Refer to the article here:
“While the monstrous feminine of Hollywood is available transhistorically over much of cinema across the world, the female monster of Hindi horror cinema remains ignored and merits serious academic exploration. The preoccupation with male monsters led western film theorists and critics alike to discuss ‘female monstrosity either as part of male monstrosity or as man’s castrated other… including making insinuations that “there are no great female monsters as in the tradition of Frankenstein’s monster or Dracula”’ (Creed, 1993, p. 3). Creed (1993, 2002), Williams (2002) and Clover (1992) have presented extensive elaborations on art-horror’s brush with gendered monstrosity, and much of the widely accepted art-horror1 theory as applied to horror cinema is predicated upon Julia Kristeva’s notion of the ‘abject’ and the Freudian notion of the ‘return of the repressed’.” (Mubarki, The Return).
Mubarki’s main focus throughout this article is the “other feminine.” This concept is in many horror films, but is never quite analyzed. Above is a quote from the article that I believe gives a slight overview of the topic at hand. Woman in horror films are usually portrayed as frail, feminine, stupid, slutty/virginal, and not resourceful (beside the final girl), and even then the final girl has some of these traits. That would be the average gender norm for women in horror films. Hindi Horror films though have a different take on female characters.
First of all women can be the monsters in these films, where as all of the horror films we watched so far women were never the monster. Well what about Cat People, or Let the Right one In? Keep in mind that in Cat People the female lead turns into a cat before doing any damage, so she isn’t classified as a female monster. In Let The Right One In, we find out that Eli was born with the body of a male, and was later castrated. We aren’t sure the reason behind Eli portraying herself as a female so we can’t necessarily call her a female. The fact that she is a vampire more than a girl says something as well. She is never killing people because she as a female character wants to, it’s because she needs to as a vampire to survive. Many horror films use these alternate interiors or labels to not allow the idea of a female monster. Why is this? We talk a great deal about misogyny in class, could this be a part of that, or are they just overlooking it? Or is overlooking it in fact Misogyny?
Hindi films create a female monster in a very specific way. She is a woman with both femininity as well as masculinity. This is huge, since most horror films keep their characters comfortably placed in their cookie cutter gender norms. These monsters transform themselves into beautiful women and lure men in through their sex appeal. Once the men approach them, the monsters offer them sex (Something that men can never pass up in these films apparently). Once they have the men exactly where they want them, they destroy them, in animalistic ways.
“This article will consider the role which gender plays in the articulation of monstrosity in Hindi horror cinema and trace the inaugural moment of the monstrous other female as a sub-genre within Hindi horror cinema, mapping narratives in which female sexuality is the monstrosity, and female desire, above and beyond reproductive needs, is delegitimised, both socially and conventionally.” (Mbarki, The Return).
In these films women use their sexuality as a weapon, and that is what scares society to this day. Women aren’t seen as sexual beings while men are, even though women take part in sexual activities regularly. If a woman embraces her sex appeal she is considered a slut. Women’s sexuality is constantly being oppressed, so the idea of Hindi movies using women’s sex appeal as their strength is pretty cool in my opinion! Horror movies express what that society is scared of, and that is in fact a huge fear! Which is why to this day women still aren’t payed as much as men, and there is still so much sexism around.
Hindi films really embody a social concept that is so important, and honestly interesting. Reading this article made me compare the concepts to the films we have watched already in class, and maybe this is an extremely broad assumption, but it seems like maybe American made films don’t like the idea of a female monster at all because they would have the most power in the film. These are two separate ways to show the same issue. Women aren’t seen as equals. Hindi films can show that through using their sexuality and breaking of gender norms in their characters, while American made films don’t showcase women of being bad or in any sort of power. I’m not sure which would be considered better or worse, but both are worth taking a look into! Check out the article for yourself above!