Monday, 14 August 2017

There's Something in the Water

I am quite happy to admit that generally throughout my life I have always been a very anxious person. When I was little I used to worry about my house catching fire and how my window was too small to fit a mattress out of to jump on to. I also used to anxious about giants. As an anxious kid I tended to wake up a lot during the night to worry about things, and in the dead of night I now know I could hear my heartbeat pulsing in my eardrums, but I would imagine this was a giant coming up the stairs(?) to murder me. I would like to say I got better as I got older, but I am still an anxious person. I don't just ruminate on adult things like work or being late, I will still lay awake at night and think about nuclear bombs, or how exactly I would feel if each of my loved ones died.

The last thing you would expect an anxious person to do is watch horror movies, but the comfort of being able to guess what is happening, the formula, has always appealed to me. Plus, when I am worrying about someone on a screen I don't have to worry about anything in real life.

In Jaws, Chief Brody is an anxious person. Brody worries about the ocean, and boats, and his kids getting eaten by a shark that may not even exist. I've always tried to model myself after Brody, a quiet worrier who doesn't want to cause a fuss. In one of my many midnight musings I started thinking about how anxious Jaws made me, the pronged terror of the abyss, the lack of land. It's not just Jaws, its underwater all together.

Jaws 2
I am not a swimmer, I cannot even say "I'm not a strong swimmer" because I'm not a swimmer at all. I am a Brody. I hate the ocean, I hate lakes, I hate boats and boat rides at Disneyland. I hate the feeling of seaweed on your foot and the way the water makes the sand, the floor, rush away from you at a speed not revealed by the calming woosh of the shore. I hate pebbles that conceal the sea's weirdest creates, I hate eels and the thought of them looking at me. But do you know what I love? I love a water creature feature. A formula to stick to and stop the anxiety. If I cannot be on the water, at least let me watch other people having a bad time with it too.

There is quite literally a water nemesis for every fear you may have. I love Jaws, of course I do, but I also love some weirder shit, the weirder it gets and the more I can imagine this happening to me. Let's have a look at some lesser loved underwater creature features.

Orca: Killer Whale
Orca: Killer Whale is one of those films that people will say it's "so bad it's good", which is bullshit because Orca: Killer Whale is a fantastic story of revenge and maybe my favourite underwater creature feature. What makes Orca stand out is the fact that instead of siding with humans there is no doubt that this orca is the one in the right, a tale of revenge told from the point of view of a grieving parent, a widow with a grudge. Only this widow is a whale, and he will stop at nothing to make them pay. 

The end battle of the film is stand out piece of cinema, man and whale facing off to the death. Richard Harris plays the gruff and rough-around-the-edges sea dog who has wronged the whale, seemingly Harris understood the script enough not to make his character sympathetic. The end battle where he yells in frustration "what are you?" shows that his character never really understood what he did wrong and because of that he must pay. 

Wrongly lumped in with Jaws spin-offs, Orca: Killer Whale is a stand alone film with something to say. Sure, maybe it is pretty goofy on the surface to see a whale cause a whole gas line explosion from the ocean, but considering the true life story this was based on, the heart behind it is astounding.

Piranha II: The Spawning
Where as O:KW made us sympathetic to its monster, some films take a completely different approach. Jaws never killed just to eat, that's what makes Jaws so scary, the shark was just killing for pleasure, leaving body parts maimed but not chewed. Jaws was the embodiment of evil, and that's why it will always be the best. It doesn't matter if you have a shark expert and a fishing expert with you, Jaws is smarter.

Some underwater beasts are not so smart. In Piranha II: The Spawning the titular Piranha's from Dante's excellent first instalment have left the lake, made their way to the sea, developed wings and got hungry. In the forgotten James Cameron (yes, really) horror, these fish will stop at nothing for a midnight snack, and even in this instance you can understand the reasoning for their descent onto the hapless resort inhabitants. Fish gotta eat, it just sucks these babies can fly now.

Piranha II followed a very similar formula to Jaws with entertaining results. Set on a beach resort in a gentile paradise, only a few plucky residents (hello Lance Henriksen) are taking the impending doom seriously. You have the greedy resort owner and a plethora of seriously weird holiday makers in the mix. What Jaws really succeeded at was having the strange residents of Amityville Island being just as entertaining to watch on land as they were getting eaten in the water, and this sequel took more than a generous cue from this. 

