. she is the monster of the film.
The ending is most interesting, does Grace reclaim her motherly role through killing her children? In some ways, the way the moment is undercut is quite fantastic, no one really knows what to do after she confesses all, if anything they remain closer together than before – I suppose they have no option. I will say that Grace remains a rather 2D character, and it is frustrating that her psyche is not explored more, if anything we are barred from understanding her through rumour and hearsay, and what we do see of her shows her to be neurotic and obsessed with a wider concept of religion that the film shows not to be true. On the whole, the film is not terribly kind to her.
Overall, I would give the film a 7.5/10. A pretty good concept, some flaws and a genuinely interesting twist.

Do You Have to Like the Horror Heroine?

So I just watched Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and whilst it is a tour de force of cinema, genuinely fantastic – I have never been so frustrated with a protagonist before.

This is something I have been thinking about for a while. One of my housemate’s made a comment about sympathizing with the hero of a horror film, but to be honest I’m not so sure that’s true. So, I am attempting to investigate…

(SPOILERS)

I think there has to be something slightly ‘unlikable’ about a horror character, even one that survives. I would argue with all certainty that the ones who are killed off contain less than desirable traits – think of Laurie’s friends in Halloween (1978) not only do they ditch the children they are supposed to be looking after, but they disrespect Laurie’s feelings by mocking her and use her goodwill to get her to avoid their own responsibilities (Hollywood’s typical view on teenagers). How remorseful are we, when they are inevitably killed?

Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis), on the whole, is a pretty likable character, but lets look at the ‘Final Girls’ (Carol Clover’s term) in other slasher films. Sally (Marilyn Burns) from Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) is an interesting one. Unlike Laurie, who fits Clover description of a ‘boyish’ and sexless female – which is why she survives – Sally isn’t. She is linked to her boyfriend from the start, she is not boyish )wear a bra for goodness sake!) and she lacks any maternal coding either: her relationship with her brother is strained, and he dies whilst with her. Crucially, for Sally, is she is perhaps the ultimate ‘Scream Queen’. How much can you actually empathize with someone who screams for 30 minutes? Are we pleased when she escapes to fight another day – potentially, star in another film, though Burn’s didn’t actually turn up again – or are we only pleased because that’s how we should feel. Whilst we are not overly sympathetic towards Leatherface, twirling in the sunlight with his chainsaw, I don’t think we are completely bereft of feeling towards him. Unlike the other characters, Leatherface has no dialogue, no way to express that what he knows is doing is wrong or if it all he knows? To the family, he is an animal. Regardless, as spectators we know that we should sympathise with Sally, who has done nothing wrong, and dislike Leatherface who has been trying to kill her. But, as I have been attempting to convey, the coding of these characters is not necessarily Sally = good, Leatherface = bad. Indeed, perhaps we are only pleased that Sally escapes, because the screaming can finally stop (although, this would have happened if she were killed also…)

More likable than Sally?

Thus, I reiterate, there is usually something a little unlikable about the protagonist – perhaps something that implies that they in some way deserve what they get, but they are not as bad as the others and therefore don’t deserve to die. Alice in Friday the 13th (1980), is also frustratingly naive and by no means a sexless goody-two-shoes like Laurie. Again, I found myself slightly distanced from her, perhaps in a way that suggests I needed to be ready to watch her run around screaming, but not feel to attached. If anything, I think Mrs Voorhees, whilst obviously the villain, had more backstory to her.

This is the crux of it – the characters are one dimensional. You don’t need to know their backstory, you’re here to watch them scream and fight for their lives. Laurie, the most sympathetic character, has no family (her father is mentioned briefly), she has no obvious goals, she is studious – a stereotype. Perhaps we sympathize with her in comparison to her friends? In fact, I think it could be argued that the heroine of the Slasher film is the ‘least worst’ girl. She doesn’t survive because we especially sympathize with her – we have to be detached enough to watch her get hurt – but the others are worse, and that is why Laurie, and Sally, and Alice can survive.

