5 Terrifying Uses of Sexual Symbolism in Horror Films

Sex and film go together like sex and dressing rooms or sex and portable toilets. And a lot of times it's pretty awesome, like in the cinematic tour de force that is Joanna Angel's entire career. But other times it becomes weird, like in Lars von Trier's Antichrist or Howard the Duck. But there's something even more insidious than a Willem Dafoe BJ on a scary tree, or Lea Thompson fucking a duck, and that's the subtle and generally-less-than-subtle symbolism that filmmakers will toss into movies that aren't even about sex.

Sexual imagery is amazing at eliciting a physical and emotional response from a viewer, one that probably mixes arousal and revulsion. Why revulsion? Because penises and vaginas have very clear and defined roles in our lives, and when you start making them do other things (symbolically), shit gets weird. Trust me, I'm an Internet comedy writer. I know what I'm talking about.

#5. Aliens


The most infamous example of sexual imagery run amok is the result of disturbing artist H.R. Giger and director Riley Scott. The entire Alien franchise is nothing but dicks and butts and vaginas that want to hump you into oblivion. It's not enough that it's sexual imagery; it's sexual imagery that wants to hurt you so bad, you feel like you're watching Prometheus.

We've told you before about how the aliens are just giant penises with even smaller penises in their constantly ejaculating mouths, and how the chambers in the alien pilot vessels are all accessed through giant vaginas, but if you try to actually add up all the imagery in just one Alien movie, you'll be up to your neck in labia and foreskins before the third act. Look at the face hugger. It's an ass with a vagina on the bottom and penis fingers. The vagina is actually at the end of a penis that gets forced down your throat once the penis fingers hug your head and squeeze its butt-body all tight against you. It then proceeds to peen-vag your throat so hard that you end up with a baby penis-headed monster inside you that explodes its own birth canal out of your chest.


So ... was it good for you?

The alien Queen has a giant vag chute that deposits gross eggs everywhere, each one a big, green seed pod with huge labia on top. Whenever someone gets close enough to stimulate them, the labia spread wide open. The Queen's tail is a massive dong that rips Bishop in half through the process of penetrating him -- he gets fucked right in half!

The entire franchise is built on a foundation of sexual terror: the fear of being violated by the Other, by something different from oneself, in a violent and uncontrolled way. The aliens are a semi-organized and inexplicably intelligent species of interstellar rapists that will violate you to death and actually use your violation to fuel the cycle by producing another of their kind from your pain. As Alien 3 made abundantly clear with the alien/dog hybrid, the alien offspring is partially born of the genetics of its host animal, meaning your little rapist baby is literally, genetically a part of you. You're not just victimized once, you're forced to partake in the victimization of another generation of victims. That's even worse.

#4. The Predator's Face


The only real reason to have the Predator meet the Alien species is to compare vaginas. The Predator is the ultimate misogynist vagina dentata monster, an advanced alien hunter with unstoppable technology, a pathological need to kill, and, hidden beneath its armor, a screaming, fang-filled vagina mouth that mocks you with the sound of your own laughter and curse words.

Look at the original Predator film: the manliest men in the history of all time, plus Hawkins, with massive guns in a hot, steamy jungle. It's sweat and muscles and massive barrels on the hunt. But the thing they're hunting is also hunting them, watching them as they fumble about through the woods chasing their own tails, learning about them, playing with them until it decides to make its own move and start picking them off one at a time. The entire movie is an "alpha male's" skewed perspective on dating -- women on the prowl, using and abusing men who, despite all their power, still fall victim to the sly and subtle cruelty of the pussy. And that's all it is, it just has a vagina face. There's nothing else feminine about it because the entire female has been reduced to one body part that now has teeth in it.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Fap ... fap ... fap ... fap

At the very end, the most dominant of males must face off directly with the beast, look it in its true face, and finally use his own cunning, fighting subtlety and subterfuge with subtlety and subterfuge, to destroy it. And the final showdown has the hero staring in bewilderment, asking, "What the fuck are you?" because he can't even figure out what the thing he's been after for so long is or what to do with it. And how does it respond? Derisive mockery, followed by an over-the-top explosion. It is the irrational woman making fun of him and then going ballistic.

You may think I'm really reaching here, but so many scenes parallel this hunter/prey sexual relationship, it's uncanny. Consider Mac firing blindly into the woods as he's joined by the rest of the group -- a whole platoon of men shooting their weapons off aimlessly, being led by their dicks, if you will. And when the creature finally does bleed, who notices? The woman. If it bleeds, we can kill it -- its blood is a sign of weakness now. How this movie hasn't caused a feminist film critic to explode is beyond me.

#3. The Starship Troopers Brain Bug


Starship Troopers is a mind-boggling mix of satire, boobs, and terrible acting. It curiously melds to form a very fun movie to watch, just so long as you've had a cocktail or two ahead of time to help ameliorate all the Casper Van Dien and Denise Richards you're going to have to endure. If the two of them got together to perform Waiting for Godot, Godot would show up halfway through and punch them both in the neck.

Against the backdrop of an interstellar war against bugs who, for whatever reason, decided to team up despite being different species and having nothing that appears to be on par with human-level intelligence or civilization at all, we're eventually introduced to the brains of the whole bug operation, the cleverly named brain bug, which is the unit that coordinates bug efforts and seems to have some cunning and military planning skills, so good for him. Also, he's a giant turd with a vagina face that houses a secret splooge-covered stab-cock that can eat brains. That's pretty dramatic.

Darrickphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Go on, push it in real deep. Get a little slimy.

The entire brain bug body is rendered as amorphous and vaguely gross. It looks kind of like CG intestine, if nothing else. Only the face, with many eyes surrounding its terrifying vagina maw, has any definition, and capturing this thing is the biggest coup for the human military in the entire film. Capturing this magnificent space twat is what turns the tide of war and gives humanity the advantage. And how does that even occur? Doogie Howser has to use some goddamn superpowers to figure it out. You need a gay man using government-honed psychic abilities to understand space vag, because otherwise it's not just a mystery, it's a sinister, all-intelligent, and devious one responsible for countless deaths and, somehow, the destruction of Buenos Aires.

Also, if you're caught alone with it, it will stab you in the brain with its Bowie dick and suck your brains out. If it literally fucks with your head, it will then be able to figuratively fuck with everyone afterward by using your knowledge against you. Did the same man who wrote Predator write this? Surprisingly not. But the same conclusion can be drawn here as in Predator -- the vagina is a mysterious hole that will lead to your destruction unless you have superpowers to overcome it.

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Felix Clay

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