Plankton
The good thing about making your monster from the sea abyss is that you can literally do anything you want and no one can say it's unrealistic because really, do we even know what is lurking down there? What delicious unknown delicacies are sperm whales going to the depth of the oceans to find? What creature was such a throat to the blue whale that is became so big? What are these weird alien looking beasts that keep washing up on shorelines

Plankton, also known as Creatures from the Abyss is a feverish descent into a neon and bubblegum hell as unsuspecting teens board an abandoned yacht, only to find there is a species of contaminated plankton that is turning everyone into mutant fishbeasts, out for nubile blood.

The film is up there with some of the most bananas effects I have seen in cinematic history but the real clincher is the fact that I had never even considered plankton to be something to worry about. Granted, I am not likely to start doing plankton experiments and accidentally unleashing evil, but then again to the anxious mind, you never know.

Island Crabs
And maybe whilst we're on the subject of weird fears, watching a giant crab dismantle an entire beach front condo is up there with one of the worst scenarios I can imagine happening to me. Thankfully I will always be too broke to own a house, let alone prime beach front real estate. 

Creature features sell you on a concept, they tap into a fear you didn't even know you had and play off of it. Is an unconvincing huge crab with big foam pincers really threatening? Not at all, but in the murky midnight beach it suddenly becomes a terror. Really that is the beauty of films isn't it, taking wires and exoskeletons and turning them into fantasies that stick with you.

Piranha 3DD
How about playing off two juxtaposing ideas to create ultimate terror? Probably my favourite niche water horror genre is theme park attraction horror. First seen in the ingenious and much (unfairly) derided Jaws 3, taking a concept of a safe, fun day out and unleashing hell is something that repulses and draws me in in equal measure. What is better than lifting the curtain of apparent safety and exposing the horrors of the world to children or teens out for a good time? The shark tunnel in Jaws 3 has stick with me since I was little, I think about it every time I go to an aquarium, and really how can you say a film is shit if it sticks with you for 29 years and every shark tunnel you ever walk through, anxious, heartbeat in your ears, waiting for the ambush.

Creepshow 2
Innocence mixed with the inherent evil of dark, murky water is something often explored but never so well as with The Raft, the Stephen King adaption slap bang in the middle of Creepshow 2. The Raft was a source for much nighttime terror for me. I read the story in a Point Horror phase of my pre-teens and never ever forgot it. I used to stare into the pond in our back garden and imagine the scum on the top was corrosive and ready for a human flesh snack. What the water teaches us, with it's unexplored depths is that something as unassuming as an oil slick is out to get you. The Raft is a cautionary tale for what, having fun? Cooling off in the summer? The teens in this story did nothing wrong in the first place and yet they have been chosen to die, because water does not care if you live or die, or if you smoke, drink or have sex. Everyone is fair game.

Sleepaway Camp
Sometimes there doesn't even need to be a monster int he water. Sometimes the water will warp your mind and make you a cold-blooded killer. In summer camp whodunnit Sleepaway Camp, someone is offing the campers one by one, all at the backdrop of a perfect lake. Bodies turn up in canoes, and children are orphaned by speedboats. Water is the central basis for everything leading up to the death of Sleepaway Camp.

Donkey Punch
Sleepaway Camp is not the only film to explore water as a prison, when you are in the middle of the ocean you can be the freest you have ever felt, but ultimately you are a prisoner of your surroundings. This is explored in thriller Donkey Punch, where the film takes place on a small, cramped boat where everyone gets a bit murderous.

Whereas Chief Brody is a prisoner of a shark because he lives on an Island, the girls of Donkey Punch are prisoners too. Donkey Punch plays out a scenario when the "flight" option of fight or flight is taken away. Out at sea there are no laws, and it is certainly lawless.

Friday the 13th
So what can we learn from underwater creature features? That zombies can walk under water, that undead pirates roam uncharted seas, that all manner of creatures are yet to be discovered, waiting to eat us, that Godzilla will awaken from his slumber, that ghosts embody water as much as they do your attic. That no body of water is safe and even drinking it may be bad for you. It's okay to be anxious, movies have always got your back for reasons why you should be.

