wingedbeast ([personal profile] wingedbeast) wrote2017-05-03 12:17 am
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The Case for Remaking Once Bitten

Note: For evidence of just how suggestable I am, here's the review that spurred this for me.

Maven of the Eventide points out the primary issues, but let me go over them in order to, you know, justify the fact that I'm writing something.

Once Bitten, for those who were blissfully unaware of the 80's, was comedy about the eighteen year old male virgin (allegedly a rarity in the 1980's), Mark Kendall. He is eager to have sex for the first time, with his girlfriend, Robin Pierce. At the same time, he is the target of a lady-vampire, The Countess, who needs to seduce and take the blood of a virgin once a century.

This is a movie that comes right up to an edge of being aware of a whole host of issues with how American society, in general, handles sexuality. It comes right up to that edge and never even glances over. The result is movie that is nothing if not confused. Maven of the Eventide, in the linked video, says it better than I.

To put it in my own words, despite the movie not noticing, all the major players in the movie are victims of how we, as a society in general, treat sex, sexuality, and sex-drives.

Let's start with Mark Kendall. Mark Kendall is an eighteen year old virgin. The movie would have us believe that this is rare. This is not all that rare. Perhaps, I, personally, skew the averages older, but the averages (according to Wikipedia so feel free to correct me on this) run around eighteen or seventeen years of age. Mark, at least partly because he shares the movie's misconception, feels that not having had sex is a point against him, something that makes him a loser. I know how Mark feels. I've been there, which is why I know he's wrong.

On the other side, you have Robin Pierce. Robin Pierce is hesitant to have sex. She has an equally mistaken view on matters, but from the opposite perspective. She believes that her value as a person and as a romantic partner lies in her being virginal and pure. At one point in the movie, she outright states that she is the more desired partner for just that reason. She is also wrong.

Yet, there is a third side. The Countess is every bit the victim as Mark and Robin. Within the rules of the movie, her life is not at stake. She will not die for failure to seduce a young male virgin into allowing her to feed from him three times. All that happens to her is that she loses her looks. She doesn't even lose the devotion of her human servants or vampire followers.

Each of these players has a vision of their value. Mark's value, as a man in society and to himself, depends upon having sex (which he, eventually, will). Robin's value, as a woman in society and to herself, depends upon being chaste (which she, eventually, will give up). The Countess's value, as a sexually active woman in society and to herself, is in her sexual desirability and her capacity to entice young men into sex.

These are three fairly confining roles. They're each obsessed with sex and view sex as their means of establishing and/or maintaining their value as people. And, that obsession, with having, using, or avoiding, does nothing but add anxiety to dominate their lives.

Therefore, the way to do this story right is to acknowledge that reality, for all three of them. This will need some more exposition and deconstruction of the forces that go into each of their motives. That means we need a means of examining more closely as people who want to fit their respective sociological roles. I suggest therapy, or at least some reasonable figure to which each of the characters can converse and, potentially, confide.

With that, we can look into the various characters, their relationships, and even side-characters as the story goes forward. This can also be used for some exposition while, simultaneously, deconstructing what we're expositing.

Specifically, I refer to the mythology. In the movie we have, there's one scene in which Robin researches the relevant mythology of lady-vampires. In that scene, either a librarian or rare-book dealer discusses the mythology and joins in the joke of how rare an eighteen year old male virgin would be. An alternate take would be on how that's actually a counter to the usual way the mythology goes, being the corruption or taking of a virgin girl of marriageable age.

The reason that such mythologies tended to focus on virginal girls of marriageable age is... not all that great. There's a legitimate view that this wasn't about love, necessarily, but about quality of property. A bull or ram or lamb might be a worthy sacrifice because such would be the result of a significant investment of wealth with, otherwise, a strong potential for return on investment. A daughter would represent a similar amount of investment with the addition of parental love, but not be so valuable as a son, who could potentially take over as head of the family.

With a semi-expert to address that root of the mythology, a regular treatment of people as things, we can move this into better position and the way for the win or the loss for any of the characters. Winning isn't a matter of being seduced or not, successfully seducing or not, successfully defending with one's purity or not. Each of those struggles essentially agree with a societal treatment of people as things.

The win state, for any and, potentially, all of the characters, is realizing that they aren't things, that they aren't the roles in which they are placed. There are options other than the sexually conquering man, the virginal girl, or the sexually powerful (though, in this case, not empowered) woman. There is being a person, which is a freer, but much messier and harder to figure out thing.

Can they figure it out? Would this require more than the length of a single movie to take on? In both cases, perhaps so.
dragoness_e: (Default)

[personal profile] dragoness_e 2017-05-04 01:59 am (UTC)(link)
...why am I envisioning Hannibal Lechter as the therapist? I mean, he is a talented psychologist, as long as he doesn't get in one of those funny moods where he decides that messing with your head is more fun than helping you fix your problems. (Or worse yet, decides you're a waste of oxygen better off as grilled liver with a fine chianti).

I guess it was the thought of "Who would the vampiress confide in? Another monster, of course--one who is also a psychiatrist."
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)

[personal profile] dragoness_e 2017-05-04 01:14 pm (UTC)(link)
I watched Maven's review of the movie, and it surprised me that I had no memory of this movie--I thought I had watched most of the 80s vampire flicks. Then one of the lines struck a familiar note, and I realized I had watched the movie, but that it was so utterly forgettable that I had completely forgotten it. (And mixed the title up with a certain George Hamilton vampire movie spoof which was much better and much funnier).

I agree that the movie had a bad case of the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.
Edited 2017-05-04 13:16 (UTC)