Five Halloween Horror Movies That Will Get You and Your Boyfriend in the Mood for a Spooktacular Argument About Rape Culture
- Re-Animator (1985)
This cult classic is sure to give you nightmares. You’ll love Jeffery Combs’s tightly-wound portrayal of Dr. Herbert West, and the comedically gory hijinks that result from his quest to bring the dead back to life. You’ll be lulled into a false sense of security by the movie’s bright, cartoony tone and its inventive special effects, ignoring your growing discomfort as the female lead of the film is stalked by an obsessive pervert. You’ll feel a temporary sense of relief when he’s killed…and then you’ll remember it’s a movie about resurrecting people from the dead. Get ready to scream, shiver and fight back a tide of nausea as he sexually assaults a naked and restrained victim, culminating in a scene where his bloody severed head forces itself between her legs as she loudly weeps. Woah, they didn’t mention this on Rotten Tomatoes! Weird how nobody mentions this scene when they recommend this movie. It’s almost like they don’t want their fun slapstick horror flick to be ruined by a graphic and unnecessarily disturbing rape scene. But forcing oral sex on someone is rape, right? That character definitely just got raped? So why is your boyfriend laughing? Only a four-hour-long shouting match about the legal definition of sexual assault can tell you for sure!
2. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
If guts and gore aren’t your thing, never fear- psychological horror movies can still be a creepy good time! Get immersed in the chilling tale of a woman who is raped and impregnated by a controlling partner, and is then forced to have a child by religious zealots who completely disregard her personhood and only view her as a vessel for her womb. What an outlandish fantasy! Don’t worry, you’ll give up on the movie long before you connect the lingering horror in your gut to the latest news coming out of the Supreme Court. You won’t even manage to click play before you ask your partner why he’s comfortable watching a movie written and directed by world-famous child rapist Roman Polanski. You’ll know you’re in for a long night of Halloween fun when he throws the remote across the room, and says; “God, I can’t watch ANYTHING with you anymore. I’m going to Greg’s.”
3. I Spit on Your Grave (1978)
Get ready for a rollercoaster of Grindhouse-certified thrills and chills! This movie is considered a classic in the “rape revenge” subgenre of exploitation films, which is exactly what it sound like. The entire second act is devoted to an agonizingly long scene where a woman is repeatedly raped and brutalized by a gang of menacing creeps. Then she kills them all, and that makes it OK! Rape revenge movies are called examples of gritty feminist cinema by people who love horror movies and don’t love thinking critically about the media they consume. Cuddle up to your sweetie and ask him why a feminist movie would need to fill a third of it’s running time with a series of graphic sexual assaults on its female star. Why do horror movies rely on sexual violence to motivate female protagonists, and why is your boyfriend numb to watching that violence unfold? Who knows, but get ready to get scared- both by the movie itself and by a previously unexplored side of the man you share a CostCo membership with.
4. The Evil Dead (1976)
Nobody is safe in this blood-soaked slasher movie, where five co-eds are trapped in a haunted cabin for a night of terror. One woman in particular is especially not safe, as her attempts to flee the cabin are curtailed by what horror movie junkies lovingly refer to as the “tree rape” scene. Your house will be filled with bloodcurdling howls as you angrily explain to your boyfriend that legally speaking any forcible penetration of a vagina is considered to be rape, and that includes tree roots, and Jesus Christ do you have to have this conversation again, you just wanted to relax and watch a movie without having to be the fucking rape culture whisperer for one goddamn night, and if he feels that way maybe he can just stop bringing these movies over to your apartment and leave you the hell alone.
5. It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! (1982)
This movie isn’t really scary, but it is a comforting artifact from your childhood, and boy could you use that right now. Put it on in the background as you stoically choke down a six-pack of pumpkin craft beer and reactivate your OKCupid profile. All you wanted was what was coming to you! All you wanted was your fair share! Oh well. Happy Halloween!
Originally published at harmonymae.com on October 31, 2017.