Friday the 13th








Robyn is one half of Bimbo Movie Bash, an avid fan of Angel Delight and a Pee Wee apologist.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The Other Glass Slipper: A Journey into Disney Direct-to-Video Sequels: Brother Bear 2

YES, I'm back at it again with the direct-to-video Disney sequels. I can never stay away very long. I had an extended hiatus from this project because I couldn't log on to DisneyLife, turns out the page wouldn't load because I had an ad-blocker on. WELL PLAYED DISNEY. Now for my glorious return to Disney form I wanted to ease myself back in with something with high production and short running time. Brother Bear 2 fits the bill, clocking in at just over an hour but retaining the original pine smell. No seriously, I feel like I can smell the pine trees.


Brother Bear 2 starts out with essentially a lads on tour montage. This is a very technical term I made up where two guys pal around without the nonsense or drama of a female body interrupting them. In fact this whole film is about how women disrupt the stats quo, the idyllic life you have created with your bro, and turn it all on its head, turning brother against brother and family against each other (and into near death situations). For some reason Koda has never tried to kill or main Kenai despite the fact that Kenai MURDERED HIS MOTHER in the first film, he's chill with it, what is in the past stays there I guess. Who needs a mum anyway when you have an older brother who is going to take you to eat delicious berries?


Of course things can not stay this much of a sausage fest forever, and sure to his puberty ridden teenage-boy-inside-a-bear body, Kenai is dreaming of his long lost love, who he hasn't seen since he rescued her from a river when they were kids. Now, if there is one thing Disney loves it is ancient traditions, they love it in Lion King, they love it in Moana and they have had a field day with the Elder Spirits in the Brother Bear franchise. Nita, the discussed girl, as to be wed for the good of her village, and to be honest she's not that bothered about it, her suitor is quite fit and her dad is nice. There's one problem though, she is bound by destiny to end up with Kenai, THE BEAR BOY. Mortifying right? You're just trying to live your life and this boy you barely remember who is now by the way, A BEAR, is your soulmate? Not cool. So Nita goes off to sort the mess out, destroy some sort of talisman and go back to her village and marry her fiance.


YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE THAT EASY? Cue a paint by numbers odd couple rom-com as Nita and Kenai realise they DO love each other, even though Nita hasn't seen Kenai since he was a kid and now he is a bear, she is way more understanding and unshallow than I would be in this situation. Of course Koda feels threatened that his mum-murdering mate has now got a girlfriend, and everything goes to shit and I'm sure you can understand how this playing out because we have seen it a million times before. If you don't think about it too much, Brother Bear is a very inoffensive way to spend one hour fifteen. It looks very very nice, the songs are not terrible and there is some MILD PERIL to keep you interested. At once point I thought someone might die, because this IS Disney after all.


There's also a side plot involving some moose trying to chat up some other moose which has the weird claim to fame of being Rick Moranis' last film role to date. I actually really like these moose and it's definitely because of the accent.


So what's good about Brother Bear 2? The setting, mainly. Maybe they had a lot of spare material left over from the original Brother Bear but I've not seen a Disney sequel that looks THIS good. There are sun rays filtering through clouds and cold, icy rivers. The landscape changes from snow to honey coloured first signs of Spring. It's genuinely a pleasure to look at and if there is one place I would like to go it's the American wilderness to experience this for myself (and hopefully not get eating by a bear). The bear animation is great, I like how all the bears have different colours limbs for some reason. The voice acting is convincing and the score is cinematic enough. Would I watch this again? No probably not, but then I am old and I can never get past in the first Brother Bear where Kenai kills Koda's mum. If I was a kid I probably wouldn't even realise this was a sequel and was just a continuation of the original, that's how well it matches to the first in style and substance.

Overall I've not been impressed with the Brother Bear films to be honest. I only watched the first one recently so I've never been the intended target audience. The littlies will enjoy it.









Robyn is one half of Bimbo Movie Bash, an avid fan of Angel Delight and a Pee Wee apologist.

