At the start of the semester, when we were given the syllabus, I watched the trailers of the movies in the list. The trailer of May caught my attention because it was made not in the usual way a horror film trailer would be made. Instead of the creepy of horrifying music and jump scares, the trailer was cutesy and was like a trailer made for a romantic but towards the end, it showed the possible twist in the movie. The doll and the line “If you can’t find a friend, make one” served as the foreshadowing of what will happen in the movie.
The movie starts out with the introduction of May as a young girl and at such a young age, she was “othered” by the children in her school because of her lazy eye which for me wouldn’t be a big deal but considering that these were grade school students, I can see why they were being immature. But this immaturity led to May having no friends and therefore growing up alone most of the time and she even considered her doll, Suzie, as her bestfriend.
Fast forward to the future, May now works in the veterinary clinic and she still seems awkward and weird having not much friends and is seen talking to Suzie as if the doll was alive. Also, it appears as if she was having a full conversation with Suzie and it was as if the doll was talking back to her, which the audience doesn’t hear. The movie progresses and she meets Adam and they go out for a while but ends up getting dumped for her weirdness. She then seeks comfort in Polly her co-worker who is outright flirting with her in the office. However, this part was a bit confusing because I thought that Polly was just flirtatious in nature and is using May to do favors for her. Again, she ends up getting dumped and she finally loses it.
Initially, I thought Suzie would be the monster because she was straight up creepy and her glass gradually breaks and having watched The Conjuring and Anabelle, I thought that there was demonic presence trapped in the box. Instead, Suzie serves as a metaphor or symbol for May’s sanity and when the glass box breaks, so does May. May then transforms into the monster given the next steps she took.
Harry M. Benshoff discusses in The Monster and the Homosexual the meaning of queer and it can be defined in two ways. The first one pertains to how May is othered because society finds her different either because of her lazy eye, weirdness, awkwardness, or basically how she interacts with the people. She is also portrayed in the movie as someone who is weirdly fascinated with certain body parts of the people she interacts with. The first time she approaches Adam, she puts her head against his hand and was caressing it, which is not a normal way or our usual custom of saying hi to a person. However, she knows about her weirdness and accepts this.
The second meaning is concerned with homosexuality itself. Most of the time, gay and lesbian characters in horror films are given the roles of the victims, passers-by, or monsters. Similar to the present, homosexuals are “othered” in horror films and even in society and in early horror films, homosexuals are often killed or become victims because of their gender or sexuality but as seen in May, the “otherness” isn’t that extreme anymore. Polly, a lesbian in the movie, was killed in the movie not because she was a homosexual but was killed because May was fascinated with her neck. This shows that the “othering” of the homosexuals are being lessened and is gradually becoming more and more acceptable in society.
The movie can be compared to the horror classic, Frankenstein, since May did similar things and created her own doll. The main difference is that by experimenting on giving the non-living life, Frankenstein was able to create a terrifying monster but May, on the other, while trying to piece together her doll, made herself the monster because of the means she did to make her doll. She killed the people who hurt her and got the parts she wants from them.
To conclude, I enjoyed the movie May although I feel sad for her because she ended up growing along because she was “othered” for her lazy eye, a very minor thing. I think what contributed to her being weird is the way she was brought up by her parents because from what was shown in her birthday party, her mother seemed uptight and off to me. Basically, May is a sad story about a girl not having friends and went through extreme measures to have one. In the process, she ends up hurting herself and hurting others.
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.