Mending Together “May”

A movie like May (2002) is one that feels very distorted, yet makes you feel still quite comfortable watching it with the way the director Lucky McKee films it. Throughout watching it, you’re being dragged deeper into trying to figure out the main character, May, and how the story will eventually pan out as you’re given little subtle hints here and there as the movie progresses. As the audience, you become more and more invested whilst watching because of the curiosity that the film brings about, and the somewhat relatable aspects demonstrated by the story and the characters involved.

It’s interesting to get a feel of the way Harry Benshoff talks about the homosexuals in the horror film context – especially getting to compare to that of how it is today since it was written back in the early 2000s. When he starts going on about the four different ways in which homosexuality might intersect with the horror genre, he first demonstrates that when a horror film includes identifiably gay or lesbian characters, they’re usually in the roles of victims, passers-by, or the monsters themselves. He adds too that usually when these homosexual characters do fall into being victims, their fate might come across as somewhat deserving because of their sexuality; which isn’t exactly the case presented in the film May. Instead, along with the other victims, Polly was harmed by May in order to get her best body part (which was her neck) to add to her human doll creation towards the latter part of the film. I guess this shows that nowadays, the homosexual person isn’t as unacceptable in society, specifically portrayed through media and film specifically. Times are changing, and a lot of the movies don’t stray away from treating them as outsiders as compared to how it was back in the day.

Next, Benshoff goes on with showing the reader that homosexuality is shown in horror films that are either written, produced, and/or directed by one who is in fact gay himself or herself. These kinds of auteurs blend in a sort of “gay sensibility”, as he puts it, to their films be it consciously or not. Another side to this is when the actors themselves bring in their homosexuality into their roles. In this specific movie, none of the actors who played the main characters were in fact homosexual themselves, so it’s quite hard to demonstrate this in the context of “May”.

Then Benshoff goes on about subtextual or connotative avenues when the script or the characters rather are not too “in your face” with their subtleness. I feel that in the context of the film May, at first Polly wasn’t exactly demonstrated as a lesbian right away, but you would hints here and there with her mannerisms around May. It wasn’t until they were intimate that the audience received a confirmation that Polly was indeed gay, which then got even further verified when May visited Polly and to her surprised had been in the middle of hooking up with another female character as well. The movie doesn’t exactly dive in too much to it, but I feel that it somewhat showed the stereotypical “vulnerable female” you sometimes see in characters. Specifically when May was in an even lower low and turned to Polly for any sort of comfort that she could provide even it meant being intimate with her despite the fact that she did not seem to have a sexual preference for females at all from the beginning of the movie.

Last, he adds that according to Alexander Doty  there is the fourth sense that any film viewed by a homosexual spectator might be considered queer when the viewer is on the lookout for possible discovery of homosexuality whilst watching the horror film in general. It also goes with what can be found in pop culture during the period in time. Specifically in the horror film context: “‘complex range of queerness’ circulates through and around the figure of the monster and in his or her relation to normality”. This wasn’t so much seen in the movie May, but is important to understand because it is still relevant to how things are today in society at large.

 

Reference:

Harry M. Benshoff, “The Monster and the Homosexual”

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