Friday, 11 August 2017

August Trailer Round-Up

I just went on a trailer binge watch and I got so excited for so many films I thought I would write down my initial thoughts here and come back once I've seen then to see if my gut feelings were correct!


What's your favourite Texas Chainsaw sequel? Mine is Next Generation obviously, but each individual films brings something new to the franchise which is why it's (mainly) a solid body of work. There is something about corn fields and dusty dirt roads and abandoned barns that is so sinister, it instantly conjures up an imagine of Leatherface swinging his chainsaw around in the first glimpse of sunlight. Leatherface is a prequel to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I have got to be honest, I love a prequel. This trailer has weird bunny suits, lobotomy, Lili Taylor and Stephen Dorff so I am absolutely on board, it looks like a well thought out if generically crafted horror movie, and we've never really seen baby Leatherface before so I can wait TO BE HONEST.




I think Black Swan is one of the best modern horror films and I'm excited to see Darren going down what looks like some sort of devil cult thing? Extremely Rosemary's Baby vibes. I know we cancelled Jennifer Lawrence a long time ago but I guess no film is perfect and also (Dale Cooper voice) hellooOOOOoooo Javier Bardem! Even if this film turns out bad, which is I am highly doubtful of, at least we've always got that amazing poster. 




Sorry for being so late to the party with It but the more I see the more it just looks perfect. We all love Tim Curry as Pennywise but let's face it, the It mini series was an absolute mess, like I seriously doubt any film has ever looked so dated as that one does.
nice ponytail dickhead
So the reboot is extremely welcome. Plus, if someone has managed to make head or tails out of what feels like the longest book ever then kudos to them. Not only is the source material tricky, but we've all seen It before, so making it scary is another hurdle. There are bits int he trailer that are very bog standard horror, but I really like the low-fi atmosphere and the 90s era setting. Kids fighting monsters are always a winner with me too.


Were you even really alive last year if you didn't get absolutely suckered into Stranger Things? Did it really need a sequel? Stranger Things could have been a legendary stand alone piece of media, like American Football's self titled album, but the open ended finale meant this was always coming back. The trailer is stunning, probably my favourite of the year, with Thriller over the top of it. I'm verrrry interested to see where they take this next, but I just want poor little Will to catch a break, you know?










Robyn is one half of Bimbo Movie Bash, an avid fan of Angel Delight and a Pee Wee apologist.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Farce of Female Led Action Movies


Letterboxd recently did a site-wide participation thing innocently titled 'Wonder Women'. A simple task, choose your favourite fictional lead characters - but they must be women. I'm sure you can guess who was at the top, here's the full list anyway. This planted a seed in my head that came into fruition yesterday after I got out of the very mediocre Atomic Blonde at the pictures.

Atomic Blonde
I am sick of having to give a film a chance, my money, my time, because the maker has been gracious enough to make their male written, male designed character a woman. Is the decision to make a main character in an action film a woman a hard one? Not if you don't have to bother with any of the you know, feelings or conflicts that come with including their experiences, as a woman, in their character! You can achieve this by making the lead an icy, unemotional robot. It's totally the easiest way to absolve yourself from any and all sexist, misogynistic tropes in your film without having to actually put any effort in. It's embarrassing. It has to stop.

We are thankfully living in an age where issues around diversity are more and more important (don't go wild now, we've still got a really long way to go). The MTV awards no longer distinguish between actor and actress. Some women are now bigger, bankable action stars than their male counterparts. If you think about it, if you think of solid action blockbuster stars now, who comes to mind? Scarlett, Charlize, Jennifer Lawrence? The woman action star has seeped into public consciousness, from films started in the 80s these have only grown stronger, now this is the norm. But, not too much the norm. because you still have Ghostbusters 2016 causing a massive shit storm. We can't ever step too much out of line or we will be put back in our place (probably by having our nudes leaked).

Return of the Jedi
Because of how liberal we all are now, it's actually quite hard to have a discussion regarding the fact that women are constantly naked or in costumes their male counterparts would not be wearing. If you hate the scene with Leia in her bikini, isn't it you who is really the sexist? Let's get things cleared up once and for all, the issue is not with nudity. I am all for an actress doing a nude scene or wearing whatever she wants, as a big fan of eroticism, softcore, pornos, I would be a hypocrite otherwise, but the difference is whether a movie really has a requirement for this. The male gaze is a hell of a powerful thing when it comes to making movies, it dictates nearly everything that ends up on the screen, because practically everyone making action movies is a man. 

