It is not every day that we see the words “Horror” and “Romance” to classify a film especially when the romance stems from a character falling in love with the creature or monster that enters the film into the horror genre. However, this is exactly what the film Spring did. By integrating Horror and Romance along with science fiction, the storyline was able to achieve a different experience in terms of unconventionality and uniqueness. In Jancovich’s Genre and Audience, three levels of culture authority were mentioned with one being the most applicable to the Spring film. “One cultural position identifies genre with popular film, and aligns itself with an art-cinema which is either seen as ‘free’ from gene or else as subverting the genres of ‘mainstream commercial cinema’” (Jancovich, 1992).
By integrating Horror, Romance, and Science Fiction in one film, I think that Spring was able to achieve this disruption in mainstream cinema. Avid horror fans will probably take one look at Spring and would denounce it as not being scary enough. However, I think that the film was able to arrive at the horror aspect through the unknown. For the better half of the film, there was substantial build up as to what Louise could be. The film was not stingy with the scenes wherein they gave a taste of Louise’s transformations but it was only until she revealed it herself that the audience was finally able to understand what she really was. On the other hand, the film also successfully integrated romance into the plot by conveniently crafting Louise’s character into a beautiful, likeable, and equality intellectual character who seemed independent and very hard to get.
Feminism and Patriarchy
In the film, I was able to see the overarching theme of feminism through the main character herself. Louise was a strong and complex female lead that could hold her own. She was independent throughout the whole movie and she knew exactly what she was worth given all her years of experience. It is through this strength that she was able to reel in Evan, who fell head over heels for her and was willing to do everything just to make her fall in love with him. Upon learning of Louise’s true form, Evan tried to persuade her to give up her immortality for him and at first, Louise did not want to. She knew that her immortal life was not worth giving up for anyone or anything and especially not for love.
This empowerment through casting a female lead was also cited by Director Jonathan Demme who stated that “I’d much rather see a strong story with a lead character as a woman than the lead as a man. Because the odds are stacked higher against the woman” (as cited in Jancovich, 1992). Through this we can see that Louise’s character in the film and her genetic make-up is all vital in illustrating her superiority over Evan and even over some of the other male characters in the film. First, Louise uses Evan to get pregnant in order for her to keep her immortality. In the morning after their intercourse, it was Louise who left Evan alone showing that it meant nothing but a part of the process in her regeneration while Evan was already slowly falling for her. Next, there was also a scene with the tourist who intended to use Louise for a good time but ending up having his penis eaten off. In this scene we can see that what the man would have used to take advantage of a woman who he thought was incapacitated was stripped of him to show that Louise, or the woman was clearly in power in that situation.
Overall, I think that Spring crossed boundaries in terms of being able to combine numerous genres into a single film. Ideally, Horror and Romance don’t usually sound great together but I think that the production was well done and the characters were well thought. It was a refreshing take on the “forbidden love” trope that we usually in mainstream cinemas that tend to get overdone or cheesy. I especially appreciated the attention to Louise’s character in making her strong and independent given that we don’t see a lot of empowered female characters in the horror genre.
Reference: Jancovich, M. (1992). Genre and the audience: Genre classification and cultural distinctions in the mediation of the silence of the lambs. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/349696/_Genre_and_the_Problem_of_Reception_Generic_Classification_and_Cultural_Distinctions_in_the_Promotion_of_the_Silence_of_Lambs_