May

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I remember May from my high school days. I didn’t see it in the cinema, but my classmates had a copy and we saw parts of it. We watched the part where she gouges out her eye and when she murders the punk guy. I remember not really wanting to watch it because it was rather gory for me. And well, I was right, it was a rather gory movie, and equally creepy.

 

Most horror movies have a protagonist or at least a character that you can relate to, that you can empathize with. May doesn’t really have that. May is the protagonist, but she is the monster as well. It’s established from the very beginning that she is an Other, not simply because she’s a woman but because of her strangeness. She seems to get her strangeness from her mother, who may not be as twisted as May, but is somehow getting there. At first, you feel sorry for May and perhaps even relate to her as the quirky girl, but May eventually drifts further and further away from you as she slowly transforms from an awkward girl to a murderous psychopath. May is an Other that we can initially relate to, especially since she’s the protagonist, but eventually, she becomes so strange that even we have to turn her away. We relate to May’s longing to be accepted, but we are unable to accept the lengths she goes to just to gain a friend. May becomes a person we do not want to be friends with at all, and so we shun her as well.

 

When you look at May and the things she wants to do, it’s all basic human needs. We all have the need to be accepted and the need for belongingness. However, so-called normal people usually lower their expectations and attempt to be more “normal” or fit more into the standards of others, in a way “othering” themselves in an attempt to belong. May does something contrary to this. Instead of giving in, she continues to demand more from the people around her, she refuses to settle for anything less. May didn’t want anything less than perfection, and this made her monstrous. In wanting to find and create the perfect friend or companion, May became a monster. No one was good enough for her, and now everyone was in danger because none could please her. May’s standards of perfection were impossible, and she is unable to comprehend the fact that others had standards too. Others weren’t really allowed to exist in May’s world as themselves, but rather as imperfect parts that have to be put together in order to create the perfect creature.

 

May indeed is a horror movie in that it causes horror in the viewer. Her actions are horrific, and what makes them even more horrific are her motives behind them. May does not see herself as doing something wrong, rather she believes that she is doing something right, and even that she is fixing something. But unlike villains and antagonists of typical stories, May’s reasons for wanting to “fix” things are purely personal. She isn’t really trying to clean up the world in her own twisted way. She couldn’t care less about other people or the world in general, so long as she gets what she needs in the form of a friend or a lover.

May

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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.

Thoughts about “May”

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May is an interesting horror film in that it’s focus and main character is the monster, the abject. Unlike most monster movies, May is not the kind of monster who’s so different from everyone else. She could have turned out to be a socially normal person but she was kept back because of her troubled childhood. To me, May was marginalized at a young age mainly because of her mother’s bad parenting skills. One, the mother quickly assumed that just because a person has a lazy eye means that person will be marginalized. Two, because of that assumption, the mother put a bandage on May’s eye and asked her to pretend about it (which later led to her being marginalized). And three, the mother gave up on May being able to find human friends so she gave her a doll friend instead, with one exception that May cannot touch it. What kind of parent would have such a negative outlook on society? What kind of parent would give up and not be proud of his/her child? May grew up in her mother’s world with her mother’s weird principles, like “If you can’t find a friend, make one.”. Carol Clover refers to this as the psycho-sexual grip that produces the killer’s sexual ambiguity.

May grew up and found physical distance from her parents but she never grew out of them. She’s now an adept at conversing with dolls but still not an adept at conversing with people. She lacked the dynamics of love and friendship. She lacked the physical and emotional intimacy involved in a human relationship. She only had a doll friend and she couldn’t even take her out of her glass box! (I think that her odd fixation on body parts has something to do with that) She grew up following but not understanding the idea of being just like everyone else. This, unfortunately, further marginalized her. People around her were thinking that she’s just like everyone else, only to be made wrong later. This lead to further misunderstandings. In the end, nobody understands May, and May understands nobody. After a few bad encounters, May eventually gives up on hope and and starts killing off the people she couldn’t understand.

