Yesterday we delved into the weird world of 70s horror with the classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Some of the students were familiar with the remake and had thoughtful comments about the ways the two differed. The film purports to be based on a "true story" although it's only very loosely inspired by Wisconsin's own Ed Gein, with whom some of the students were familiar.
We read Linda Williams' essay "When the Woman Looks" which links the female gaze to the monstrous, which (among other things) led to an interesting discussion about the "dinner table" scene where the all-male "family" sits Sally down opposite the patriarch of the family, almost as if she were filling in the position of "mother". Though tied to the [literal! ewww!] arms of the chair, she's also given a plate of food (though who'd eat in that house...). We're given another opportunity to empathize with the "monster" Leatherface when his father berates him and the camera's extreme close-up of Sally's sweaty, terrified face make her grotesque, particularly when we get right up to her eyeball. Fascinating stuff!
Today is Jaws, the film that gave us the summer blockbuster and the increasingly maudlin career of Steven Spielberg (oh, yes, I am exaggerating... a little). Miss Wendy, I assume you'll be watching at home: weird thing, but we always seem to always find Jaws playing at the same time even when we're a long way apart.