#47: Teeth — dir. Mitchell Lichtenstein
Vagina dentata! What a wonderful phrase! Vagina dentata! Ain’t no passing craze!
I think it’s the experience of seeing this movie that will always endear it to my heart. Don’t get me wrong, watching Jess Weixler go from innocent, purity ring fundamentalist to stalker of sexual deviants with the only weapon at her disposal is hilarious. Almost as good as watch John Hensley play rebellious thug.
Plus, I absolutely love the reversal of roles. I don’t dare get into feminist discourse. It’s more dangerous than fingerbanging Dawn, and less rewarding. But I adore the fact that what Teeth ultimately is is the origin story of a monster. It’s also a horror film embracing sexuality and discovery and experimentation rather than the typical trope/unspoken rule of the virginal girl is pure enough to survive the evils outside the campfire. The satire is spot on, the story is gory and hilarious, and it’s a charmingly squishy film.
But as I said, it was the experience of watching it the first time that filled me with pure joy. Higginbottom and I were in the middle of our old tradition of a shotgun movie experience. We were wandering Pasadena, back when it still had the Laemmle in Old Pasadena, and we went to see five films in one day, walking from the Laemmle to the Paseo before it went Arclight, to the Regency Cheapo at the end. It’s only a mile, but what a damn mile. Anyway, we went to see the film at the Laemmle Old Pasadena, in the little basement theatre there. It was a crowd of mostly older skeevy looking dudes by themselves. They were clearly there to see nubile young flesh. And they got it. But there were way more peens in the flick that they were expecting or comfortable with. Higginbottom and I were cackling with glee. And they were all silent and horrified, as if Mitchell Lichtenstein had broken a covenant. Sluts must be punished! But it was the teen boys who were. Dawn of the dawn.
Lichtenstein’s second effort didn’t do much for me. It was like a weak-tea version of a good Nicole Holofcener flick. And it decidedly wasn’t a horror flick. He’s returned to the macabre with his period piece Angelica, so I’m curious to see how that turns out.