5 Creepy Things Every Horror Movie Assumes About Sex
Sex is a daunting endeavor. Where do you park? What's the dress code? Are you allowed to bring guests to the after-party? These are the questions you must ask yourself before flopping elegantly into a sweaty pit of junk-jackin'. And when you're a kid and just learning about sex for the first time, it's easy to become totally overwhelmed. More kids are killed by learning about sex each year than both shark attacks and anti-vaccination activists combined.
Luckily, I had already gotten a head start on my dick-plunging education by the time my first Family Life class rolled around, since I'd watched a ton of horror movies. Horror movies are filled with sex and metaphors that have to do with sex. But for the sake of this column, we're mostly going to focus on all the stuff that you don't use Cliffs Notes for. This is sex according to horror movies. Scratch that. This is sex according to the experts.
It's Always Preceded By A Quip
Humor is a great way to get people to have sex with you. And this holds true in horror movies. The only difference is that, in horror movies, humor is defined as "any sexually explicit shriek." It's baffling.
If two camp counselors have previously looked at each other and one holds up a basketball and says, "I bet she'd like to see MY big balls!" those two people are going to be tearing at each other within the day. If a woman says anything at all while heading upstairs, it means that her skirt-kraken hungers for sacrifice. There's just something about the combination of supernatural serial killers and simple wordplay that turns groins into magnets. If you're holding a hot dog and you announce, "Remind you of something?" to a girl in the room, prepare to lose every ounce of virginity that the world has. Puns are the most potent aphrodisiac there is.
The idea is that teenagers are always down for sex but frequently forget
that it's an option or how it works.
Horror movie characters also never miss innuendo. They're never hit with the crushing 4 a.m. realization that they'd missed an opportunity for sex because they'd been too busy mentally composing an essay about why The Legend Of Korra is a worthy successor to The Last Airbender, for example. Their mastery of the art of quipping guarantees that it's always clear when it's time for two characters to take their genitals out and disappoint each other.
Unless, of course, these puns are flopping from the mouth of a character that's a nerd or has more than 2 percent body fat. Then he'll have more luck with a microwaved can of tomato paste and the exhaust port of his Millennium Falcon replica. When a nerd starts spouting double entendres, the women and men in the cabin look at him as if he just suggested group suicide. His only option will be to sulk to the nearest electrical device and hope that Jason has enough environmental awareness to shove his skull into it. When a nerd starts thinking that he has the right to compassion and human companionship, he's gone too far.
Caption: Don't get cocky, Shelly, you big, sad loser.
Porn Is Just As Deadly
In real life, porn is the safer alternative to sex. The odds of catching a disease or being murdered by a masked ghost or facing rejection are significantly lower when you're just watching bright colors and tricking your brain into thinking that your hand is a viable mate. But horror films, in their frothy rampage to make you afraid of sex, make no such distinction.
Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter is the pinnacle of movies about masked dudes who hate when teens have orgasms. It takes the stance that you really shouldn't watch porn in a public place or with your friends. And that's a platform that I can believe in. The first time the movie makes this point is when a doctor takes time off from work to watch a video about butts.
After a rousing opening of misguided jumping jacks ...
... three women stand in a circle, lean over, and sway their '80s workout suit-clad butts back and forth. That's the whole video. I lived during only the last year of the '80s, so maybe I'm missing out on a major part of pop culture that was centered around women forming a butt triangle. It could've been as big as "Thriller," for all I know. Leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite '80s butt video was, whether it's "Three Point Butts" or "Isosceles 2: A Butt Above."
Regardless, the dude gets killed with a hacksaw just as he's getting into it, and later a guy named Ted is stabbed after trying to get his friends to watch a black-and-white porn video.
Depression era erotica unexpectedly ruins the mood of the party, and eventually everyone leaves him to either search for a missing person or go have sex. When people literally stumble off into the woods alone as an alternative to sharing your interests, maybe it's just best to put on Pandora and chill for a bit.
Caption: Don't be such a Ted, Ted.
These two are the most shining examples in a long history of dudes getting axed after they've expressed love for nude/butt-oriented media. After being turned down by an actual person, they retreat to their porn with a take on the "At least I have you" punchline, and wait for their eventual murder. Again, "resorting" to porn in a horror movie is just as much of a deadly sin as having real sex. Except, during sex you might get to be stabbed into your partner, the ultimate sign of eternal love when your universe includes an elephant boy hiding in a lake.
