Violent Femmes: The Ongoing Popular Relevance of Psycho-Biddies and Hagsploitation Heroines

deadline for submissions: 
February 9, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Dusty Perez / Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
contact email: 

Violent Femmes: The Ongoing Popular Relevance

of Psycho-Biddies and Hagsploitation Heroines

 

Dusty Perez

Jessica McKee

Taylor Joy Mitchell

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

 

SO what is a copy of Jane Eyre doing popping up in a character’s BnB-headed suitcase halfway through (and quickly, but long enough to have an impact that gives birth to questions as to its placement) a throw-away moment in first-film auteur Zach Cregger’s 2022 horror hit Barbarian? The sturm und drang at the heart-–or subterranean hearth of tunnels and mazes– of Barbarian plays out as a tense playpen of clichés and new application of maternal tropes pathologized as the dichotomy of biological women vs. psychological woman. This edited collection aims to connect the drips–the iterations of how the female bodily functions are used in Barbarian to demonize its villain (we would classify her as a Heroine-Villain). These connective traces occur not in Brontë’s proverbial attic, as a glimpse through a keyhole through which insanity and corporeal evidence are “contained”. Indeed, the Heroine-Villain uses the controllable point of entry—or orificial/body part facsimile– to blast through any attempts to view her yet lock her away. Because she is the instigator and deliverer of violence as she is used by Cregger (also the screenwriter) to rely upon the wrinkled, hag-biddy-derived freak show sight of how she wields her body as both weapon and caricature of maternal nursing and cradling, new (basement) ground is being broken not only for the horror genre but for the empowerment of women’s bodies that own and exploit every naked wrinkle. That we accept our biddy-hag as the actual lead and plot instigator forms a dichotomous impact we’re torn between– should the aging female body be-cast as classically horrible, or can the actual horror begin with what we sense when we stop nursing? Our chapters will argue that biddy hags are actually well-aged heroes in villainous skin-deep drag.

This edited collection from Dusty Perez, Jessica McKee, and Taylor Joy Mitchell, professors at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, aims to raise as many questions as it seeks to answer—starting with the ways and methodologies of how and why the female body became the biddy hag villainess in cinematic iterations as a way in to a continuum of biddies. This is a deceptive entry, as the psychobiddy herself will prove to be. Our forced

entry into hagsploitation media will actually begin with JoAnn DeTore’s examination of Grendel’s mother in Norse mythology and elsewhere (notably in John Gardner’s 1970 re-telling of his Grendel / Beowulf myth. Other iterations may be explored but are not limited to other multi-media appearances of what we are dubbing the Violent Femme Psycho-Biddy, or Hagsploitation Heroines (and occasionally heros). That the Psycho-Biddy needs a continuum of iterations across various media and as not necessarily grotesque on the surface forms a major tenet of this call for submission abstracts. The Hagsploitaion trope can become a heroine as long as there is a dark side to hide ot exploit that empowers as much, if not more, than its horrific impact engenders, beyond a wrinkle or hatchet with an arched brow. Chapters can examine and analyze themes and tropes from the following examples (and these are intended to be a jumping-off point for your chapter in terms of exemplifying content as thematic inspiration):

Chapter Abstracts of 350 - 500 words should be sent to Dusty Perez at perezm2@erau.edu or oharalives@gmail.com OR Jessica McKee (mckeej4@erau.edu) no later than Feb. 9th 2024. Acceptance soon to follow with chapter drafts due by April 30th 2024. Keep in mind that this will be a collection across the disciplines: film analysis, literary criticism, and multiverse genre-mixing (including poems) all are welcome and expected. We anticipate acceptance by Lexington Books by March 24, 2024.

 


 

GENERATIONAL TRAUMAS, EMBODIED culminating in psychobiddy hagsploitations.

