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“The Similarities and Dissimilarities of the Young Female Protagonist in both Italian and Swedish European Horror Films .”. Evelyn Beltran. Thesis and Introduction .

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“The Similarities and Dissimilarities of the Young Female Protagonist in both Italian and Swedish European Horror Films.”

Evelyn Beltran

thesis and introduction
Thesis and Introduction
  • Thesis: In European films, the role of a young Italian female protagonist varies greatly when compared to a young Swedish female protagonist role because diverse countries choose to take different cinematic approaches rather than follow a set stereotypical approach.
  • Intro: Generally when the idea of a cinematic horror film comes to mind, the concept of an Italian or Swedish horror pick seems outlandish. When the topic of the iconic young female protagonist role arises it is common to think of the stereotypical Hollywood version as opposed to the European version. However, in terms of European horror films, Italy and Sweden both take a different approach on their version of the young female protagonist in several distinct ways. Through use of the films Suspiria (1977), La Maschara Del Demonio (Black Sunday) (1960) and Let the Right One In (2008), a clear assessment and distinction will be analyzed between the way the young female protagonist is depicted between the countries and their lengthy date difference.
how the young female protagonist is presented through use of color scheme
How the young female protagonist is presented through use of color scheme
  • It is questionable why the respected directors chose to use their similar cinematic coloring and lighting techniques. “I decided to intensively utilize primary colors — blue, green and red — to identify the normal flow of life, and then apply a complementary color, mainly yellow, to contaminate them,” continues Tovoli. “A [horror] film brings to the surface some of the ancestral fears that we hide deep inside us, and Suspiria would not have had the same cathartic function if I had utilized the fullness and consolatory sweetness of the full color spectrum. (Trovoli. L, "Terror In Technicolor: Recalls His Visual Strategies For The 1977 Horror Classic Suspiria.") In this case, Cinematographer Luciano Travoli explains that he chose to use particular colors for Suspiria (1977) in order to grasp the essence of everything that takes place in the film. This makes logical sense because if he had not made Suzy wear light colors and be surrounded by darker colors throughout the film, then Suzy may have been seen from a different viewpoint. Instead, because Suzy carries this light colored aura she is depicted as a noble protagonist whereas Eli from Let the Right One In (2008) carries a dark colored aura which makes her seem ruthless when she is actually a noble protagonist. On the other hand, La Maschera Del Demonio (Black Sunday) (1960) is filmed in black and white so one may find it hard in decoding the female protagonists (Asa) moral standpoint due to lack of color. In fact, it isn’t hard at all because director Bava uses the darker black and greys to his advantage by surrounding Asa leaving her as a stand out lighter colored character. In this instant, it is apparent that the directors take great use of the cinematic approach of coloring when presenting their young female protagonist in order to give her a physical moral appearance that is graspable to audiences.
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How femininity is vital to the Italian young female protagonist: “La Maschera del demonio (Black Sunday) (1960)”
  • A significant difference in both the Italian and Swedish horror films is the grand use of femininity. It is, however, probable that the use of femininity varies in all three films due to the lengthy time differences in film release. In Bava’s horror film he chose to make his young female protagonist (Asa) stand out throughout the course of the film by using close-ups, having her epitomize the essence of beauty even when deformed and having her use her beauty to her advantage in order to use her powers to draw in frail victims. “To this Bava now added a direct approach to historical misogyny and warped religious concepts of femininity and virtue, subjects rarely tackled before except by Carl Dreyer, one of intelligent horror’s strongest influences…” ("Famous Firsts: La Maschera del Demonio (Black Sunday, 1960)")
