|Friday the 13th (1980)|
I always thought it was funny that Lucy and Ricky Ricardo on I Love Lucy often wondered why they weren't getting pregnant when they didn't even sleep in the same bed. Or why some of the most sexual films still only show the female character nude and the male character half clothed. Or even why you could often divide the romance genre into two categories: its sanitation of sex and its dependence on sex for shock value.
You can debate for hours about the evolution of sex in the romance genre, from the '50s to present day. Of course, its presence or significance in a movie doesn't determine its quality. But it is interesting to note that a genre that probably discusses or at least eludes to it more than any other portrays it the least.
Which is why it's funny that a genre that isn't nearly as sensual as romance perhaps shows it more than any other. I'm talking about the horror genre. Whether it were the promiscuous babysitters in the original Halloween or the oblivious camp counselors in Friday the 13th or even the random acts of sex -- often devoid of romantic context-- that prevail in any number of more modern contributions to the genre, it always seems like its presence is as mandated as blood, darkness and torrential rain.
It could be about the, er, vulnerable positions the characters are in -- leaving them completely unsuspecting as the villain awaits. Or, it maybe it is the generally undiscussed roles that religion and conservatism play in horror (particularly in the '70s but arguable in other decades as well). Is gory murder the punishment for promiscuity or sex outside of marriage? And, on that note, is the absence of sex the answer to an everlasting romance and livelihood, as presented in some romance films? Or does it just help maintain the genre's largely unadulterated image?
|From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)|
Clearly, certain entries in the romance and horror genres represent fantasies that are build on truths as they pertain to the screenwriters or story developers. But with such prevalent trends, you've got to wonder what the agenda is sometimes. What does the presence of sex mean to the characters, to the story, to even the filmmakers? We often balk at the gratuitous portrayal of sex in some films. But is sex used as a tool to humanize or demonize the characters? Is it supposed to enhance the depravity of the movie's themes (which may present a larger discussion on our perception of sex)? Or maybe it's just a matter of human occurrence, used in tandem with the some of the frivolity of horror.
I'd like to hear your thoughts about this. What do you think about the ways sex is portrayed in the horror and romance genres?