So... Devin Faraci is getting torn-apart on Twitter and on his own website for posting (well, more for posting and being enthusiastic about it) a "no texting during the movie" bumper from FrightFest (horror movie festival) that is, to put it mildly, pitch-dark stuff.
I'm not going to embed it here - not because I believe in "censorship" necessarily but because I DO take things like "Trigger Warnings" seriously and I'm not comfortable putting it up where someone might click it without wanting to. But, this IS one of "the" movie-geek discussions of the day, so if you want to see Devin's original article, the video itself and the subsequent blowup in the comments click HERE. (incredibly NSFW, obviously.)
Description of said video (as said, Trigger Warning) and some thoughts after the jump...
The basic idea of the clip is as follows: A woman is texting during a movie. The guy behind her asks her to stop. She blows him off. He stabs her in the back of the head with a pencil, killing her (this is, I stress, a horror movie festival dedicated to the extremes of the genre - think "A Serbian Film.") He then unzips his pants and proceeds to perform a sex-act on the stab-wound, literally climaxing with his semen running out of the dead girl's mouth and onto the screen of her smartphone. The End.
Do I have a problem with this? Kind of, yeah.
I'm not against shock-art, and I don't think the overriding idea of the piece (a bloody version of the "dont text or something bad will happen" bit because it's a horror festival) is out of bounds at all. And, while I'm at a loss to imagine HOW it could ever be done "right," I suppose that if every other form of horrible violence can be fodder for "fun" horror-exploitation rape is "on the table." And while I don't share Devin's enthusiasm (it's not well-executed, enough, frankly - goes on too long) I "get" where he's coming from in appreciating the sheer audacity of it.
What bothers me about this isn't necessarily the rape (though, obviously, that's unpleasant as all hell and goes on WAY too long for it to have any hope of being "clever" or "funny" in even a black-comedy way) but the misogyny behind it. Yes, naturally, male-on-female rape is always automatically misogynist in nature... but the conflating of it HERE with "don't fuck up our movie-watching experience" angle and the "girls are the ones who theater-text" stereotype puts a (likely unintended) extra dimension onto the whole thing that makes it feel like her "crime" was less specifically texting and more being a woman in a traditionally male space - i.e. "stupid girl doesn't know how to act at our Hardcore Horror-Geek FilmFest" with rape/murder as a "put her in her place" corrective.
I'm not saying that was the INTENT of the filmmaker, but it's how it comes off - so, yeah, in that context I can see why people reacted so negatively to the way Devin presented this.