The “Teeth” in her vagina should bite harder!

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[Trigger Warning: Rape]

Writer/Director: Mitchell Lichtenstein

Starring: Jess Weixler, Hale Appleman, John Hensley 

It took me four years to watch Teeth (2007). My husband refused to watch it. In fact he didn’t even want to be in the same room if it was on, which left a very small window for me to sit down and enjoy the film in its entirety without interruption. The movie has a lot of concepts that I really like (ahem, like the cave sex scene that freaked out my husband) but ultimately fails to push beyond its severed penis gags to discuss rape and violence against women with any seriousness. But I admit to cheering with misandrist glee after each killing. This movie seems to strike a nerve with male viewers and its easy to see why. Trailer below.

[!!!!] This post will talk frankly about rape–if you’re sensitive to that please tune out now [!!!!]

The story follows Dawn, a high school girl, who loves Jesus and wants to maintain her virginity until marriage. She meets another boy from her high school abstinence club, however when they go on their first date he ignores her wishes to wait and rapes her. Dawn discovers her vagina can bite off men’s penises. And so the reverse-gendered horror and hilarity begins.

Dawn is raped/molested a lot in this movie. Like…a lot. She’s raped by every major male character, including her stepbrother. Even the “hero” drugs her, waits until she’s unconscious, and proceeds to have sex  while she is unable to consent. But Dawn is able to defend herself by biting off her rapists’ penises. The moral of the movie (I think?) is not to rape women. Is it scary? No. But it does challenge views about sex and women’s roles in horror films.

Let’s face it. Most horror movies are marketed towards men and their sexual frustrations. The monster/killer/bad guy is almost always male, violent, and harbors a special bloodlust for female victims. The female character always has the bloodiest death, usually after just engaging in sex or equally provocative act. Erotica and horror are a potent, powerful mix, which is why it so happens to be my favorite sub-genre of horror.

Horror movies are a safe way sexual people can vicariously relieve ourselves. I get it. You get it. We all like the violence in horror movies. But that’s precisely why Teeth is so great! For once the female character isn’t tripping over her own breasts or waiting to be rescued. Dawn rescues herself.

What peeeved me most about Teeth is that it didn’t go far enough. It’s hard to call Dawn an “empowered” character when she is raped and molested throughout the entire film. Not once is she in control of her sexual choices, her rapist is.

Teeth is still a movie for and by men, but I think women might enjoy this movie for its attempt to reverse gender politics. Four years was worth the wait. Giving this one an A and also adding it to my collection.

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Mamula or Killer Mermaid or Nymph or…whatever

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This Serbian movie has like 10 different names. Regardless what it calls itself, though, it still sucks.

Killer Mermaid (2014) is a misnomer. The mermaid doesn’t kill anybody but just eats  human chum her boyfriend catches and feeds to her.

 

Director: Milan Todorovic

Writers: Barry Keating, Marko Backovic

Starring: Kristina Klebe, Franco Nero, Natalie Burn, Dragan Micanovic

Add another campy b-movie to your Netflix watchlist if you want. Killer Mermaid (2014) has gloriously bad acting, accents so thick you need the killer’s hatchet to cut through it, and of course, bikini-clad girls who scream lustily in terror for 94min. It’s a summer horror flick about two American girls on vacation who find themselves marooned on a prison island with their boyfriends. What separates this basic plot device from other terrible b-movies? There’s a killer mermaid! Sort of…

No, actually, the “killer” is actually the mermaid’s boyfriend…sort of. See, the mermaid has mind control powers and she drives all the men on the island to kill for her. Supposedly she eats the men and human bait they bring along with them, but we don’t actually see her off anyone on screen. There’s a convoluted explanation about the island, Mamula, and its WWII past but…yeaaaaahhhh I lost interest after the first half of the movie. But there are bikinis! And running! And tunnels! And much running through these tunnels! So much running…

I don’t think the director tried, honestly. But I will give them this, the set is amazing! What a beautiful place Serbia is. If I can take anything positive from this movie, it’s that I want to visit the Mediterranean sea. If you’re terribly bored and want to hear Serbian and Italian actors play unconvincing Americans, go ahead and watch this.

Giving this one a D.