Some ideas for starters or places to jump from: (your ideas are of course welcome as long as we see ‘pycho-biddies’ or their legacies in hagsploitation-filtered action). Chapters will range from 15-25 double-spaced pages MLA Style with citations and Works Cited once your chapter is accepted:

 

· WHEN THE BIDDY IS DADDY DEAREST: Ari Aster’s The Strange Thing About The Johnsons

· WHO’S THE PSYCHOBIDDY BOSS: The Interchangeable Monster in The Johnsons

 

· “I WILL NOT BE IGNORED, DAN!”: Why We Miss Alex in Fatal Attraction & Its Alternate Ending

 

· Silent Hagsploitation: Silent Cinema and the Aged Feminine Trope: i.e. Sunrise’s Janet Gaynor as the opposite of Femmes, Fatale, Violent, or Otherwise; Ari Aster’s Silent Short Munchaus

 

· “X” vs. “Pearl”: Hagsploitation-In-Training’s Prequel

 

· Toxic Masculinity / Barbarian

· Toxic Masculinity / Midsommar

· The Generational, Prettier Biddy: Hereditary

· Bride Of Frankenstein Elsa Lanchester & Wizard of Oz—Margaret Hamilton

 

· Flannery O’Connor’s Polite PsychoBiddies or Hagsploitations-Lite: Mrs. Turpin in “Revelation”/ The Grandmother in “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” / The Mother in “Everything That Rise Must Converge”

 

· Tennessee Williams’s Mother-sploitations The Amanda Menagerie / Suddenly Last Summer – [Mrs. Venable’s undoing in the face of her accusations to her niece of insanity & the proposed cutting of memory via lobotomy] / Streetcar: Blanche becoming a “PSYCHO-BIDÉ” through madness, loss, and titular—earning the title of -- promiscuity

 

· Williams’ Poetry: Hagsploitational Biddification: “Kitchen Door Blues”; “Life Story”

 

· WHAT, THAT DAMN ATTIC AGAIN?! À LA ARI ASTER / JANE EYRE / TOYS IN THE ATTIC / A BINARY: ATTIC = INSANITY, THEN BASEMENT = ITS OPPOSITION?

 

· The Psycho-Hag Locus Solus of Grendel’s Mother

 

· A timeline/Continuum Beginning? Margaret Hamilton’s West Witch as heroine/like a boss, deriving back to the Mother Of All Witches, The Witches in The Scottish Play and the random example of Witch Hazel (also green) from Bugs Bunny: “MO-THER… Eeee-heee-hee!

· Jennifer Lawrence / Octavia Spencer: MA-s Cinematic Biddies Out Of The Psycho Ward and Into The Arc

 

· The Lodge: Ending: Colin Firth film (Apartment Zero: a male psychobiddy assuming a hotter male (toxic?) guise

· Being lodged by horror & hagsploitation expectations

· Ibsen / A Doll’s House

· Ari Aster’s dollhouse / real house blurring, especially at the end of Hereditary: elongated shots also compressed to resemble passages or oblong rectangular corridor passages.

 

· A HAGSPLOITATION HEROINE / PSYCHOBIDDY CONTINNUM EMPOWERMENT THROUGH PSYCHOSIS/INVERTED HEROINES / ASSUMPTION OF EVIL IDENTITIES and APPARENT CLICHED TROPES: The Evil Drag Skin-Deep

 

· BARBARIAN: The Triumph Of The Crone and Her Bodily Needs, Deeper Than Skin: compared to male-usurped male physical spaces such as Meat Loaf Scene in Fight Club

 

· WHO’S AFRAID OF JANE EYRE?

 

· JUDITH ANDERSON; SAME-SEX DESIRE RENDERING WOMEN INTO PERCEIVED MONSTERS; The Children’s Hour / Hellman

 

· Suppression and Release: BLANCHE du BOIS at the end of STREETCAR (“These nails will need to be trimmed, Doctor”).

