May (2002): The Homo-Horror Film

Gender has always been a complex and sensitive issue within society that lead to the formation of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community.  I have never seen a film that ever featured a lead that comes from the said community, they are usually secondary characters. However, the 2003 psychological horror film May directed by Lucky McKee, was the first film that features a queer titular character, even if the protagonist may not be informed of such a social construct.

May, the protagonist of the film, grew up with amblyopia or more commonly known as lazy eye which caused her to be an outsider as a child. To compensate for having no friends, May’s mother, believing in the saying “If you can’t find a friend, make one” gave her a ‘special’ doll, Suzie, encased in a glass box on her birthday who becomes May’s best friend. Lack of social interaction in her childhood lead to her being an awkward and lonely young adult.

She later becomes attracted to Adam, a local mechanic, and soon starts a relationship. It is shown that May has a fixation on his hands. Most of the first half of the movie is her stalker-ish tendencies towards Adam and his responses towards May’s behavior. With their relationship, it is easy to predict that this might be the normal boy-girl relationship with the doll becoming possessed and causing problems for the two, but, fortunately, it is not. Their love affair did not last very long, as May’s strange behavior was too much for him. Well, if someone purposely bit your lip , and was obsessed with your hand you would most likely leave that relationship, too. May, however, did not give up and got all dolled up to see him again in his house. This was the start of her life spiraling down. He had some friends over and she overheard him telling them that he is glad that he has gotten rid of her already.

After Adam, she starts a short affair with her colleague, Polly. This time May’s obsession with Polly is her neck. After May’s heartbreak with Adam, she goes to Polly’s apartment and sees her with another girl, Ambrosia. This is a second heartbreak leading May to run away from the apartment. When she gets home, Lupe, Polly’s cat that May is taking care of, refuses to come to her when called. Rejection for the third time fueled May’s anger and she exploded, killing Lupe in the process.

Afterward she starts to become delusional, believing that Suzie is talking to her. The glass-encasement keeping Suzie unharmed starts to crack which can signify May’s deteriorating mental health. The glass completely broke when she goes to a school for blind children and the kids want to hold Suzie. This left her completely devastated and was the start of her killing spree. With her best friend gone, she decided to make one and this lead her to kill the people she interacted with and take the body parts she likes on them to make her perfect friend. She first kills Blank, a punk that befriends her and calls her a freak after seeing Lupe’s dead body in the freezer. During Halloween she dresses up as Suzie, then, goes to Polly’s apartment kills her, and Ambrosia. She went on to Adam’s apartment, kills him and his new girlfriend, Hoop.

At home, she makes Amy (an anagram of her name) with Polly’s neck, Adam’s hands, Hoop’s ears, Blank’s arms, and Ambrosia’s legs. The made up doll had no eyes and no way of seeing May which really disturbs her so she gouges her lazy eye out and puts it on Amy. While dying, her creation suddenly comes to life and caresses her face.

Harry M. Benshoff’s article, The monster and the homosexual, talks about queerness in two senses. The first queerness as weird which perfectly sums up May’s behavior throughout the whole movie and the second being, queerness as gender which I will talk about below.

This movie may have 3 or just 2 representatives of the LGBTQ community here: straight (Adam and Hoop), lesbian (Polly and Ambrosia), the third could probably be a queer  who is May. This movie opposes the usual Hollywood heterosexual movie and society’s patriarchal heterosexism. It may be a hard topic to cover since gender is a complex subject to talk about but a horror film is considered a homo-horror film when the film includes identifiable characters from the LGBTQ community. With this movie, it is clearly Polly and Ambrosia. Since May is socially inept, it may be hard to identify her with any of those letters. It is possible to call her queer because as a queer you are one of those letter but you could also be all of those letters. However, we see that she only does care about specific ‘perfect’ body parts of people she’s met.

May could also be likened to Frankentsein because we could identify with the killer or a freak that was created by a mad scientist. They are different, creepy, scary, and freaky but you also feel for them. They are pitiful, and if you have a heart you may also think that they are just lonely creatures that seek companionship and love with which every normal person has.

Overall, it is a quite unique movie that shows the effects of being socially isolated during one’s childhood and how an innocent, love-struck, and lonely girl could turn into a desperate, revenge-seeking murderer when let down by the people who reached out to her at first.

Network, Lori Grisham. “What does the Q in LGBTQ stand for?” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 22 July 2016. Web. 07 Apr. 2017.

Benshoff, Harry M. The monster and the heterosexual. N.p.: Horror, The Film Reader, 2002. PDF.

O’Flinn, Paul. Production and reproduction: The case of Frankenstein. N.p.: Horror, The Film Reader, 2002. PDF.


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