"TO DIE BY YOUR SIDE IS SUCH A HEAVENLY WAY TO URRRGH."
It Can Happen At Any Time
In real life, people decide not to have sex regularly. Yes, commenters, even men -- anyone who says otherwise is just publicly admitting that they're under the age of 17.
Horror movie characters don't just lack that restraint, they lack the full spectrum of human urges. "The power is out, someone has disappeared, and a note written in blood was hand-painted on the side of a building" describes an optimal situation for boner-plunging, as does any other sequence of words with quotation marks around them. We've already established that if you take a word and draw any phonetic connection to crotch-attacks, you've sent a signal to every eager person within a five-mile radius that you're ready to mate. Suggesting foreplay or romance is akin to suggesting bugs or roadkill. You're dealing with spring-loaded gonads, and you need to quietly tip-toe around them if you don't want to set off the trap.
Watching horror movies makes you somehow both uneasy and overconfident when it comes to sex, because of the locations that it occurs in. If the closest you've ever gotten to sex is asking a girl to check a yes or no box for going to a sixth-grade dance, Halloween II is like being told that Santa Claus exists, but he only shows up if you can do a hundred pull-ups. For those who have never seen it: A nurse and an ambulance driver have sex in a hot tub.
Well, they don't have sex so much as they just kind of bob their bodies around each other until 50 percent of them is strangled.
Mmm. Yeah. Gotta get me some of whatever the hell that is.
But when you're 11 and can't fathom sex as anything other than a bedded activity between yourself and a Jennifer Love Hewitt who wants to wait until marriage, this is some Advanced Placement Fuckin'. You don't know how to turn on a hot tub or take your shirt off while looking someone else in the eye. You don't even know how you're supposed to align your lower half to get past "Step 1: Make Sure That Both Lower Halves Are Within Walking Distance."
In A Nightmare On Elm Street, two people have sex in a house while their friends are still there. I've been to enough group gatherings to know that, eventually, someone's comforter is going to be ruined by the couple that lives only to have sex and then yell at each other. But watching Nightmare as a preteen forces you to face your greatest fear: that you might have to have sex with someone around. "How could you guys do this? You have guests."
For God's sake, Tina, get off the wall. We have company.
People in horror films have no quandaries with stamping "Sex Ready" on any place with a flat surface. Most of these places are desolate and isolated. You can't sit down without becoming a home to a dozen spiders, and while I'm certainly more open now to the idea that you don't need zoning permits to make a place fit for coitus, I was horrified to become the Atlas of sex knowledge from watching these movies. The kids in my class could joke about it, but I solemnly held the weight of the truth on my shoulders. Laugh it up, guys. In a few years, you're going to have to mouth kiss someone in the woods or a place that's not completely silent. Then you'll find out why I'm so goddamn weird. Then you'll know.
They'll never know.
The Positions Involve Planking
Horror Movie Sex consistently involves such a baffling error in basic anatomy that I'm forced to assume that the most common deformity of the 1970s was "wandering genitals."
As I've mentioned before, the original Halloween is the slasher film blueprint. And not just in tone and structure but in portraying the kind of sex that can only be done if you have junk that unhinges from your body like a snake's jaw. Bob (wearing "I sent a dick pic from a truck stop bathroom yesterday" glasses) and Linda are, like many others, willing to go at it in someone else's house. This is after Bob has already suggested taking the clothes off of 75 percent of the females in the movie, including those of Lindsey, an 8-year-old girl. I hope it was a dialogue slip-up on the actor's part, because I doubt that the director intended to create a bigger villain than Michael Myers in the movie, but you can't be sure. Bob seems like the kind of dude who is way too eager to hear about a girl's marriage problems.
"I'm regret personified."
Bob and Linda go upstairs where they just kind of lie on each other, which is probably a great position if you decide to forgo sex and skip right to the part where you ask "Wait. What did you mean by that?" From 1978 to 1986, it was all the rage to have sex in the same fashion that you stack lumber.
Hot navel action.
We've gone over how quickly sparks fly in this world. At the first sign of a witticism, you rip off your clothing and dive for the closest orifice like a soldier protecting his buddies from a grenade. You'd think that these people would be doin' it in ways that defy speech. There wouldn't be words to explain the writhing pretzel that takes up half the cabins in Camp Crystal Lake. Firefighters would have to use the Jaws of Life to separate everyone that had been the victim of banter that day.