A camera pans up a woman, nude or in a skintight outfit. We've already suspended disbelief that a woman needs to wear next to nothing or a skintight catsuit to fight, that she needs to be wearing heels, but the camera's lecherous lingering on her body is always present, and you know what tells you, as a woman? It tells you that you might be invited to this party, but it's never going to be for you. Not really. Why do you think women like Thor more than men do? Because Hemsworth is treated to the male gaze in every film. Thor is a superhero movie, but it was never intended for men (a conspiracy thread etc etc).




Even our beloved Ripley, championed as a bastion of feminism, the character that thrust female-led action into the limelight, has to fight her final boss in her underwear. If you type 'Ripley' into google, 'Ripley underwear' is the second search result down. This was no accident, this was not the naivety of Ridley Scott here, this was intentional, making the unattainable, professional captain of a ship and reducing her to her nipples and tiny pants. Because how else are you going to get the rewatchability if you don't have a scene to come back to? I have always found Ripley's reduction to eye-candy to be the most bizarre tonal shift in a film.

Catwoman
You cannot open a discussion on women's roles in action films without tapping in to the wealth of female superhero characters and their mistreatment. Superheroines as a form of media have always been flawed, created as a way to sell comics to girls, or more comics, since we are used to getting involved and obsessed with male-centric media (what choice do we have?), their adoption by men came at a cost, skimpy outfits, rape scenarios, what's more thrilling than a strong woman being stripped of her power? It's a tantalising concept (there's enough rape fantasies involving Supergirl on porn sites to attest to this market), but what happens when this crosses over into big blockbuster media? Mainly the above pose, or a variation of it.

Dark Knight Rises
The Avengers

This is a very specific pose saved just for superheroes, because they can do it during battle but it still shows their subservience to the male-gaze and the audience. You can have as much ass-kicking as you like, but the women are not shot to be powerful. These women will use their sexuality to get out of sticky situations, but they still play right into this rape fantasy at the same time. 

Superheroine costumes are always a hot debate, there is no shame in enjoying an outfit constructed for a character, but it's always worth remembering, why are they fighting in corsets? Is it really that comfortable to fight in heels? When Jurassic World came out the biggest stink caused mainly by male viewers was the fact that Jessica Chastain wore heels throughout the film. Jessica Chastain in Jurassic World is maybe the only time it's been acceptable for a woman to be in a perilous situation and wearing heels. Chastain's character was not a crime fighter, her character was a PR exec for a huge company who dressed appropriately for an ordinary day in the office. The fact that she was thrust into a situation where she has to fend off dinosaurs is neither here nor there, I don't see many women wearing work boots the office. So why is this criticism not levelled at superhero movies? Maybe it's because Chastain was never portrayed as a desirable woman in Jurassic World. Sure, she is beautiful but her sexuality was never the intended focal point of the film. Perhaps if a woman is not there to titillate then she shouldn't be wearing heels, and she deserves our scorn for daring to do so?

Sucker Punch
Sucker Punch, a film I hate so passionately it almost hurts, gets away with its blatant fetishism of young girls, vulnerable individuals and misogynistic with the ol' SATIRE label. Sucker Punch might make you upset or feel weird and gross when you're watching it, but that's totally the point, get it? Sucker Punch's main plot points revolve around multiple rapes, forced sex work and running around in lingerie or school girl outfits, but it's fine because the director is IN ON THE JOKE, GUYS. I don't buy it. Snyder should be ashamed of himself for marketing this as an empowerment film when everything screams towards it being blatantly sexist. On top of that, it's just not a very good film anyway, it's boring. Maybe Snyder was making a wider commentary on the fact that women being abused but still "having the power" because they hold a gun is boring, but I doubt very much he is that clever. 

