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Horror behind friendly faces: "Ma" and terrifying subversions of expectations and stereotypes



Terror, as a genre in the art world, has always been about subverting expectations.

It is honestly the main purpose of the horror. Yes, when you look at the genre on a superficial level, being successful at being scary sounds like the main goal of prioritizing. After all, what good is a horror movie if the real horror content can not do its job and scare the audience? It is these expectations that have motivated the studios and horror filmmakers to increase the "frightening" factor to 11 and fill their films to the edge with aggressively executed sequences that prioritize jumps over slow burns. At the moment it can be scary and possibly even scary, but were expectations subverted? Was there something in the movie that encouraged reexamination of personal prejudices or did the movie unfold exactly as expected while feeding the ever-widening range of stereotypes?

By stereotypes, I do not mean the exclusive ones of the horror world. The stereotypes of horror have long been the subject of multiple satires of terror. The stereotypes that the "final girl" is a realistic virgin, the black characters die first or at the beginning of the film, and the characters who have to follow certain rules of the horror movie to survive have already been discussed and deconstructed in the style of Shout, The cabin in the woods, I left, Revenge, and countless other horror movies. I'm talking about the stereotypes that exist outside the world of cinema. Social and racial stereotypes that reinforce the status quo that we have created to believe. These stereotypes often play with our fears and prejudices of the real world, like innate fear of what we do not know. Naturally, we become skeptical of the concept of something we do not fully understand, so horror films that explore that area of ​​fear can make an uncomfortable session of watching movies impossible.

These variables are exactly the reason why I find the concept of the new horror thriller Blumhouse, Momincredibly intriguing At first sight, Mom he presents himself as a very familiar slasher movie that has given us testimony to a group of unfortunate teenagers who find their demise at the hands of a crazed serial killer. It's the kind of horror movie that seems to follow the bloody steps of Hallowe'en, the Friday the 13thth series, and the countless slasher films that have used this widely used formula. Mom deviates from this formula by having the main villain portrayed by an apparently good-hearted woman portrayed by the Oscar-winning actress, Octavia Spencer. With that casting choice alone, Mom It has successfully subverted expectations in a unique and disturbing way. But why?

The presence of Octavia Spencer as an actor does not scream "villain of horror" in any particular way, right?

After all, the Oscar winner has spent most of her career working on her character actress reputation since her first role in 1996. Her roles were consistent, but never remarkable, and it was not until her Oscar-winning performance in the Tate Taylor. Aid in 2011 where Spencer gained general attention.

But even though his career skyrocketed with appearances in the Divergent series, Snowpiercer, and two additional roles nominated for Oscar in Hidden figures Y The shape of the waterSpencer's filmography reinforced a trend with his acting style. To be specific, Spencer was (and still has some of his recent characteristics) confined to the role of a supporting character whose purpose is to help build the story surrounding the main character with a cheeky attitude and sharp wit. . These roles seem to have confined her gradually to the role of the kind friend who only has in mind the best interests of others. Even his co-leading role in Hidden figures He has her sharing her time in front of the screen with two other potential clients (this is understandable, given the real story behind these NASA women). He got to the point where his role in the story could easily be considered a "guy" and when Spencer appears in a movie, it is familiar and even comfortable to see her exactly in what is expected of her today.

Mom It is where it seems that this stereotype is turned over his head.

Spencer takes care of Sue Ann, a veterinary badistant who develops an unhealthy obsession with a group of teenagers she befriends after being asked to buy them alcohol. The obsession turns into slasher violence, as it is strongly implicated that it will cause terror to children and to anyone who stands in their way. There is no undead monster with a machete to run. There is no demon that lurks in nightmares to avoid. The last villain in the movie is someone you would not be blamed for doubting your sinister intentions. Instead of an unstoppable creature that can not be understood, Sue is a familiar person with whom it seems fun to have a beer. The trailer shows her laughing with the children and celebrating with a giant smile on her face. This makes his somber turn unexpected and that is possibly even more terrifying than a high serial killer without emotion.

It is difficult to accept a darker perspective on something that was previously shown in a positive light. We have all had those moments to a certain extent. Something happens completely, or at least partially changes our mind in what we think is the truth. Sometimes the realization is less, sometimes it can be sad and depressing, and in the case of MomIt turns out to be deadly. It is difficult to understand the preconceived notion that a seemingly harmless and off-track person like Sue is such a disturbed person, especially when dear Spencer plays the part. But as mentioned earlier, the horror aims to subvert expectations and this can be too difficult to handle if it is done with the right situation.

Horror is a genre that not only prides itself on distorting expectations, but encourages a change in thinking when it comes to the various issues that the genre has covered. When The wives of stepford It came out in 1975, prompted people to take the time to think about what life is like for the wives of seemingly happy trophies living in pleasant, quiet neighborhoods. The Texas Chainsaw Mbadacre placed most of its horrible contents on a hot, sunny day, bringing the creepy wave of murders to the sun's natural focus. Sematary mascot Y The boys of corn the public made look at young children with a slightly more skeptical eye.

The horror, above all, wants to make us feel uncomfortable with what we are seeing..

Of course, any horror movie with free amounts of blood can inspire restlessness and a possible loss of appetite, but a horror movie that takes something positive and turns it into something spooky and disturbing is the one that is more likely to stay. MomPopularity on social media comes from the description of Spencer's trailer and the fact that there is only something off about seeing a typically friendly face like hers splashed with blood. The blinds are opening to give us a peak inside the mind of a medical badistant who would otherwise be kind and what we will find is something we can or can not understand.

It remains to be seen how much impact Mom It will have a post-launch on popular culture, but the attention that the film has gained on social networks shows that people are interested, if not simply curious to see what "Ma" has under their sleeves. Brightburn just gave us a reason to fear the alien child that we have celebrated in comics for decades and Mom can give us a reason not to be so trustworthy of the "great" strangers who love to party. It is not a comforting idea that our personal worldviews are questioned in their essence, but to begin with, horror has never been known as a safe and stable space.


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