The one referred to in this passage was painted gold and had a ribbon tied around it. This is again an extension of the way women are viewed in society. Their reproductive organs are valued the most because of the pleasure they provide and because they represent the ability to reproduce human life. Gein has taken the social construction of female sexuality in heterosexist culture to its logical extreme. This passage also reveals the officer's participation in the crime. When discussing the chair made of skin, the officer reports "it wasn't a good job," and he applies aesthetic values to Gein's work, showing that he has internalized concepts of good and bad workmanship.
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It's not clear why the officer thinks it is not a good job, but the mention of seeing strips of fat seems to indicate that the officer thinks the skin has not been properly stripped of its waste. The ideology that sees fat as waste is important not just for understanding anorexia, but for understanding capitalism. For a capitalist system to run well, everything should be utilized.
Gein used human bodies as if he were running a business. He found a use for each body part so he could minimize waste, and this mentality is mirrored in the officer's criticism of the "waste" visible on the chair. The officer's report notes that Gein had a coffee can he used for putting chewed wads of gum, noting "Gein would never throw anything away" Gein has merely extended the logic of maximizing resources to human bodies. The police reports, which include detailed descriptions of Gein's home and the "decorations" he made, are significant because they mirror the devotion to detail that Gein exhibits [End page 66] in his treatment of the bodies.
That was found behind the kitchen door. I picked it up. I don't know what possessed me to do it" This scene resembles the scene in Chainsaw in which Leatherface picks up a mask he has recently cut off a body and looks through it. The fascination with human skins is not limited to psychopaths. The complicity of law enforcement officials is perhaps best revealed in the way they try to piece together the facts to create a logical scenario. In this way, investigators make people into objects which they manipulate to create a scenario which explains the crime.
Psycho : Taxidermy and the Instability of Patriarchy. Marion's very presence in the hotel and the sexual desire she arouses in Norman makes him nervous precisely because he is not sure what side of his personality his masculine or feminine he should follow. It's interesting here that the violence is projected onto Norman's feminine side. Marion does not really threaten Norman's mother; the fear that she will corrupt Norman is a male fear of female sexuality.
But, perhaps because Gein's mother was supposedly overprotective, Hitchcock portrays Norman's mother as someone who is jealous and suspicious of Marion. When Norman tells his mother that he has invited Marion for dinner, she responds: No I won't have you bringing some strange young girl in for supper. By candlelight, I suppose, in the cheap erotic fashion of young men with cheap erotic minds. And then what?
After dinner - music? As if men don't desire strangers. I refuse to speak of disgusting things because they disgust me. Go tell her she won't be appeasing her ugly appetite with my food and my son. According to Norman's mother and Western culture , women are cheap and bring out the "cheapness" in men as they tempt men to invest in trivial things and distract them from their austere, rational understanding of the world. Marion's appetite then is not just a sign of inefficiency; it is also not aesthetically pleasing. Norman's mother reveals the aesthetics of eating when she refers to Marion's "ugly appetite.
His bird-like qualities are a sign of his "feminine" side coming out. When Norman explains the basis for his interest in taxidermy, he shows taxidermy is a more extreme representation of the way women are viewed in daily life. He tells Marion: I hear the expression [eating like a bird] is really a falsity because birds really eat a lot. But I don't really know anything about birds. My hobby is stuffing things. You know - taxidermy. I guess I'd just rather stuff birds because I hate the look of beasts when they're stuffed.
You know, foxes and chimps; some people even stuff dogs and cats, but I can't do that. I think only birds look well stuffed because they're kind of passive to begin with. Norman says that he stuffs birds because he can't stand to see aggressive animals stuffed. He relies on a notion of nature that arbitrarily divides animals into those that are passive and those that are active. When Norman says that birds are "kind of passive to begin with," he makes a distinction about nature that really has no basis.
Birds are not really any more or less active or passive than other creatures, but his statement resonates throughout the film because it describes the way women are treated. Women are expected to be stuffed birds, and there is a constant tension involved in trying to enforce their "passivity. Norman has found a solution to the problem that women might do something unexpected - he kills them.
