Note: Short Cuts is our new feature in which we consider an image in horror and examine its broader cultural implications. It is not intended to offer definitive analysis but to start a conversation about broader cultural topics related to the genre. We hope that by throwing out a few ideas related to an image that we will start a community wide discussion.
It is impossible to look at the above image and not think of Laura Mulvey’s groundbreaking theory of the male gaze. In her influential essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” Mulvey posits that women are used in media for visual pleasure and that they become sexualized objects through voyeurism. Certainly, this image—of Cherry Darling in Planet Terror (2007)—contains all of the markers traditionally associated with the male gaze, from the spectacle created through clothing to the clear observational viewpoint of the camera. And yet, this reading dismisses the highly charged narrative operating beneath the surface of the image.