Thursday, February 24, 2011

Film, Women and Fairy Tales

Yes, there are a lot of articles about Hollywood's explosion of fairy tale projects. Here are some excerpts from another interesting one. From From fairy tales to scary tales: Hollywood embraces dark fantasies by Liam Lacey:

What’s happening is the guys continue to enjoy fantasies of mid-air acrobatics, gun fights and explosions, while women are attached to supernatural tales of sex and terror.

Looking at the recently minted celebrities associated with these projects, you get a clue to the audience for these new films: Stewart, Seyfried, Hudgens, Gomez, an Olsen twin. They’re all stars to girls and young women. The Twilight movies, which have made almost $1.8-billion worldwide, are the model for girl movies that mark the transition from fairy tales to horror.

According to the Motion Picture Association of America’s numbers, almost half of the movie-going audience in the United States and Canada is under 24 years old (though the total audience is only a third of the population) and a slight majority of them is female, including the horror fans.

For decades, it was assumed that horror movies were outlets for young males to watch girls in their underwear getting chased by masked knife-wielding maniacs. But nowadays women under 25 constitute about 52 per cent of the horror market and studios are increasingly catering to that group. Orphan (2009), written by Red Riding Hood’s David Johnson, is typical of the trend of creating horror films with a female heroine – it stars Vera Farmiga as a mother defending her family from her evil adopted child.

The distance between fairy tales and scary tales isn’t that long in a girl’s life. Particularly successful for studios are scary movies that earn the PG-13 rating in the United States, or parental guidance for those younger than 13. In other words, these are first-date movies. In an Entertainment Weekly story, Mandate Pictures president Nathan Kahane, who produced The Grudge movies and Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell, put it this way: “Girls are driving the ideas for those early dates. There aren't that many social opportunities to be in the dark holding hands, and that's what the PG-13 horror film offers.”

So fairy tales are Hollywood's way of marketing to women? They aren't being ignored? At least not the older ones who spend money. Then there's the recent studies that horror jumpstarts women's libidos and women make up 52% of the horror viewing audience. (Sorry I lost the reference on this computer.) So we have most of these being made into horror type films. This is much more than Twilight influences. Discuss...


  1. Mmmm. It's a very interesting point. However, I don't think its necessarily the horror that the girls see in Twilight, so I don't think Twilight is the best example. I do notice more girls watching horror films. My friends and I went and seen The Roommate a couple days ago (on my blog, I have a review of that) and I did notice more girls there then boys. Personally, girls see the Twilight movies due to the romance part...thats just my own opinion though. But this article does make one think.

  2. Sue Short has a good book about women and horror films and fairy tale influences: Misfit Sisters.