The Final Girl

That last post was hard to write.  I didn’t think it was going to end with the massive hategasm it did, since when I started it I had the intent to keep everything safely contained.  Getting to that uncontained point was exhausting and necessary, and thankfully when it was over I had friends to drink wine with and talk to.  Still, I was tired when I got up today but had to get more practical things done.  Then, this afternoon, I had a photoshoot to get to.

I don’t get much work lately.  I used to fit quite a bit of modeling into my free days, but now I’m hindered by a couple of things.  Age, having even less free time, and the two-year gap in my book have all taken me down more than I’d like.  When I do get work these days I’m pretty excited about it.

I knew the theme of this one well in advance, since we’d been planning it for over a month.  Mark wanted to do a horror film style girl-in-the-woods-being-threatened-and-oh-no-she’s-gotten-tied-up-but-wait-she-somehow-freed-herself shoot.  He picked me because a) I do a really good frightened face and b) I have lots of woods near where I live.  The interesting coincidence with him is that he always seems to shoot me ideas that match up with something going on in my own head.  I have a couple of favorite photographers (shout out to Horwitz and Kurc!  My two favorite Johns!)  who seem to be able to pick projects that I can get into not only physically, but also in a deeper mental way.  Is there some artistic ability that allows some people to read models’ character beyond surface appearance?  I think there might be.

That horror film girl who ends up in serious peril but always manages to escape and triumph is The Final Girl.  Carol Clover coined the term in her excellent book, Men, Women, and Chainsaws, and it’s gained traction since then.  It’s one of those archetypes that we see all the time so we need a name for it.  She’s always a bit less attractive and a bit more intelligent than her friends.  (Although the German film Anatomy threw in an interesting twist by having the sluttier prettier girl who *spoiler alert* gets killed be ahead of her Final Girl classmate academically.  I love that movie, but I digress . . . .)  She’s the one that the audience is more concerned about when she winds up in all sorts of dire situations.  She uses her wits to get out of those situations and often to defeat whatever menace put her there in the first place.

After I had finished writing last night, not only did I feel much better, I also had a massive amount of emotional power fresh in my mind to take with me to the woods.  I do a good fear face to start with, but having just thought over the power of actual fear and the strength it takes to handle it and fight with it and possibly even win drove me to be able to slip right into my character for the afternoon.  And it made it fun.  After leaving my writing on a low note, admitting that even though all the events I was remembering had long since been walked away from, I still have shades of them haunting me now, being able to play with the Final Girl figure brought me back up into my usual present day happiness.  Mark got the series he wanted, and I got to end my brooding from the previous night by using all the nasty weird energy to perform as well as I ever have.

We also had a chance to discuss future ideas.  Next time I will likely be an android or be wearing a fur bikini.  I’m curious about how that will fit into whatever’s going on in my life by then.

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One Response to “The Final Girl”

  1. “No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen.” – Minor White…perhaps it is because you choose us that the work is so great.

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