This is a horror film wherein sympathy can be drawn from the monster. May’s a modern Frankenstein. While in herself she has the capacity to choose between what’s right and wrong, she lacked the capacity to know which is which. For a world primarily composed of “normal” people, she’s the odd one out. But it’s not just her fault, in fact I dare say most of it isn’t. All she wanted was a friend, and she did what she everything she could to have one using what she has and what she knows. It just didn’t take her far enough in a world she’s not familiar with. Thinking about it, it’s noteworthy that a variety of people were in the movie yet May is the only connection between them. It tells me that there’s a world of different people with different understandings and, combining them, potential misunderstandings. In fact, further thinking about it, everything that transpired in the movie came from misunderstandings. Maybe even May’s mother had problems of her own before, we don’t know. It’s just scary to think how it’s possible that things could end up similar or worse compared to May just because some people didn’t get along.

MAYbe this time its a girl

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How far would we go and what would we give to feel loved and connected? This is one of the questions which popped in my mind after watching May. Mutilated limbs, ears, legs, hands and eyes aside, it is ultimately a sad morbid story of one young misunderstood girl seeking to establish long-lasting relationships primarily because of her weird personality and lack of any well-established social skills. Long periods of isolation and loneliness can definitely drive a person into madnesss. The closest to a meaningful conversation that May had shared was with her doll, her only friend since childhood whom she can never even touch because of the glass case. I thought that the film also mirrors Halloween in some point that it shows how the killer, through interactions and relationships with the wrong people, mixed with their own internal psychopathic tendencies and obsessions, is slowly pushed to the verge of killing, finally committing one, and going through a series of murders.

It is also interesting to note that May is one of the few, if not, the only female villain serial killer in all of the movies we have watched so far in class. Usually, we are accustomed to more masculine killing machines. (e.g. Michael Myers) The female is usually reserved a place in horror as a screaming, almost helpless protagonist with whom the male audience can still relate to. That way, they can attribute their fears to said protagonist without endangering the masculine outlook by casting a male. Thus, it is interesting to see a woman in a villain’s role as opposed to being the usual typecast protagonist.

Furthermore, one can take notice that May as a woman, adds a vulnerability that casting a male in the movie cannot provide. Women tend to seek more company as opposed to men, who occasionally have more solitary tendencies. As such, the movie cannot be more effective if say, a male is casted to fit into the story. And if such case is possible, the results would be entirely different.

The Perfect Friend

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The film “May” revolves around the story of a lonely woman who is in search of a perfect friend. The story begins by introducing to us a little girl who did not have friends due to her lazy eye. Her mother made her a doll and says to her that if she could not find a friend, then she should make one. The doll, to me, was really creepy. Throughout the entire film, I thought that the doll would move and start killing people who refuses to be May’s friend. The film was pretty funny at the beginning. May is shown to be an awkward person and a stalker. The scene wherein she crosses the road just to pass by Adam is an example of how her awkwardness made the film a bit funny. The film progression also appeared to be very slow. I thought that at the scene wherein she bites Adam on the lips after watching an odd film would signify the beginning of the slaughter. As it turns out, she just goes home and shouts at her doll. She also soon discovers that Polly was with another girl, which enrages her. She kills the cat, but still, she is not yet killing people. Later on, she brings her doll Suzy to the school for blind children. The children try to touch the doll, resulting to the doll falling down on the floor. At that moment, I thought that she would go berserk and kill all the children since they broke the doll, but she just returns home and cries. She later on meets Blank who would eventually call her a freak after discovering the dead cat in May’s freezer. This time, May finally snaps and kills Blank. She also says that no one is perfect and that people only have some perfect parts. At this point, she has decided to create her own perfect friend using only perfect parts from other people. The way she kills people seemed very straightforward. She walks up to a person’s house, tells the person that they have a nice body part, and then stabs the person without any struggle. There were no surprises, meaning that there weren’t really any scary moments in the film. May, now with all the body parts she wants, creates Amy. The doll looked really creepy since it was made up of stitched up body parts. For some reason, May begins to cry and says that the Amy can’t see her. She takes her right eye and puts it on Amy. The scene was very disturbing since I am not a big fan of scenes involving the eye. Up to this point, the film appeared to me as something pretty realistic; a psychologically unstable person suddenly going on a rampage after being pushed to the limit. At the end of the film, Amy suddenly moves and touches May. This scene, to me, was unnecessary. I did not know what it meant and what the purpose is. Overall, I did not like the film but I did not hate it either. The main reason why I did not like it is that it did not have the “on the edge of your seat” factor. It did not appear to be really scary but the story was interesting enough.

