The regularity in these movies is, indeed, much of their charm — the enjoyment of seeing, in infinite iteration, the working out of the same immutable law. It’s something like the delight a small child might feel in watching a ball drop to the ground over and over again…
The Friday the 13th series, then, is not really about righteous revenge in a Dirty Harry mode; nor is it a coming-to-manhood. Instead, it seems to me, it’s more like Spider-Man or Superman; a fantasy of powerlessness/power in which the shuttling between identities provides the fluid, sadomasochistic charge. As a viewer, you get to be both the immutable law and the transgressor, the ravening father and the victimized child — or, as the case may be, the victimized woman. That’s the joy of masculinity; the compressed play of gender and identity sliding about in a secret ecstasy of bodies and pleasures, like worms slithering sensuously beneath a mask.
PLUS: an even stranger gay reading of The Wizard of Oz (the standard one never made sense to me — guys, she ends up back in Hicksville…)
Rick Polito of the Marin Independent Journal summed up an alternate — and in my opinion much more appropriate — reading of the film with this sentence: “Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.”
Beyond the colour and movement, The Wizard of Oz is a pitch-dark tale, and, though it sits nearly fifty years away from the AIDS hypocenter, is a remarkably prescient AIDS text speckled with what look to be AIDS “scratchings,” such as how AIDS is always just one letter away from appearing in near-perfect acrostic form via the film’s main character names…
The weirdness continues:
Production on Making Love must have started around a year, then, before the letters AIDS meant AIDS. The film’s script would have almost certainly been written before July 3, 1981, when the New York Times published what has become known as the “birth certificate” of the AIDS epidemic, the page 20 article “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals” referenced above (subheading: “First Appears in Spots”).
Yet, in one sequence in Making Love, a potted history of the epidemic-to-come rolls out in perfect chronological order in one curious moment after the next. The sequence reaches an uncanny climax when the word “AIDS” pops into the center of the screen and hovers above the two gay characters’ heads.
Yeah, there’s a screen shot. Ew.