how femininity is vital to the italian young female protagonist suspiria 1977
How femininity is vital to the Italian young female protagonist:“Suspiria (1977)”
  • On the other hand, in Suspiria (1977) again, Suzy is not a monster but as the young female protagonist she also exemplifies femininity but not as much as her surrounding witch infested faculty does. Surprisingly, Argento takes a more internal masculine approach with his young female protagonist (Suzy) by giving her femininity but making her brave and relentless actions in attempting to find out the secret of the faculty and later killing the head witch stand out more. In this seventeen year gap difference between the Italian horror films, it is evident that the aspect of femininity in the role of the young female protagonist slightly varies.
how femininity is not vital to the swedish young female protagonist let the right one in 2008
How femininity is not vital to the Swedish young female protagonist: “Let the right one in (2008)”
  • Furthermore, the role of Swedish femininity in Let the Right One In (2008) also varies greatly in terms of time gap (thirty one years) from its Italian predecessor Suspiria (1977). Alfredson choose to stray away completely from the Italian version of the young female protagonist in his Swedish film by lacking in femininity and using more masculinity with Eli. Rochelle Wright states “She seems to care little about her appearance or apparel. Her voice is intense and low pitched…Eli behaves in a conventionally ‘masculine’ manner by taking the initiative, setting the parameters…” (Wright 7) While it is cinematically odd for a young female protagonist in a horror film to be depicted as such, it is possible that Alfredson took this approach in order to stray away from the conventional young female protagonist motif.
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Conclusion regarding the similarities and dissimilarities of the young female protagonist in Italian and Swedish horror movies.
  • In conclusion, it is apparent that both Italy and Sweden have some similarities when depicting the role of a young female protagonist in a horror film. They also have dissimilarities such as a great difference in the use of femininity and color scheme that physically help characterize the morality of the young female protagonist. It is apparent that both the Italian directors (Argento and Bava) and Swedish director Alfredson did not choose to use a stereotypical monster figure depiction when presenting their vampires and witches in order to possibly characterize them in a new and unique manner that sets them apart. Furthermore the idea of a young female protagonist in such horror films does not follow our preconceived idea of what we expect (due to Hollywood) instead, she is represented differently but in a way that makes her unique and vital to the European horror film culture.
works cited for images used slide 1 of 2
Works Cited for images used: Slide 1 of 2.
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  • Small, Courtney. "Big Thoughts from a Small Mind: Blind Spot: Suspiria." Bigthoughtsfromasmallmind.com, 2013. Web. 6 Dec 2013. <http://www.bigthoughtsfromasmallmind.com/2013/01/blind-spot-suspiria.html>.
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works cited for images used slide 2 of 2
Works Cited for images used: Slide 2 of 2.
  • "Redirect Notice." Google.com, 2013. Web. 6 Dec 2013. <http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&docid=e9Se8kE7E6y2sM&tbnid=MEBWKL1xULiKoM:&ved=0CAEQjxw&url=http%3A%2F%2Flet-the-right-one-in.com%2Fwoofy%2Fcategory%2Fltroi-film%2F&ei=kwSiUsLgFcm2qQGNgoHICw&psig=AFQjCNEWWFdRd_fGG3HlYNt6mpUJcVwjaA&ust=1386436085137811>.
  • "Redirect Notice." Google.com, 2013. Web. 6 Dec 2013. <http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&docid=Tlq3Zs5tUxdlRM&tbnid=NZWeNmZiY1yvnM:&ved=0CAEQjxw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.reelz.com%2Ftrailer-clips%2F36995%2Flet-the-right-one-in-clip%2F&ei=pgWiUoSqOcahrgHF8oDwDg&psig=AFQjCNFzLeHIrnMqZcU3-o1HRd1CQIFWsg&ust=1386436372075364>.
  • Mora, John. "Suspiria: Sumptuous Scarlet Screams." Grump Factory, 2013. Web. 6 Dec 2013. <http://grumpfactory.wordpress.com/2009/10/28/suspiria-sumptuous-scarlet-screams/>.
  • Mora, John. "Suspiria: Sumptuous Scarlet Screams." Grump Factory, 2013. Web. 6 Dec 2013. <http://grumpfactory.wordpress.com/2009/10/28/suspiria-sumptuous-scarlet-screams/>.
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