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The connection between women and "stuffed birds" is clear in the film. Norman describes his mother as being "as harmless as one of those stuffed birds. Norman has taken the relationships between men and women in everyday life to their logical extreme. Women are constructed as "stuffed," passive creatures in social life, and Norman has made that construction obvious. Tom sounds suspiciously like Norman when he tells Mr. I'll track her and never you doubt it.
His statement also echoes the bargain Shylock makes for a pound of flesh in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice , a play about the emergence of mercantile capitalism. Tom's threat to track her down shows that she is prey, and when a private detective is hired to find her, his [End page 69] threat comes true. In some ways Lilian presents an alternative to the construction of passive women. She hunts Sam down in his hardware store and begins the search for Marion. While in the mansion, Lilian embarks on a search that will become a standard scene in horror films.
She goes into the basement of the house - the very locus of all that is frightening and mysterious. But Lilian is scared at the sight of her own reflection. She jumps at the sight of herself in the mirror in the mother's room. When she confronts the stuffed mother, this is equivalent to confronting herself. She is forced to see that women are denied agency and treated as corpses. Her response is to scream, and Sam comes in to save her. Her expression of helplessness serves to show her limits as a heroine. She might be able to go into the house and even explore the basement, but when faced with the sight of a stuffed body, she shrinks back in terror.
Stretch in Chainsaw and Clarice in Silence face similar situations, yet they don't look away and thus refuse to accept their roles as mirrors of masculine subjects. Flesh for Sale. When Stretch enters the house, she disrupts the aesthetics because the Sawyers consider her femininity a threat to their business. Sawyer expresses the family's standards of taste when he says, "dirty meat don't cut it. Family standards only require the best meat in town. I never, never get a break. Work, work night and day presenting myself to the people, selling, selling. You [Leatherface and Chop-Top] doodle around here listening to the radio all day.
He also disparages Chop-Top and Leatherface in much the same way that [End page 70] working husbands talk down to housewives who work at home all day. For Sawyer, the ideal product doesn't reveal the exploitation and bloodshed of its production. The Sawyers' chili is a perfect example of the way consumer culture covers the violence of commodity production. The chili is made from human flesh, yet it wins awards because of its aesthetic appeal. Sexual desire, which is coded as feminine, presents a threat here in the form of distraction, as Leatherface falls in love to the supposed sterility of the product and becomes an impediment to the Sawyers' work ethic.
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When Sawyer sees Stretch, he calls her "that dirty thing," in terms similar to those he uses to describe the rejected meat. He applies a standard of taste that exists in Psycho and Silence as well. He tells Leatherface, "Sex - you had to find out about it. You wanna know about it. It's a swindle. Don't get mixed up in it. You got one choice - sex or the saw. Sex is nobody knows, but the saw is family. Sex is also not rational - it is what "nobody knows," and this uncertainty makes it threatening.
The solution for the Sawyers is to either preserve their women like they have done with their grandmother or to destroy them. As Chop-Top says "she's in the garbage now. When a woman doesn't acknowledge patriarchal power, this disrupts the whole system which exists only when women passively acquiesce. Stretch rejects her role in patriarchy as a passive supporter of masculine ventures when she faces Leatherface at the radio station.
When Leatherface attacks her, he does so with all the spectacle of a male in heat. He revs his chainsaw, waves his arms, and grunts. At first, Stretch acknowledges his power by screaming. Lefty tells Stretch, "they live on fear," and once Stretch realizes this, she undoes the potency of Leatherface's ability to make his victims frightened. The question of how well one can perform is a constant concern in consumer society which thrives on competition and in a patriarchal society in which men are constantly proving their masculinity. In Chainsaw, the quality of the chili, the athletic ability of the football players, and Lefty's ability to wield a chainsaw are all actions which ask to be analyzed in terms of the quality of the performance.
Feminine subjects are often asked to attest to the quality of male performance. Stretch realizes this is the game she is asked to play, and at first she responds sarcastically, saying "Are you really, really good? You're really good. You're the [End page 71] best. She responds "no good. By saying he is "no good," Stretch refuses to comply with the patriarchal system which relies on women for validation.