I get that it's hard to shoot a sex scene that isn't the most rigid thing ever. Dramas have shown us that if you try to make a sex scene erotic or unique in any way, you end up with a montage of hands touching outer thighs. The more angles you introduce in a sex scene, the harder it is to conceal the fact that men and women aren't sculpted to have Ken doll flatlands where their junk should be. You have to make sure that the audience finds the actors sexy but doesn't get grossed out by all the anatomy lessons going on. That's why scientists invented Zac Efron, who is disassembled every evening after a hard day of ab work.
But that doesn't excuse the knees-locked boner shrug that occurs whenever a faceless mad man escapes from his asylum or tries to get revenge on the people that left him for dead.
Where is her other leg? Why is he angled to the side? I'm not so sure about this sex thing, guys.
Everyone Is Shitty About It
Most real-life sex involves treating your sex partner with the respect that another human being deserves, primarily because people who treat others with respect have a ton of sex. Horror movies think differently.
Crispin Glover's dance in Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter has been well-documented, because it's a wonder to behold. Every time you watch the movie, you never see it coming.
You think that maybe you previously watched a version that went fucking bonkers all of a sudden and that this one will feature a more straightforward attempt at boogieing. And, every time, Crispin Glover delights you with the moves of a skeleton attempting to rip through its own skin. He jerks around, trying to tell his fellow cast members in sign language, "Help. My skull has suddenly become filled with ants," but instead of reacting in shock, they just watch in amusement as this alien fights every ghost in the room. And then he sleeps with a girl he met that afternoon. And this is all after he complains that he was accused of being a "dead fuck." It's a nice moral.
Afterward, he comes downstairs to his friend and shows off the girl's panties.
Damn, Crispin. I thought you were gonna be cool about this.
In Freddy Vs. Jason, after sex, a guy tells his girlfriend, "BABE, YOU KNOW I DON'T LIKE TO BE TOUCHED AFTER, OK?" with the tone of a man who lists his Facebook relationship status as "Domestic Disturbance." In Rosemary's Baby, after he's just gotten his wife impregnated by a devil cult, Rosemary's husband tells Rosemary that he just couldn't wait for her to wake back up before he started making babies, rather than, for instance, any other excuse ever. "You were asleep, so I raped you" is the alibi that he'd been thinking of for weeks. He was involved with a group that's trying to birth the Antichrist's kid, and that is the best thing that they could come up with. Satan Jr. is going to choke to death while trying to eat his own stupid tail. They're hopeless.
Baby Lucifer deserves better.
Dudes in knifey horror films tend to be divided into two groups: 1) borderline unsexual people with a mission, or 2) bored dudes with a dong. The first are like Dr. Loomis in Halloween, who probably can't get through a dirty come-on without inserting a monologue about the nature of pure evil ...
I spent eight years trying to reach him and another seven trying to keep him locked up,
but it'll only take me a few minutes to slaughter that sweet poon.
... or dudes like Rory Gilmore's first boyfriend in the Friday The 13th remake who could probably muster a few puns but needs to find his sister before it would be socially acceptable to get his stuff wet. They have a greater purpose. They might get to triumphantly make out with the girl who also didn't get laid during the whole chainsaw thing, but sex is something that's not on the table for them. They're too important to lower themselves to the level of the nut-busting peasants.
The bored guys, who are inherently less heroic because they weren't the victim of some prior tragedy or aren't conflicted with some kind of turmoil, are having sex. They're humping towards the cliff.
In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Tobe Hooper's black comedy about the inner workings of the chili industry, the leader of the cannibal clan says, "You have one choice, boy: sex or the saw. Sex is, well ... nobody knows. But the saw ... the saw is family!"
The hammer is a distant cousin. And the meat hook is just a friend.
Not only were these, oddly, the last words that my great-great-uncle ever said to me, but they relate to the horror genre as a whole. You can either engage in lurid, awful sex with mean ol' girls, or you can be driven by some higher power. Horror movies simply can't reconcile having an actual character with getting an erection.
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Learn why the entire Alien franchise is nothing but dicks and vaginas in 5 Terrifying Uses Of Sexual Symbolism In Horror Films, and you'll forever notice the homoerotic subtext in The Covenant after you read The 5 Most Unintentionally Gay Horror Movies.
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