The ongoing popularity of the ‘Halloween’ franchise tells a dark story

The Halloween films turn the terrorization of women into titillating entertainment, with no end in sight.

Halloween is not made for female audiences. The male viewer is positioned as Myers himself in POV shots where young women are spied on, stalked, attacked, and murdered, providing the fantasy of being the voyeur and perpetrator.

Not only are women the targets, but they are disbelieved when they try to warn others. When Laurie tells Annie that the man Annie yelled at when he drove by is now hiding behind the bushes up ahead Annie says, “I think you’re wacko. Now you’re seeing men behind bushes.” The fact that a man who brutally murders two teenage girls continues to get away with his crimes, sends a clear message: females are perpetually vulnerable, their attackers never held to account. More consideration is shown to a dog than to female viewers — the dog Michael Myers kills and eats is mentioned rather than shown.

Even children are made part of the misogynist male fantasy. As Lynda and Bob are making plans to sneak upstairs and have sex while babysitting nine-year-old Lindsey, Bob says, “First I rip your clothes off… Then you rip my clothes off, then we rip Lyndsey’s clothes off.” Lynda laughs and replies, “Totally.”

The male filmmakers kill off a dizzying number of female characters, but refuse to rid us of the male serial killer who is providing so much revenue for so many, depicting misogynist male fantasies.

What does this say about the ongoing popularity of Halloween, and the “fantasies” that people apparently want to watch over and over again? The thrill of watching terrified women being attacked, chased, stalked, beaten, and murdered seems to provide endless entertainment for millions.

Studies have shown that men and boys enjoy horror films more than women and girls do, find them more satisfying, and watch more of them. A 2019 review of the empirical research on psychological responses to horror films reported that “[m]en tend to prefer very graphic horror material more than do women.”

A connection between the enjoyment of pornography and horror films has been explored as well. A 1987 study found that, for males, “enjoyment of pornography was a strong predictor of the preference for graphic horror featuring the victimization of women, but not the victimization of men.”

Male violence against women and girls is a big enough problem as it is without turning it into entertainment via Hollywood feature films and glorifying male serial killers in theme parks. So long as there is a profit motive attached to this kind of male fantasy, it will be fed.

Source: The ongoing popularity of the ‘Halloween’ franchise tells a dark story

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