May: Obsession and Envy

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“May” is a horror film about a socially awkward woman who suffered a lazy eye and had no friends but her doll named Suzie which her mother made. To be really honest, I absolutely hated it since I was extremely bored out watching more than half or majority of the movie. In my opinion, this was easily one of the worst films I have seen in a while and I can compare it to “Grace”, which was equally as bad and strange. I could not comprehend why such a movie was even directed and placed under the horror genre. I think that “May”, which showed the consequences of being a weird social outcast, should appropriately be categorized as a drama. Never did I also imagine that someone like May, who becomes overly obsessed with a specific body part of another person once she notices it, would even exist in our world. Nevertheless, the final few moments of the film really caught my attention because of how disgusting and gross the scenes turned out to be. 

May was introduced as a lonely woman who did not have an enjoyable childhood due to her lazy eye. She worked at a veterinary hospital and specialized in surgeries. In her attempt to make friends, she met Adam and she immediately liked him because of his arms. Moreover, her colleague Polly also flirted with her and she became attached to her neck. After several encounters with May, Adam gradually avoided her after being disturbed by her odd personality. He realized that he felt the awkwardness in all of May’s peculiar actions and their bizarre conversations together. One day, May overheard Adam that he felt relieved that she was gone and in line with this, she also encountered Polly with another woman. Hence, she became angry and hopeless that no one cared for her. Additionally, she realized that she could not consider all the people she met as her friends. She also felt that no one is really perfect as a whole, believing that a perfect friend should only be composed of the perfect parts of people. In effect, May eventually designed her own life-sized doll friend Amy by obtaining the various parts of the body she thought were perfect from the people she once considered her friends.

In the movie, May felt envious that the people she knew all had a special someone in their lives. As a result, the worst and weirdest part of the film occurred when the tagline “If you can’t find a friend, make one”, was literally lived out. The character of May properly depicted how a woman’s gaze can lead to her own victimization. Her awkward attitude towards others by obsessively looking at their particular body parts led her to be punished in such a way that she had no friends to run to. As she also met Adam, her curiosity and desire were both transformed into masochistic fantasy, which represented her as a social outcast. Undeniably, May turned out to have a miserable and abject life leading to her emergence as a violent and monstrous feminine figure. In the end, the film wants to leave its audience with the important message that both obsession and envy have their indisputable social consequences.

May

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May

May’s story creeped me out because the dilemma shown in the movie was more personal than supernatural. As I looked at her, I see her as a pretty lady with issues stemming from her childhood. But even with the lack of friends and self-confidence, I think the change within her was too exaggerated and got too out of hand. I understand that she might be feeling different and out of place, and that this may bring about unnecessary actions, but the way May dealt with this problem is so peculiar and violent that it is already disturbing.

May is not your typical horror movie in the sense that there really is no monster, or no supernatural being to blame for any of the unfortunate events that happened in the film. There were no ghosts, or no murderer that came running after the lead star. instead, May fought with her self and her imaginary friend of a doll about the realities and complexities of life. She sought refuge in her only friend— the one thing she thought she could trust, and when she was gone, she had to find a replacement. This is where the disturbing act of cutting out every perfect part of a body she found, and sewing it all together comes in. May is so disturbed by the “passing” of her friend that everything about her life was already so bizarre.

The sad thing about this is that if only she let go, and not try too hard, I don’t see why she cant be a normal person. She might not be the stereotypical cool girl that everyone chases, but she can be May, a girl, and not May, the weird body-part-cutting psycho.