Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Third Annual FMS Scarelicious October Movie Series - Movie #1: Teeth

The first movie of the Third Annual FMS Scarelicious October Movie Series is Teeth!

In the shadow of the nuclear power plant, a young family enjoys the beautiful day on their front lawn, recently married adults sitting on lawn chairs, sipping cocktails, young children splashing in a wading pool.  Little Brad, at most 5 years old, fumbles around and says to his baby step-sister Dawn, "Now let's see yours."  A moment later, Brad is squalling bloody murder: the tip of his index finger has nearly been bitten off.  Fifteen or so years later, Brad is a surly, tattooed and pierced young man, still living at home, listening to death metal and treating his goth girlfriend very, very badly.  Dawn, on the other hand, has grown up to be a sweet, pretty girl.  She is thoughtful around her mother, who is now sick with cancer; she's polite and kind of a dork, the enthusiastic spokesperson for the chastity-pledge club, of which she and her besties are ring-bearing members.

Things change for Dawn when new kid Toby transfers to school.  Toby is also in the chastity club but he and Dawn find each other irresistible.  Making out, they are confused about what they're feeling: "This doesn't feel wrong."  But a pent-up Toby can't control himself: he and Dawn struggle; she gets hit on the head; while she is woozy and uncomplaining, Toby forces himself inside.  She wakes up screaming ... and soon Toby is screaming too, his disco-stick bitten off to a stub.  He runs, hollering and bleeding profusely.  Poor Dawn doesn't understand what's going on - their sex ed class textbook has been edited so that she's never even seen a diagram of what women's private parts look like - and later, she can't find Toby when she looks for him.  Well, she finds a little piece of him, but that's it.  It just gets worse for Dawn as she tries to comprehend what's happening to her body.  A skeezy gynecologist doesn't help matters - and pays the price - but gives Dawn a name for her condition.  As the movie goes on (only 96 minutes), Dawn starts to take control of her body and of her awakening sexuality.

I'm not sure I'd call Teeth a horror flick: Dawn is no monster, but nearly all the men in her life are so you're rooting for her.  It's not even that scary (perhaps for the menfolk it might be, I suppose) because after the initial Toby-experience, you know exactly what to expect.  The concept is based in an old, cross-cultural myth, ostensibly begun by men who feared women's sexuality.  Sex makes you vulnerable and the VD myth underlines that.  What I liked the best about this weird little movie is that it was played straight, no camp, no winking at the camera.

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