May was a particularly interesting film because I’d always felt that a horror film was a horror film as soon as it made you feel anxious, uncomfortable, scared or at least grossed out. Although throughout much of the film, May was a very strange girl, with strange hobbies and obsessions, none of them really stood as as disturbing enough to give the film a horrific feel. I wasn’t at the edge of my seat, nor was I writhing in disgust. Instead, I was left with a sense of wonder. It was beginning to look like either a B movie, or one of those that didn’t exactly take themselves too seriously. In any case, May’s tone was different, perhaps a little less Takashi Shimizu and a little more… Tim Burton?
But underneath the stylistic difference lies a classic horror film story. That of the abject, a monster born of a person, a woman no less, marginalized for her “abnormality. Pinned down as a freak, May is monstrous even before she experience the heavy blows of life. Even before May starts going full-on Dr. Frankenstein mode, hacking other people’s arms and legs off, she is already marginalized as a child for having a lazy eye. From then on she has difficulty making friends, which leads to the development of her odd personality. As she grows older she becomes more and more detached as she deals with life alone, her only friend being a doll, and perhaps Polly, the promiscuous bisexual girl (who turns out to be a pretty bad friend anyway, but more on that later).
Something I’d like to point out now about the Polly character is the mere fact that she was made to be a very promiscuous bisexual woman (a pretty offensive stereotype for bisexual women, might i add) and thus she gets “punished” for this behavior in the end, when May decides she is a terrible friend, with a really great neck… and by that I mean May finds that the best punishment is to use Polly’s neck to complete her Amy monster, a collection of all the best parts of May’s worst friends. I think it is very important to note the way the film portrayed the handling of Polly’s promiscuity and sexual behavior that deviates from the supposed norm.
Another thing to note is that May as the abject was repressed by those around her for her strange fetishes. When she wanted to do strange things sexually with Adam, he refuses and leaves, and she suffers from this. May symbolizes those that we do not understand, and those that we fear, especially because she hits a little too close to home. Everyone’s been at a point where they thought they were a freak for liking a certain thing or a certain way, and so they’ve hidden these things deep down, for fear of being judged or ostracized. May becomes an example of what happens when you push the limit, and when you are pushed to the limit as well.