An actress I know, who will be in my next film, Manson Girls, starred in Hostel 2. The last scene we see her in, she’s strung up naked, hanging upside down from her ankles, as a woman is about to torture her with a sickle. I stopped watching. I simply couldn’t tolerate a woman deliberately afflicting pain and violence towards another woman, all in the name of entertainment. The actress found it bizarre that I could have written Manson Girls but could not sit through a horror film. The road to making Manson Girls has proven to be quite enlightening in regards to Hollywood. This is the story about eight of the girls who helped Charles Manson commit numerous crimes, including the Tate/La Bianca murders, where they ripped Sharon Tate’s unborn child from her womb. However, in my script, I chose to tell the story about the girls before the murders, with the film ending a minute before the killing spree that happened on August 9, 1969.
Hollywood is paying attention, and already objecting, to the lack of violence and the immense amount of sexuality in this script. Producers, actresses, agents are all asking for the sexuality to be tamed down, but not a single person has objected to what I consider one of the most violent scenes in the film: the gang rape of a teenaged Sadie Atkins by her older brother and a group of his friends. The lead producers asked me to tame down a sex scene in the Kit Kat Club, where an adult Sadie Atkins works as a stripper and prostitute, but they didn’t blink at four boys waiting to take turns to rape her as a teenage girl. An actress starring in TheTwilight Saga has a problem with the orgy scenes in Manson Girls but doesn’t object to being in a film where a young girl is ripped to shreds by vampires. A whole acting agency that wants several of their actresses in this film, won’t allow them to do nudity, but was shocked I chose to leave out the multiple murders that the Manson Family is so famous for.
Why is violence, especially violence against women, so acceptable to Hollywood, but sexuality so feared? Could it be that sexuality gives women a power that some men fear, especially the men in charge, who are a part of the traditional Hollywood machine? Perhaps violence against women, keep those same men in the power seat and keep them feeling important. If more films were being made about free love, open sexuality, a comfort zone with nudity, and not just nudity for the women but for the men as well, what would happen to the viewing audience? Would a teenage boy pick up a gun and shoot down their classmates because they witnessed an orgy scene in Stanley Kubrick’s final film? Would a husband set his wife on fire because he watched Charlize Theron kiss Christina Ricci in a movie? Would a soldier willingly torture a human being because he saw Jason Segel’s penis in a summer comedy? What if we had a season of films free of misogynist violence and filled with consensual sex. Who in their right mind would object to that?
Susanna Lo is an award-winning director and screenwriter. Her upcoming film, Manson Girls, is scheduled to begin shooting in 2011. Her novel, Alma Of My Heart, was released by Stay Thirsty Press in November, 2010.
All opinions expressed by Susanna Lo are solely her own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.