Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Inside Amy Steel

“Keep clean during your menstrual cycle.”

Today I was on the elliptical listening to this months' best gym mixtape (Duel of the Fates and the Lea Michele/Melissa Benoist cover of NewYork State of Mind on repeat for an hour).  I was clicking through the cable channels when I happened upon Sandra Lee wearing a buttercream and yellow Stepford Wives apron.  She was fixing some Costco spinach and tomato wraps into tortilla chips to go with her shitty edamame guacamole dip (why she didn't just buy the Costco tortilla chips is beyond me) and it all got me thinking about feminism.

Gays can have a complicated relationship with feminism. One minute, they're watching Real Housewives, the next they're not holding the door for ladies and grabbing at their behinds without consent while using the B-word. Tricky. I don't think this exists so much in the horror community. We worship our heroines.
Last week I touched upon how, in my mind, horror movies have always been pro-women and gays.  Even though the real world is unforgiving, women always manage to come out on top in the end of a horror movie.  That’s why I love them! And there’s no better Final Woman to kick us off than Miss Amy Steel from Friday the 13th Part 2

There’s a reason that this is the scary movie they watch on Halloween in Mean Girls - it’s amazing!
I can’t pinpoint why Friday the 13th Part 2 works so well.  It doesn't have the tightest story in the series; it's not the most phantasmagorical nor does it bother to abide by any of the rules of space/time continuum.  Yet, there’s something special about it - a movie brazen enough to feature a Shih Tzu called "Muffin" as a protagonist. 
It certainly doesn't hurt that Friday the 13th Part 2 has the highest gay to straight ration of any of the Fridays (be it the hot gay in the wheelchair or the hot gay with the slingshot who was on Million Dollar Listing last year or the blonde maybe-gay with the clipboard…). 

Maybe it’s the fact that it opens with a twelve minute art film prologue starring Adrienne King and a cat; or maybe it’s the comedy stylings of sexy beanpole Stu Charno playing scenes in a loincloth – or it could be the fact that the entire cast seems to genuinely enjoy one another.  Whatever the cause, this movie is magical.

While there’s genuine power in objectification (just ask Matthew Bomer), Amy Steele is not a feminist in the Showgirls/Megan Fox sense of the word.  She's the kind of feminist who wears flats and refuses to brush her hair; the type who only owns sports bras. 
Amy (an unabashed ginger) is a developmental psychologist tomboy who decided to work at a camp for the summer.  You know, to practice.  

Arriving late to her first day of Counselor Training in her vintage red bug and sporting a clashing pink peasant skirt to show off her field hockey physique, Amy knows how to make an entrance.  She's self-assured and bold. Despite her ethereal demeanor, within two hours Ms. Steel manages to exert her charms at every turn and has all the boys eating out of her hand. Feminism.

Like all strong and independent women, Amy knows the importance of taking a minute to enjoy a good drink.  Accordingly, she hauls half the counselors far away from the cabins of Camp Crystal Lake and to the safety of the local pub where she proceeds to get hammered and talk about the psychological shortcomings of men.  A girl after my own heart! 

She waxes poetic about Jason's emotional well being.  Preparing to enter her last semester of grad school, Amy intuits that Jason must have survived his drowning and must still be living in the woods like a feral animal all these years.  Then she calls him the R-word. Tough love. I like it. A good final girl always thinks on her feet.

Like all stars who refuse to be confined to gender-stereotypes, Amy certainly knows how to make good TV.  When she’s in her final showdown with Jason (in one of the tightest ten minute sequences in the entire franchise), she pulls out every stop.  I’m talking costume changes. She falls out windows, she trudges through streams, she wields chainsaws, she communes with rats, she even pees her pants - a Stunt Queen through and through! 

Amy Steel is the only Final Girl who commands Jason to kneel at her feet before killing him - and he complies! Who says horror movies aren't feminist?  I don't recall Amy Adams getting General Zod to bow down in that Superman movie and that cost a lot more than Friday the 13th Part 2!!
Let us sleep tight knowing that for every disposable movie where women are treated like props to service reductive straight male wish fulfillment, there is a Friday the 13th Part 2 out there. Thirty years have gone by and we're still talking about it.  Who's on top and who's on bottom now?

FaggotyAss Drinking Game - shooters any time you see a closeup of someone's hands or feet (just make sure you don't have any place to be the rest of the evening).

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