Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Slashers and Back Roads

A Final Girl as defined by Carol J. Clover in her book 'Men, Women and Chainsaws': The final girl is a horror film (particularly slasher film) trope that specifically refers to the last woman or girl alive to confront the killer, ostensibly the one left to tell the story. 

The final girl is typically sexually unavailable or virginal, avoiding the vices of the victims (sex, narcotic usage, etc). She sometimes has a unisex name (e.g. Teddy, Billie, Georgie, Sidney). Occasionally the Final Girl will have a shared history with the killer. The final girl is the "investigating consciousness" of the film, moving the narrative forward and as such, she exhibits intelligence, curiosity, and vigilance.

I'm diving into another round of 'Final Girl' this week, based on notes from my collaborator, Noel Baker (Hard Core Logo). Killer first act. Nasty, fun third act. Guess where the problems are? Yep. Second Act. But I look forward to it. It's chance to fix plot holes, flesh-out motives, speed up the pace...and knock-off more characters. In other words, more layers to this blood-soaked layer cake. For obvious reasons, that's all I can reveal about this script. There is Movie Central development money behind it.

The script is brimming with sex and violence - dismembered limbs, buckets of blood, and gratuitous pantie shots. But under that (the surface elements, not the panties) is a sly sense of humour and 'girl-power'. It's also about small towns.

Growing up in Saskatchewan I can identify with my female protagonist. Small towns and two small cities - the isolation, repression, and all the other plights of being on the prairies. My childhood is haunted by racists, gun-crazy hunters, drunk hordes of football fans, John Deere caps, old high school chums and endless stretches ofunlit gravel back roads. And above all - the fear that one will be eternally trapped in a rural wasteland dying of boredom and routine. But the best of the slasher medium is all about confronting our fears with humour, absurdity, and over-the-top sensibilities. Final Girl taps into that, turning a tired genre on it's head. You may have noticed there is a blogspot in the sidebar called Final Girl. No relation, but check it out if your a slasher genre fan. It's fun to read.

Now, onto that second act.

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