Observing changes in gender and sexuality in slasher film franchises

Newby, Brian
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University of Delaware
The connection between horror and gender is nothing new. The context of psychoanalytic feminist film theory lends itself to the discussion of gender within the films themselves, but treats the films as a universe in and of themselves without any connection to society. The question I am asking in this paper is whether or not there are changes in the treatment of gender and sexuality in slasher films over time. If changes are observed, how do these changes reflect changes in the treatment of gender and sexuality in society? By using a reflection theory approach and a “doing gender” approach, I will discuss how changes in these films reflect changing social attitudes towards gender. I will do so by making observations about the autonomy and agency of primary female characters in these films, particularly the character referred to as the “Final Girl.”