Monstrous Women in Horror Films

These notions have their origin to the Freudian theory of oedipal complex and woman as the castrated male – a male without a penis. Joseph Campbell, another theorist, referred to an ancient myth in his book The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology related to the myth of the vagina dentata or the toothed vagina (Creed 1993 p 1). Horror movies, as can be seen in the likes of Carrie, The Exorcist, Psycho, Aliens, and the recent movie Teeth, by the manner of their presentation of the monstrous-feminine convey the so-called abject nature of the female body.

Movies like the 1976 Carrie which portrayed its lead female as a hapless ridiculed character but who developed later the horrific power of telekinesis, The Exorcist in 1973, in which a young Linda Blair portrayed a youth on the verge of maturity but came to be possessed by the devil, Aliens in 1986 in which the anti-hero comes in the form of an alien life-form who relentlessly takes her biological role of reproduction to the horrifying extreme, 1960’s Psycho which was about a hotel owner who killed his guests as he was driven to psychotic madness by a castrating mother who haunted him even in death, and the recent Teeth which tackled the story of a young woman gifted with the mythical vagina dentate, – all horror films which portrayed women as “monsters,” reinforcing the abject nature of a woman’s body.

The semiotics involved in the presentation of the monster-feminine in recent horror films certainly point to the abject nature of the female body. Feminist theorists, in addition to the likes of Freud, held that the female body is itself a site of various conflicts. As earlier stated,&nbsp.Freud had pointed that women, specifical mothers, are the source of the inner conflicts of their sons because of her image as the castrated version of the male and as an object of sexual desire in what he termed as oedipal complex.