Film theories are like old iPod shuffles; everybody has them, and nobody has a use for them. But I'm still about to force one down your throat (a film theory, not an old iPod shuffle, although hey, there's a use for one). This is partially because I've written a new sci-fi horror novel that's all about punk rockers, acid monsters, and the hidden code that governs the universe, and I'm pretty sure that the marketing people will flay me if I don't do this. But also because this particular theory pertains to two things that are very near and dear to me: horror movies and your genitalia. Allow me to explain ...
The Most Important Attribute Of A Horror Protagonist Is Their Innocence
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The vast majority of horror protagonists are female, virtuous, and maybe a bit naive. There's Jamie Lee Curtis from Halloween, Ashley Laurence from Hellraiser, and Heather Langenkamp from the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Rosemary had herself a baby and Texas had themselves a chainsaw massacre (featuring Marilyn Burns). The two best horror parodies, Scream and The Cabin In The Woods, both had female protagonists. There's a reason for it: All of those attributes -- femininity, virtue, naivete -- are basically just stand-ins for innocence. Because at its heart, horror is all about the loss of innocence, about finally knowing and understanding something awful. Occasionally, we'll just skip all the metaphors and have the protagonist be a literal child, because symbolism is hard.
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"TWIST! My career's been dead the whooole tiiiime!"