 

· BETTE DAVIS as Maxine Faulk in Broadway’s NIGHT OF THE IGUANA compared to AVA Gardner’s film hornybiddy

 

· KAREN BLACK, “Trilogy Of Terror”: A TV Pretty Biddy Driven By Psychosis

 

· WHERE ARE THE WOMEN OF COLOR DEPICTIONS?

 

· (When the femme/monster is our mirror): PEELE’S “US” / LUPITA / THE STRANGE THING ABOU THE JOHNSONS

 

· WHEN THE BIDDY IS YOUNG, PSYCHOTIC, and PRETTY FLUID—OR MALE: Tell-Tale Heart: Freebie and The Bean: William CASTLE’S HOMICIDAL

 

· ** PSYCHO: Norman Bates’s Cellar / Barbarian’s cellar passages

 

· WHEN THE HAGSPLOITATION IS VERBAL

· The Women’s (1939) “Kennel” Wordplay compared to Virginia Woolf’s psychoverbal biddy as spoken horror upon unspoken horrors

 

· BABY JANE: TO START AS IF TO START/ HUSH HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE

 

· THE PSYCHO-BIDDY STEPMONSTER’s special niche: The Lodge

 

· NANNYPRETTY BIDDIES: The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

· REBECCA Judith Hamilton / Joan Fontaine hagsploitation projection

· The Innocents

 

· ALL IN THE VIOLENT FEMME-LY: PLAY MISTY FOR ME’s JESSICA WALTER

· The Crazy Bee-Yatch Gets What She Deserves? Midsommar /The Crazy Bee-Yatch GIVES What (He) Deserves

 

· THE MISSING CHILD: WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF / Liz Taylor, Bette Davis’s Now Voyager: The Biddy In Reverse

· WHEN THE MISSING IMPOSSIBLE CHILD MATTERS TO THE MATER “Our Son”

· BETSY PALMER in Friday The 13th: “My son”

 

· WHO’S AFRAID OF PATTI LuPONE Patti LuPone: Mothers As Psychobiddies Across Genres: Musicals, TV Series, Cable Shows, Beau Is Afraid

 

· JOAN CRAWFORD, QUEEN OF THE EMPOWERED PYSCHOBIDDIES

· Strait-Jacket with Bette Davis’s later ‘Hagatha’ films in comparison / literal grotesque child-hag vs. ‘hagatha’-lite or ‘pretty-biddies’; Betsy Palmer can be the development link of this, and that then segues to Octavia Spemcer

 

· MOTHER HAGSPLOITATIONS / why are many of these example mothers?!

· Blame It on Psycho Mama, Biddy or Otherwise / THE MOTHER, THE GORGONS Mona, Toni Collette, Beau Is Afraid

 

· ** WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT MRS. BATES / MRS. LOOMIS (Scream 2)

 

· Hereditary (2017) the precursor? to The Lodge’s doll houses

 

· “I AM YOUR MOTHER!!” hollering speech by Toni Collette --- lashing out to define female role using hagsploitational means

· EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE’s Michelle Yeoh: “Don’t call me Evelyn…I am your mother”— The Nurturing Biddy Kicking Ass

· Network’s “I AM YOUR WIFE” Respect & Allegiance – Beatrice Straight

· ** Betsy Palmer: The Mother of All (Pretty) Horror PsychoBiddies in FRIDAY THE 13th

· The Biddy Revenge of Octavia Spencer’s “Ma”

· TONI COLLETTE, Our Reigning ‘Pretty Mama Biddy’

 

· BEAU IS AFRAID of His Home-Made Psycho-Biddy: The Generational Trauma In The Oedipal Hero/Heroine (groan)

 

· JANE EYRE: Revisiting The Attic

 

· MISS HAVISHAM: WHAT’S LEFT WHEN A GENDERED RITUAL IS MADE TO FAIL

 

· THE STORY OF LANA CLARKSON AS A (PrettyBiddy) CAUTIONARY TALE

o Bio-Doc Essay of “Barbarian Queen”/ Lana Clarkson, Roger Corman, Phil Spector