Why Silent Hill is Feminist Dark Comedy Disguised as Horror, By Guest Blogger Klingon Vanna White

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 2, 2015 07:37pm | Post a Comment

The Amoeblog welcomes guest blogger Klingon Vanna White, a self-proclaimed "Blingon" and outcast from the planet Kronos. To find out more about Klingon Vanna White, visit her website

What do Walking Dead’s Andrea, the Borg Queen, the antihero female navigator from Pitch Black, and the beloved beheaded dad from Game of Thrones, Ned Stark, all have in common? Did the title give it away like perchance, a spoiler? Well Silent Hill is from 2006; if you’re into horror, you’re adult-esque so don’t cry over spilled plot lines from a nine-year-old movie. Maybe you should watch it now. Maybe you’re the kind of person who would enjoy pointing out all my mistakes to justify your existence. I wrote this whole essay from memory. You’re welcome. Let’s get started.

In Silent Hill, pretty much every line is spoken by a female character. Never once do you feel like you’re being patronized in some Fried Green Tomatoes-Traveling Pants-50 Shades of Grey FOR THE LADIES movie kind of way (I haven’t seen any of these movies but I know I hate them). In fact, you don’t even notice it until weeks later and you’re all, OMFG that movie passed the Bechdel test like 500 times and I didn’t even know I was watching a lady movie the entire time!!!!

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Female Experimental Filmmakers: A Noncomprehensive A-Z

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 18, 2015 12:27pm | Post a Comment


There are almost as many types of experimental films as there are experimental filmmakers. Many of them come to film from different directions than conventional filmmakers -- weaving together psychology, painting, dance, poetry, literature, theater, sculpture, and other fields. This being Women's History Month, I thought I'd have a crack at compiling a list of some of the names with which I'm familiar. If you have additions you'd like me to insert, let me know in the comments. 


Amy Greenfield was born 8 July, 1950 in Boston. She is an originator of the cine-dance genre, her namefor her artistic intersection of experimental film and dance. In addition to film she's created holographic moving sculptures, live multimedia pieces, poetry, and video installations.


Bady Minck was born in Ettelbruck, Luxembourg. She studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts and experimental film at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Her debut, 1988's Der Mensch mit den modernen Nerven, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1989. Minck today divides her time between Luxembourg and Vienna.

All-Female Bands of the 1970s -- Happy Women's History Month!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 4, 2015 09:31pm | Post a Comment
All Female Bands of the 1970s

I wrote a post on all-female bands from the 1910s-1950s, and a post covering all-female bands of the 1960s -- here's my attempt at a conclusive A-Z (and other alphabets) of all-female bands of the 1970s. Details are often sketchy or non-existent and as always corrections and contributions are appreciated!


Die Atztussis were an anarcho-punk band from the Kreuzberg section of West Berlin, active at least as early as 1979 when they played the Antifaschistischen Festival. The members were Cordula (vocals), Kiki (bass), Menusch (guitar), and Petra (drums).


'B' Girls in 1977 (image source: Rodney Bowes)

His Mother's Voice: Only God Forgives' Feminism

Posted by Charles Reece, September 2, 2013 06:10am | Post a Comment
only god forgives poster gosling bruised

"In the beginning, in the uterine night, was the voice, that of the Mother." [p. 74]

That line is from Michel Chion, borrowed from Kaja Silverman's The Acoustic Mirror, since it could easily have served as the epigraph for the psychodynamic plot of Nicolas Refn's Only God Forgives. In Bangkok, Julian (Ryan Gosling), a man-child, is all seething impotency under matriarchal oppression (Crystal, played by Kristin Scott Thomas), yearning to be punished by patriarchal law (Chang, aka the Angel of Vengeance, played by Vithaya Pansringarm). Julian is without a father figure, since he murdered him at Crystal's insistence some time prior to the current story. Her maternal control is a smothering totality that's produced this one son who can't make any decision without mother's approval and his older brother, Billy, who proves his virile independence by brutalizing and killing adolescent prostitutes. The Oedipal theme could hardly be more explicit as she incestuously traces the muscles on Julian's arm or discusses with his dinner date how he has the smaller cock of the two brothers. After Billy is killed at Chang's insistence for the murder of a girl prostitute (the police commander actually makes the father of the girl do the deed), Crystal demands that her surviving son exact familial revenge, regardless of what Billy might've done. This seems to keep with Chion's description of the uterine voice of the mother as an "umbilical net," which he considers "a horrifying expression, since it evokes a cobweb."

Refn expresses this uterine trap through Lynchian styled oneiric cinematography: a voyeuristic camera follows Julian's imaginary wandering down sanguine hallways without an exit. It's not the male gaze that haunts his dreams, however, but his mother's. Despite being trapped in this seemingly endless tunnel, he also desires a reconnection with with the womb as he moves forward, reaching into the darkness. His hope of a maternal reconnection is cutoff when the dream image of Chang, the substitute father, performs symbolic castration with a sword that severs Julian's arm just below the elbow. This is, as Silverman might explain it, a Lacanian version of the Oedipal: the child yearns for an imaginary union with the mother, but the father says, "No," which introduces the kid into the symbolic register where laws, such as moral injunctions, operate. This original 'no' is the law of the father, a symbolic castration that "grounds" (interpretatively retrofits) all future symbolic behavior on a fundamental lack that has removed the child's feeling of being the center of everything -- i.e., that comforting blanket of squishy sonority that surrounded Julian in the womb, before he became old enough to realize what a repressive force his mother is. Thus, he has typical mommy issues, which are made more troubling by the fact that she's a treacherous drug-dealing crime lord.

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Downton Rapey?

Posted by Charles Reece, March 8, 2013 10:08am | Post a Comment
downton abbey series 1 episode 3 mary
Lady Mary Crawley

The porn debate is underscored by two fundamentally antagonistic views of the purpose of law in society. The first view, to which pro-sex feminists subscribe, is that law should protect choice. "A woman's body, a woman's right" applies to every peaceful activity a woman chooses to engage in. The law should come into play only when a woman initiates force or has force initiated against her. The second view, to which both conservatives and anti-porn feminists subscribe, is that law should protect virtue. It should come into play whenever there has been a breach of public morality, or a breach of "women's class interests.
-- Wendy McElroy, "A Feminist Defense of Pornography"

I recently watched the French documentary Mutantes: Punk Porn Feminism, which contains interviews with women who participate in and/or support what you'd think based on the title. One of the main points Virginie Despentes makes with her film is that much of the antagonism the sex trade continues to face is rooted in an old fashioned patriarchal control of women's bodies. It's as if the entire familial tradition would crumble if women were allowed to do with their bodies what they want, giving sex away for free or for cash. This same notion can be seen in pop culture in the way rape tends to be seen as the worst thing that one can do to a fictional female victim, not murder. The contamination of a woman's body, the violation of her "virtue" is too evil to face, rather just kill her and get it over with. And, despite how much I love the subgenre, the same might be said of rape-revenge films, even those with an ostensible feminist message (e.g., I Spit on Your Grave), as if the moral equation balances out with the quid pro quo of rape and murderous vengeance. But the feminist view here (at least the right one) is that a woman shouldn't have virtue forced on her, solely defined by others to have her live as they see fit. This is McElroy's quoted distinction in the two views of law, which accurately places certain feminists on the side of traditional conservatives.

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