About OpenKnowledge@NAU | For NAU Authors

Monstrous schoolgirls: Casual sex in the twenty-first-century horror film

Renner, Karen J. (2016) Monstrous schoolgirls: Casual sex in the twenty-first-century horror film. Red Feather Journal, 7 (1). pp. 31-49.

Renner_K_2012_Monstrous_Schoolgirls_Casual_Sex_in_the_Twenty-First-Century_Horror_Film(1).pdf - Published Version

Download (146kB) | Preview
Publisher’s or external URL: http://www.redfeatherjournal.org/home.html


In a teaser trailer for Scream 4 (2011), the latest installment in a franchise famous for parodying the conventions of horror films, a character lists some of the new rules of twenty-first-century incarnations of the genre, one of which is “virgins can die now.” Though the line did not appear in the final cut, fans have seized it as an unofficial tagline for the film. With such a statement, Scream 4 obviously means to mock the tendency in the previous generation of slasher films to kill off any teenager who had sex and reserve survival for a virginal Final Girl, a convention first examined in detail by Carol Clover in Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film (1992). The irony is, of course, that almost immediately after the publication of Clover’s seminal text, the first Scream film came along in 1996 and broke the rule by allowing its Final Girl, Sidney, to have sex and survive not only that movie but all of its installments so far. Since the very first of its films, then, the Scream franchise declared the fetishization of virginity within the horror movie a passé construct. However, I argue that another equally problematic ideology has replaced this older one. Specifically, the new “rule” the teenage girl needs to follow to survive a horror film is to only have “meaningful” sex, which usually means sex within the context of a relationship with a partner who is loving and loyal, equally (in)experienced, and conscientious about his partner’s pleasure. By contrast, girls who engage in casual or “meaningless” sex are often killed off quickly in horror films, a plot device that communicates very straightforwardly that their behavior is forbidden.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: content licensed under Creative Commons license 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: female sexuality, horror films, teenage sexuality, monstrous school girls
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Arts and Letters > English
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2016 17:40
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/2939

Actions (login required)

IR Staff Record View IR Staff Record View


Downloads per month over past year