Ladies of Horror May-hem: Amanda Young


Time to get back to putting the mayhem in this month’s theme.

[Loba Tangent: Oh, yes, there will be spoilers, denizens.]

I’m willing to bet some of you are a little gobsmacked by today’s Lady. While I admittedly was surprised that the original Saw was nothing like I expected it to be (read: pointlessly violent and disgusting), I only made it through two of the sequels before throwing in the towel on the rest of the (pointlessly violent and disgusting) franchise.

All that being said, I was able to make it through the portion of Amanda Young’s living presence in the franchise (see? SPOILERZ), and, I have to admit, even though I didn’t really like her character, I was intrigued by her. More precisely, I was intrigued by the fact that, even though the antagonist of the original movie was male, writers Leigh Whannell and Darren Lynn Bousman opted to have him choose a female as his successor (or one of his successors, as I believe another was hinted at in the third film), thus making Amanda Young one of the first recurring lady slasher villains I can recall ever seeing. Even more interesting is the fact that she comes from one of the most successful horror franchises to hit the genre in a long time.

Now, I know that there are horror movies out there with female villains helming them (Voorhees, party of EEK!), but Amanda Young was more than just a one-time thing. She was chosen. She was groomed. She was tested. She could have been a contender. If only those screws hadn’t come quite so loose. I’m even willing to admit that, had she not gone so off-the-rails mentally and not died as a result, I might have been tempted to watch the fourth movie, just to see which psychotic killer off-ramp she’d fly down next.

And just as Kevin Williamson gave glorious feminist twists to his final girl dynamic duo, Whannell and Bousman give an equally intriguing feminist twist by changing the typical horror dynamic, especially for these types of movies. After all, why do you think there are so many final girls? It’s because horror has for too long embraced the violence against women trope. Again, I love the genre, but I acknowledge that it’s got a long history of awful when it comes to things like this. The final girl exists in some ways almost as a placation. “Yeah, we killed a bunch of girls in horrible, exploitative ways…but some of their boyfriends died, too (usually in really fast, less-than-graphic ways)! AND LOOK! We let a girl defeat the bad guy and survive! That makes it all better!”

Does it? I’m not so sure. Does a movie like Saw make it any better than the final girl alternative? Now, it’s not the male antagonist against the young female protagonist. It’s the young female antagonist against…everyone.

EOV. Equal-Opportunity Villainess.

Still, however I might feel about the character or the franchise from which she sprung, I give credit where it is earned. By becoming one of the slasher elite (and doing it with insane style), Amanda Young has earned her place as a Lady of Horror May-hem.

Oh and by the way, no you aren’t seeing double, denizens. Amanda Young does look remarkably similar to Meg Penny.