My film-school education came to bear the other day as I came across an Entertainment Weekly article that mentioned "vagina dentata." It brought back a rush of unwelcome memories.
"Vagina dentata" appears in the myths of several cultures, notably several North American Indian tribes, and means, literally "toothed vagina" in Latin. Those with a linguistic background among us might have gathered that by now. Actually, pretty much anyone with a vague understanding of how Latin works might have figured it out, too. It speaks of the fear in men of sex, because... well, let's not get into that.
Anyway, I'm not all that comfortable writing about this because the whole subject scares the tar out of me, but here's the story: when we discussed the theory in class, we discussed in terms of movies that are not apparently sexual to the casual observer, but metaphorically, they positively reek of sex. A lot of horror movies are made this way. The movie we chose to use for our discussion this was Ridley Scott's Alien, the movie that essentially moved him up from a promising newcomer into the ranks of one of Hollywood's top directors.
Now, I love Ridley, but Alien has not withstood the test of time well. It came out in Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, and hasn't had the advantage of having George Lucas go back in 300 times to redo all the special effects. It's a little hokey. But it does still have the general horrifying aspect of an alien attaching itself to your face and laying eggs inside of your stomach that grow up to be a huge alien and explode out of your stomach while you're having dinner with your fellow astronauts. That aspect has certainly not lost its terror - for me, at least. Maybe you're immune to that sort of thing. Sicko.
Anyway, the article in question was not talking about a film like that. The article was talking about this film.
So, I guess, this whole post ended up being an argument against going to film school, huh?