May has definitely become one of my favourites in horror film class. While there have been several female protagonists in other movies such as triangle, this time the female protagonist slowly becomes the main antagonist and monster. In relation to the identification of the monster with female (from Barbara Creed), May is able to actually equate the monster to the female through the main protagonist/antagonist of the film.
There has always been a certain level of emphasis given to the hands of Adam, even in the beginning of the film. The attraction of May to Adam was instant, not for the type of person he was (impossible to know from the distance with which she gazed at him) nor his other physical traits, but rather for Adam’s hands. May gazed upon Adam and was constantly obsessed of his hands. If I were to look at the whole film and give my own interpretation on vis-à-vis gender, female sexuality and the identification with the monster, I would hypothesize that the obsession of May on the hands of Adam could be equated to a level of power that the female wishes to have. It is interesting to think that the hands hold so much power in them. The hands are what we use to feel, to touch, to work and to create. May’s constant pre-occupation of Adam and his hands could be interpreted as the female coveting the sort of power that the males hold.
In the beginning, May could be seen as someone who was so inside her shell, so helpless and so weak. Her fragile disposition and her frailty had “victimize me” written all over it. But slowly, as May evolves and is able to come into her own, through her self discovery and sexual awakening, we see how May starts to gain a bit of strength and a bit more power as the movie progresses. In the beginning her coyness was very obvious, but when Adam and her started to date, she gained little by some confidence in herself. As the obsession and their relationship progressed, her stronger, fiercer side starts to pull out of her and rears its ugly head even up to a point where her possessiveness could translate to her wanting to bite him, or in a sense even eat him all up. Of course this could only turn into disaster as the male figure tries to run away from this possession and obsessive compulsion of the female towards him.
Going back to the idea of the hands, at the end of the film, where May really shows here strongest side and in all of her power be able to kill people in order to cut up their parts, May chops Adam’s hands off with all the force and the power of someone who seemed like she had been chopping hands off since birth. Perhaps if looked at a gender perspective, this sort of castration rendered Adam helpless. He is no longer the one in control, or the one in power, but rather he has turned into May’s victim. The female role transform into the monster to be feared and not the damsel in distress. She becomes the one using her hands for creation and productivity and not anyone else.