Atomic Blonde
Often what goes hand-in-hand with a female led action vehicle is fetishised lesbianism. I am all for more lesbians on film, I am here for every representation of queerness in mainstream cinema, but why do lesbians have to have it so bad? A lesbian sex scene is not for lesbians. Not in porn. Not in mainstream cinema. Lesbians in movies exist entirely for male satisfaction, again, because why wouldn't they with such a dire lack of female directors? Lesbians are not even here to enjoy each other in indie films, and then once they have been exploited one of them will probably end up dead. Hollywood has a problem with lesbians, but not with their naked flesh.

Blue is the Warmest Colour
Black Swan
Sometimes a film will come along that will break the mould and hit all the right notes, and surprise surprise that film is directed by a woman. D.E.B.S is a spy/action film based around four teenage girls. It's actually all a construct to tell a story about two girls falling in love, and it works so well that you would be hard pressed to find a person who has a bad thing to say about it. You would also be hard pressed to find many people who have watched it, because D.E.B.S was a schoolgirl outfit wearing, lesbian kissing story that was marketing to women. Completely dismissed by the wider public, it exists in it's own universe, it's a beacon of hope that no one yet has managed to come close to.

D.E.B.S
Female action leads can differ wildly from their source material. Often taken from graphic novels, anything interested is stripped out of the character to make room for love interests or something equally boring. Let's look at Aeon Flux specifically. The Aeon Flux cartoon was great, a dominatrix espionage centred around a character completely in control of her surroundings. She was a cartoon but she was always shot as the one in power. Sexy on her own terms which happens to also be sexy to us as the audience. Aeon Flux was weird and appealed to everyone who was weird too. 


Sounds like a good thing to turn into a movie, right? I guess, if you want to do this to her:


What's funny is Charlize is wearing more clothes than the cartoon, but how she is portrayed throughout is anything but empowered. Floating around a half-baked universe with an even more undercooked story, she is not in control of her own destiny within the film, they tell her where to shoot and she does it. Aeon Flux tried to get by on it's promo shots of Charlize in spandex with guns, butt in the air, no jagged edges, everything safe, but it wasn't enough to save the film from being a flop. And you know what gets blamed when this happens? Female characters. It's so perfectly corrupt and unfair that this is the reason is has taken so long to get Wonder Woman up on the big screen. Got a shitty film that's underperforming? It's obviously because men don't want to see a female led action film. Which is completely unfair to women and men, because that simply isn't the case. Look at Alien, or Terminator and Kill Bill. If a woman can adopt and see herself in Harry Potter, of course a man can do the same. It's absolutely laughable when you really think about it.

Because of Aeon Flux, because of Ultra Violet, because of Tomb Raider time and time again action films with women in are axed, and that's being generous, that's just action films with a lead who happens to be female, one that includes the experiences of an actual woman? The chances of that ever reaching you on Netflix are even slimmer.

Mr and Mrs Smith
We all watch films to escape into a fantasy world, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with fancying a person in a film, everything is geared towards you wanting them or wanting to be them, so it's what you're supposed to do. But think for a second if the fantasy wasn't to fuck someone, but the fantasy being portrayed was success, or kindness or any of the traits that make me love the human race. Imagine what we could inspire kids to do if instead of seeing Harley Quinn punched in the face they saw She-Hulk doing her lawyer shit. Is that only boring to us now because we are so conditioned to seeing faceless 'bad' guys being killed, that our thrill comes in waiting for the nip-slip out of that costume to come that never happens? Are we not worthy of more as a species, and especially as women, to get some fucking complex backstory over here? I want an action lead who smiles and cries and is strong and sexy without having to ever prove herself, who doesn't have to step into an army crew and arm wrestle to gain respect, I want to live in a world where women can just be and that there are so many more of us up there, different races and identities. Maybe we can achieve that sometime in the future.

Ghost in the Shell









Robyn is one half of Bimbo Movie Bash, an avid fan of Angel Delight and a Pee Wee apologist.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Mythology of the Prom

Carrie

There comes a time in every self respecting teen movie's life when the main character is going to have to go to prom. This is a big deal. Or not, depending on who we are following. But prom is a big deal to somebody or we wouldn't keep getting the obligatory prom scene chucked in to every teen movie. What is so mystical about this one night? The night when you can definitely lose your virginity, or the one night you're all on a level playing field, because let's be real, everyone looks just as ridiculous as each other. There's no such thing as brands when it comes to prom dresses, you either all buy from the same store in town or you get a weirdly shaped one off ebay and call it a night. The obsession surrounding the night can only have been heightened by what we see in the movies, was there really so much emphasis put on this one night before? Prom is a pretty new phenomenon in the UK, we just had school discos for a long time, but like Halloween we've been lathered into a frenzy over this decidedly American tradition.

