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Dear Friends,

I’m super excited to bring you the first post for my column, Fraud or Freud, which by now I’m sure you all know is devoted to sex and cinema, two things that we all love (and sometimes hate). I’m actually even more pumped than normal to roll out this column because the first post is coming right in time for Halloween, which is the perfect time to talk about horror. Like I told you before, horror is one of my favourite genres and it is always a pleasure to reacquaint myself with her. That’s right, I said it, horror is a woman. I dare one of you to disagree that women aren’t ever brilliant and seductive tricksters in a similar way to a good horror film.

Anyway, we all know Halloween is a metalhead’s favourite holiday, but what some of you might not know is that it is also gay Christmas. So in honour of all things queer and fabulous, I wanted to discuss one of my top five films of all time (the rest, Friends, are going to remain a mystery for now), American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000). But first, I need to mention that Bret Easton Ellis, who wrote the original novel, is one of the most bitter queer writers in the history of the English language and this only makes me love him that much more. I’m tired of magical stories that feature an “it gets better” narrative (I’m looking at you, Glee!), and Ellis definitely doesn’t buy into that type of shit. For him it’s sex, drugs, and money. The world is plastic and empty, so you better find the perfect bathroom to do coke in if you want to survive. Ellis is the ultimate misanthropist and that is the definition of awesome to me.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programming. American Psycho, while not supernatural, demonic, or even super scary, remains to me one of the most terrifying (and funny) films of all time. Are there films with more jump scenes? Sure. Are there films that give us more of a physical horror experience in terms of disgust or anxiety? Definitely. Despite this, American Psycho gives us something that very few contemporary horror films do: a story that just happens to be horrifying, but doesn’t necessarily have the objective of being a horror story. I would say the film errs on the side of satire and social commentary (much like one of my other favourite films, Hostel), with the novel taking this to ratchet levels that try even the most patient readers (multiple page long sermons on Huey Lewis and the News, anyone?). For those of you not familiar with the plot, it goes something like this: bored and super rich Patrick Bateman lives a life of excess and consumerism in 1980s New York City.

He wears the best clothes, fucks the best women, and does the best coke. Gradually this yuppie dream stops doing the trick and he ends up taking out his aggression by becoming a torturer and killer of prostitutes all over the city (as well as some others, like his colleague Paul Alan, who is played by an amazingly understated Jared Leto). We know this plot line and it’s all well and good— standard psychological thriller territory, so how does American Psycho land in Fraud or Freud? Because, Dear Readers, it has one of my favourite sex scenes of all time: the threesome between Patrick (a chiselled and sculpted early Christian Bale) and his soon to be two favourite prostitutes, Christie and Sabrina. It’s a sexy, violent, and decadent romp through what can best be described simply as psychosis.

Somewhere midway through the film, Patrick sets up his 80′s VHS camcorder (yes!) in the corner of his bedroom, all the while giving semi-serious commentary on Phil Collins (gross!), which plays in the background as he gets ready for one of the most epic threesomes in mainstream cinema (not Wild Things level, but nothing really is to me, honesty). There is anal sex, vaginal sex, oral sex, girl on girl, crazy three way contortions, and more. HOWEVER, the sex acts in general aren’t what do it for me. What gets me is the moment when Patrick is fucking one of the two girls (or both of them, whatever, who cares?) and he looks right at his mirror, flexes his bicep and fixes his hair.

Later, he points and half smiles at the mirror too, which is even more amazing. I love the crisp white sheets on the bed too; it’s a nice touch that contrasts the absolute sexual dominance that occurs on top of them (like that pun?). This moment of male vanity, hubris, and decadence sold me forever on why American Psycho has one of the best cinematic displays of sexuality ever. Because seriously, who hasn’t felt (or wanted to feel) that type of aggression or power at least once in their sexual lives? And Bale nails it to a tee. In those seconds of brilliant cinematography and acting (not to mention soundtrack, “Sussudio” is playing and it’s incredible, obviously not because the song is amazing, shit, no), we get to see a better picture of Patrick Bateman than we do anywhere else in the entire film. This dude is a total asshole, but we love him nonetheless and the scene is goddamn hilarious. I was just re watching it in my office and laughing at its absurdity.

I’m not really interested right now in commentary that argues the film depicts and advocates violence against women, so don’t give me any of that. We all know it depicts violence against women, but “advocates” is a really strong verb, at least for me. Mary Harron has shot down that criticism from the beginning, stating the film is a social commentary on consumerism and power (I agree). We all can see Patrick is a misogynist, that’s not hard. What’s more important to me is how the film has us root for him in this particular moment of sexual conquest. Is it because we are all secretly looking to have whack threesomes with prostitutes in wretched Manhattan apartments? Maybe. Or is it because we want to see some of ourselves in Patrick? There are no easy answers, especially considering Ellis is a master storyteller when it comes to crafting intricate layers and nuances in his characterization. Plus, he (and Harron) are committed to giving us a pretty bleak look at consumerism in general and what else is sex on some level besides consumerism?

Consuming of fluids, flesh, ideology, identity. Patrick literally buys this sexual encounter for his own consumption and isn’t the customer always supposed to be right? Perhaps.

I think Patrick Bateman is fucking glam and I have no problem saying that I envy his power and confidence, particularly in this scene. Do you feel the same way, Dear Readers? Does this next level display of assertiveness and aggression make you weak in the knees? Or does it make you want to run to the nearest teddy bear/pillow for a good cuddle?

Tell me, Amici. I want to know what makes you tick.

xoxo,

Jane

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