The realm of horror provides a creative space in which the breakdown of social order can either expose power relations or further cement them by having them persist after the collapse. Carol Clover proposed that the 1970s slasher film genre—known for its sex and gore fanfare—provided feminist identification through its “final girl” indie invention. Over three decades later, with the genre now commercialized, this research exposes the reality of sexual and horrific imagery within the Hollywood mainstay. Using a mixed-methods approach, I develop four categories of depiction across cisgender representation in these films: violent, sexual, sexually violent, and postmortem. I explore the ways in which a white, heterosexist imagination has appropriated this once productive genre through the violent treatment of bodies. This exposes the means by which hegemonic, oppressive structures assimilate and sanitize counter-media. This article provides an important discussion on how counterculture is transformed in capital systems and then used to uphold the very structures it seeks to confront. The result of such assimilation is the violent treatment and stereotyping of marginalized identities in which creative efforts now pursue new means of brutalization and dehumanization.
Samantha Eddy is a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Candidate at Boston College. As a mixed-race Huron-Wendat woman, questions of consumerism, culture, and power have guided her activism and academic interests. She studies these subjects through the lens of popular culture, media, and subcultural spaces. Beyond that, she engages in community-based activism for Indigenous rights and seeks to bring Indigenous perspectives and methods into her teaching. Email: email@example.com