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After being told he is "no good," Leatherface destroys the office and slaps five with Chop-Top another sports reference , but the celebration has no basis. Leatherface merely creates the spectacle of power because the dynamics have actually shifted so that Stretch is in control. This is not to say that men can no longer hurt Stretch.
In the final scene, her back is sliced by Chop-Top,  but the mere threat of violence no longer phases Stretch. When Chop-Top cuts his throat in the final scene, he expects her to shrink back in terror. In the original Chainsaw , the Hitchhiker slits his arm to the shrieks of the kids in the van who turn away. To turn away is to recognize the power of horror. In this scene, Stretch is unfazed by Chop-Top's actions.
She looks directly at him. In Williams' terms, she is the woman who looks,  and her final triumph, which takes place in the vicinity of the stuffed grandmother, is a refusal of the taxidermic logic and aesthetics of consumer culture. She doesn't engage in the same random violence that Lefty does. While Lefty randomly chops down beams of the house and makes a moralistic, religious condemnation of the house, Stretch sinks her chainsaw into Chop-Top's stomach without the same spectacle or rhetoric that accompanies male violence.
Her confrontation of the terror that women face in patriarchy is not unlike what Clarice experiences in Silence , a film which presents a similar logic of human consumption and aesthetics. The Aesthetics of Violence in Silence. Silence is a critique of using sight to establish systems of meaning. Relying on vision does not solve crimes except on a superficial level or present an alternative to the violence done to the human body. The apparatus of law enforcement also fetishizes the body in its attempt to solve crimes.
The FBI assembles all the images of Buffalo Bill's killings, but doesn't "see" what motivates the killer. Instead, the FBI treats the human body as an object to be examined in much the same way that Bill does. Crawford keeps the clippings about Bill on his wall as Bill keeps photos of his victims on his wall.
When a body is dragged up from the river, Crawford and Clarice come equipped with fax machines, cameras, and tape recorders. They record all the information about the death and feed the details into a computer to seek out a pattern to the killings. They engage in their own method of serialization as they track the serial killer.
As Halberstam 43 writes, "the camera has framed the victim in much the same way as Buffalo Bill does as he prepares his lambs for the slaughter. Larry Fessenden. Good times! Laura Lee Bahr. The art of the great question is alive and kicking in The Horror Happens Radio show. Dialogue you can dive into so deep you get the bends when its done. Meaningful radio is happening here. He's a true independent and his show is badass. In short: he's magical. Marcus Koch. Mick Garris. Natalie Martins. Not only did he make us feel at ease on the build up to the interview but also knew exactly how to make us feel at ease during too.
Interviews can be extremely daunting but Jay Kay shared such an enthusiasm for our project that he was able to ask us some really interesting, detailed and original questions - there was literally never a dull moment. If you get a chance to be on his show, do, you won't regret it! Pat Healy. This was a refreshingly deep and meaningful conversation on things I hold dear to my heart. Robert LaSardo. Thank you Jay for having such a prolific perception.
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Ryan Nicholson. Todd E. Simply put Stephen Susco.
Thank you, Jay Kay for keeping all us fans in the know! Tom Holland. More like talking to a friend and having a really intelligent conversation about film, the history of the business and its fascinating future. Look forward to doing it again, and thank you for making it such a pleasure. Fun to talk to somebody smart and really interested. Patricia Chica. I had the privilege to be interviewed by him twice and I was very impressed by the level of research and thorough analysis that he had done for my work. It was such a pleasure to answer his questions and go more in-depth during the conversation.
Jay Kay's work is instrumental: he is building a legacy, an encyclopedia and contributing immensely to the horror community with all the archives on his site. Some of these interviews will be historical in the future! When you have a powerful and evolving movement like Women in Horror, you see that impact it makes and the empowerment it releases to the many out there no matter the fan you are.
This parallels to the Horror Happens Radio Show and Film Showcase as it aims to educate, unleash and evolve within horror finding that extraordinary and unique road to travel down. The untapped talent and eclectic visions of these women in every aspect of horror offers the chance to showcase their work on the movie screen for those to experience this journey.