Monster (2003)

Monster (Jenkins 2003)

Serial killer? I am her.

This episode is a doozy. Our longest yet for a film that is so deserving of such analysis. We discuss Jenkins’ masterful film Monster. Monster stands in stark contrast to every other serial killer film we have watched thus far or will watch for the series. Knowing nothing else, from thirty seconds in, it is clear this will be an important film. And it was, is, and will continue to be an important film. This ranks among the very hardest films we have watched. If you are able to get through it, it is well worth the tears. If it were a film I could watch without crying and my heart breaking, I would rewatch it, and study it, so I could continue to learn from it.

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Monster (Jenkins 2003) – please watch the film before listening!
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (McNaughton 1986)
The House that Jack Built (von Trier 2018)

TOPIC INDEX – TOPIC INDEX – Monster  (Jenkins 2003) (times are approximate) 

0:30 – Introductions
2:00 – thus continues a mini-series on serial killers
3:15 – spoilers
6:15 – Movie discussion begins
6:30 – Marshall’s history with the film and overall take
12:30 – Marshall’s history with the film and overall take
14:15 – emphasizing how this film is different especially compared to Henry
17:00 – the limits of empathy
18:30 – a testament to Jenkins’ skill
20:00 – continua of violence and sex
24:00 – compared to Henry
30:00 – compared to My Friend Dahmer
34:45 – the empathy of Monster
39:00 – the limits of representing atrocity
42:00 – Laura asks about gendering of serial killer films
53:00 – the film is written and directed by a woman
55:30 – serial killers made vs born
1:00:00 – killing as sport vs survival
1:04:00 – the film is a love story
1:08:00 – gendered access to violence in horror sub-genres
men who enact violence for fun
women who enact violence for fun while fulfilling a het man fantasy
women who enact violence for necessity
women who can enact violence for fun but only in retribution to

1:25:00 – If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood by G. Olsen
1:27:30 – sex differences in violence?
1:30:30 – sociology moment: Omi and Winant – racial formations applied to gender
1:38:00 – scrutinizing the “normal”
1:44:15 – Charlize Theron’s personal connection
1:47:00 – the film as gift to Wournos
1:50:00 – meta deconstruction of Hollywood
1:52:55 – refusing Othering
1:55:30 – grading the film using the Collective Nightmares Evolving Rubric of Social Responsibility
1:40:45 – sociology moment: reification

Related Episodes
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (McNaughton 1985)
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (Berlinger 2019)
The House that Jack Built (von Trier 2018)


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“Horror films are our collective nightmares.”

Episode 91