Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How Have the Tables Turned?

"For A Change" by Teo Zirinis
I wrote a blog post before called The Monster & the Victim about how monsters and women (the victims) were portrayed in posters for The Creature From the Black Lagoon. Artist Teo Zirinis has this monster shirt design up for vote on Threadless. The words at the bottom say, "The tables have turned!" I took a closer look to see how the horror poster has changed.

Teo Zirinis flips the poses of monster and victim, but is "The Hot Woman" a victor and against who? 

The woman in the monster's pose visually gives her power over him, but did she defeat the monster? Going by old horror posters, she should be a threat to the monster.

The Curse of the Werewolf from 1961
Because she looks docile and dainty, juxtaposition and comedy results in the consideration that she defeated the monster. The artist probably gave her closed eyes to reflect the kidnapped women in horror posters who are usually drawn as having fainted or screaming. She has no signs of harm on her body or clothes so "The Hot Woman" is no longer a victim of violence. However, she also lacks signs of a fighter so she is not a producer of violence either. The poses, but not the roles, have been switched. 

Interestingly, she does not look pleased to be the one still standing and conscious. Her closed eyes make her look sad.  Does she mourn the monster's rampage which is now over or can she not bear to see the monster's defeated body? She is still portrayed as sexy, which leaves room for attraction.

Close-up of  the figures.

The title says she "Carried" the monster not "Defeated," "Destroyed," or "Killed." You cannot defeat someone by carrying them. The worst you could do is injure the person's pride. The act of carrying someone shows strength, compassion, and affection. She looks more like his savior by gently carrying the monster above the sharp trees pointed at his body. With this train of thought, the title reads more as "The Hot Woman Who Loved the Monster." Maybe she had enough of the violence from both sides.

Another way she is no longer the victim is by consenting to be in the monster's presence. She is not there by force or by accident. The monster is unconscious or dead so we cannot tell what he wants. We just assume he is like the usual monster who comes into our society and finds attraction in female humans. Usually in werewolf movies, the cursed man bonds with a woman before he becomes a monster. Most of the time, the woman does not reject the cursed man after his transformation. Okay, now it definitely sounds like Beauty & the Beast!

It is questionable if this horror poster woman has become a victor or hero. We do not know if she "Carried" the monster because she defeated him or saved him after someone else defeated him. On a poster, she has not stepped up to a contributing role yet. In the title she is labeled as sex appeal.

What do you think? Do not forget to vote for the shirt design at Threadless! If the shirt is printed, I hope it leads to conversations over horror poster portrayals.

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