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II
The biggest draw of the prom scene is the ability for film makers to inject a sense of excitement into a movie without even having to do anything. As soon as prom is announced you know a) there's going to be some good dresses and b) there will be drama. It's a given that a prom has never ended as sweetly as the characters in the film have dreamed. Prom is about settling scores, getting laid and possibly maiming or murdering along the way.

Jawbreaker
This is no better realised in Jawbreaker, as long suffering bff and like, totally misunderstood popular girl Julie realises that she can take down queen bee Courtney, free the school of her tyrannical rule AND absolve herself of murder in the time it takes to put a crown on Courtney's perfectly coiffed updo. And what a spectacular fall from grace it is. As the most popular girl in school is exposed the fantasy curtain for the whole entire spectral hierarchy of teenage popularity is torn down for that brief moment before another girl can take Courtney's place. The resulting breakdown and shunning of her peers is not only satisfying but slightly terrifying. There's nothing worse than not fitting in.


Isn't that what we all strive for in the end? Even the most unconventional end up at the prom. The Lacey's, the Kat's, the weird Shakespeare girl. For one night only get your picture taken as a princess.

The Loved Ones
Sometimes the need to have a perfect night can be too much pressure for one person. You know how the best nights out are the ones that just end up with you drinking a pitcher of woo-woo in wetherspoons dancing to literally no music, rather than the hen do that's taken five months to organise? Now you see where I'm coming from. In The Loved Ones poor, deranged Lola is so desperate for that perfect prom that she's forced to recreate it at home, an outcast at school it's only in the safety of her own home that she can guarantee she will be prom queen, even if it means abducting a few prom dates here and there. The reliving of this night isn't even a rare occurrence. In Never Been Kissed Josie repeats an entire year of high school to change her fate, stranded and covered in egg on prom night. To be fair, her dress was not hip at all.

Never Been Kissed
In her quest to be popular, to not be the hideous outcast she manipulates an entire student body, and even kids on a teacher that he's in love with a high school student. It's the kind of wild immaturity that would see someone decide to go back to school, but it's reflected through a much more wholesome prism in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. Despite the duo's infectious optimism that on prom night they will no longer be fat or weird, it takes them ten years to finally make the popular kids eat it. Romy and Michele show that every dog has it's day, and what is a high school reunion other than an extension of the prom? Hook up with your high school crush, marriages are void once you're back at school.

Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
Let's not forget that prom can be terrifying. Your senior prom is your last blow out before college. The jocks will be rendered useless as explained perfectly by Trent McNeely in Can't Hardly Wait, the nerds will have their day. This is the last night of these girl's lives that they will ever fancy someone under the age of twenty, and everyone knows it. 

Mean Girls
Prom night will make or break friendships and that is a fact. In Mean Girls Cady says the tiara is "just a piece of plastic" but that's not quite right, is it? This has never been about a piece of plastic, this is about social standing, dining out on being a princess for the summer, something to help you get into a sorority at college. Only the most fortunate can say the crown is meaningless. It means everything. 

Teen Witch
In Teen Witch Louise is nothing but horrible to her best pal Polly, and this never gets resolved, not even at prom, where Louise is carried off on the stronghold of popularity as Polly is left in the dust to wonder what went wrong. I used to hate that ending, but now it just seems like the movie is telling you the truth about your highschool friendships. You can pretend to be whoever you want to at prom, but where does it end? At the kegger? At graduation? On your wedding day? Life is just full of constant days to look forward to, and really maybe prom is just preparing us for this endless cycle of glitter and bitterness. Maybe Polly is the true winner, as she is able to let go.




Robyn is one half of Bimbo Movie Bash, an avid fan of Angel Delight and a Pee Wee apologist.