Faculty Mentor

Dr. Jennifer M. Barker


Horror film has gone through many different cycles since the beginning of cinema. The horror genre has an interesting relationship with gender in that violence is always gendered masculine. The rape-revenge film features a victimized woman who seeks revenge against her tormenters (or men in general). The final survivor of the slasher film, termed the “Final Girl” by Carol J. Clover, is typically an androgynous female who triumphs over the (male) killer by adopting his violence as her own. More recently, horror films have formulated terror through depictions of the extensive torture of victims at the hands of a killer. Elements of each of these sub-genres of horror are brought together in the film Hard Candy (David Slade, 2005).

Hard Candy explores the victim/monster relationship, which has evolved past the female victim/male monster standard of horror film. I utilize Barbara Creed’s discussion of the abject and the monstrous-feminine to establish Hard Candy’s protagonist as a site of abjection and queerness within the film. Hard Candy obscures images of abjection through framing, editing and camera movement: abjection is more of an idea than an image. The film concerns itself with boundaries through character, cinematography and editing. Character is intertwined with the abject, but it is also intimately linked with queerness though Hayley’s character. Her fulfillment of the role of Final Girl, avenger and torturer illustrates a mutation of gender beyond a strict binary and opens a queer space within the film.

Cover Page Note

Dr. Jennifer M. Barker Dr. Alessandra Raengo Drew Ayers Niklas Vollmer Symone Symmons Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program