Laurie defends herself in Halloween

Returning now, to the start of this post: Rosemary’s Baby – not a slasher film, a psychological horror –  but also featuring, I would argue, a frustrating protagonist. Rosemary shares the traits of a Female Gothic protagonist, a paranoid female at the centre of a setting where everything/everyone is seemingly against her. The paranoid female becomes increasingly more hysterical, and increasingly more irritating, think Du Maurier’s Rebecca. Mia Farrow is fantastic, but Rosemary’s recurrent naivete – despite all that she knows and assumes, becomes frustrating, and arguably a barrier to sympathy. Whilst it is clear Rosemary tries to break out of the clutches of her satanic neighbors, it is always undercut – so, she stops taking the drink, but when the pain stops probably because she’s stopped having the drink she continues and this type of scenario repeats. I realize i’m probably being a little harsh – she was confused and dependent upon her husband, and unlike in the UK Doctor’s are expensive in the US, but honestly, if you have been in pain during your pregnancy for so long – regardless of if it is the spawn of Satan or not – pay the money, get an second opinion. Perhaps don’t spout off about witches though.

The main problem with Rosemary’s paranoid cycle comes n the last twenty minutes of the film, where, frankly, she should know better. I don’t buy the scene where she falls asleep in the Doctor’s office – why didn’t she make him actually check the baby/pills etc. rather than handing him some books on Witches like a weirdo.. Equally, post-birth, she is still accepting of they tell her, and continues to take pills they are giving her (WHY?!), trusting their word when they say they cannot hear a baby when she can. This is where I got frustrated, this is a horror protagonist who has actually learned nothing at all throughout the film. She becomes unbelievably naive at this point, which is where my disconnection with her as a sympathetic protagonist started to kick in.

And finally, most crucially – why does she not use the knife in the final scene? In comparison to the previous films I discussed where all of the ‘Final Girls’ obtain the knife/gun/phallic object and utilise it to defend themselves – Rosemary does nothing. And again, this is a different type of horror film, but I think the sense of the female heroine is comparable. A sticking point for me is – why does she not kill the baby? It isn’t human, that is made clear. I genuinely don’t understand.

Like the Slasher films, there is a disconnect from our Final Girl, Rosemary, who makes it through against all odds (though, unlike the Slasher film, she is stupid enough that if the Witches really wanted to kill her, they could’ve considering she just eats whatever they give her and accepts whatever side-effects she gets!). I wonder if, without the final section of the film, I would have been more sympathetic to her and her paranoia. With all female Gothic texts, there comes a point where the paranoia becomes too much, however, unlike Rebecca, there is no final reconciliation and defeating of the monster which makes up for sitting through two hours of histrionics. Rosemary’s refusal to fight, or indeed, rectify the wrong at the end is what makes her frustrating (though, maybe not to people who are mothers. I don’t know if part of this disconnect is the fact that I have never been pregnant). A question to ponder: how would the ending have been different if she has killed the baby at the end?

Should she do it?

Therefore, I continue to believe that in order to accept the wrongs being done to them the audience must be detached from the main character in some way. There has to be a disconnect – perhaps the disconnect from Rosemary is in order for us to feel completely alienated by her in the end. In the Slasher film, the final girl is ‘mostly’ good, enough for us to want her to survive, but also balanced so we are not distraught when she inevitably gets hurt – this is not a melodrama, I don’t believe we are supposed to be invested in the same way – the audience is supposed to jump, not get their feelings hurt.

I was going to carry on, and talk about how you can like the Monster also, but this post has become, ahem, a monster and I felt I ought to split it into two – another post coming soon. If anyone does genuinely read this blog, please give me a comment with your opinion – would love to hear some more views on this.

(All thoughts are my own, with very little research. I mention Carol Clover’s seminal text “Her Body, Himself” in her book Men Women and Chainsaws, Princeton University Press, 1992.)