Seeking sexually-charged, body-horror / generally-weird passages.
September 11, 2015 5:47 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to find short scenes in which puberty, or other moments of sexual awakening, are represented through disturbing, surreal elements with a sexual subtext. I'm sure I've encountered this trope a lot, but my mind is coming up completely blank, either of any example or even what it's called! Can anyone help?
posted by piato to Media & Arts (36 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

There are some passages of a boy raking off his eyebrows in some kind of sexual-awakening frenzy in Adriaan van Dis Zilver of Het verlies van de onschuld (1988), but I'm not seeing an English translation right now...
posted by Namlit at 6:04 AM on September 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's been a while since I've seen it, but Ginger Snaps is a movie about a girl who gets her first period and is attacked by a werewolf.
posted by Diablevert at 6:08 AM on September 11, 2015 [5 favorites]

There's the scene in Carrie where Sissy Spacek gets her first period in the school shower after gym class and the other girls set upon her.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:23 AM on September 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders. The whole movie is exactly what you want.
posted by Lemmy Caution at 6:24 AM on September 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by nicwolff at 6:32 AM on September 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

There's a really gross scene that occurs (IIRC) late in Clive Barker's "The Damnation Game" that fits the bill. It's really gross. Hover over here for description.
posted by jbickers at 6:55 AM on September 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Margaret Mahy's the Changeover where the advent of puberty is used as a metaphorical rite of passage - the protagonist transforms her body and psyche through a ritual as she prepares to take fight against a threat against her family.
posted by kariebookish at 6:58 AM on September 11, 2015

A lot of trans women artists and indie gamemakers are really heavily into this aesthetic right now — there's this whole cluster of images around sex, surreal body horror, dissociation/depersonalization and trauma/recovery/reawakening that people like Porpentine and Anna Anthropy and Sybil Lamb are playing with a lot. Maybe start with Porpentine's Twine game "With Those We Love Alive" if you want to dip your toe in: it's super-intense, it takes maybe an hour or so, and it's immersive and unsettling and gorgeous as hell.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:09 AM on September 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

Also: Equus.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:09 AM on September 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Ray Vukcevich's short story "The Finger" in the collection "Meet Me in the Moon Room" - more surreal than disturbing.
posted by moonmilk at 7:11 AM on September 11, 2015

The most powerful (and controversial, since it includes real child actors being exposed to sexual elements without any "Mysterious Skin" style protections put in place) scene in Dušan Makavejev's Sweet Movie involves sugar-pirate Anna Planeta cavorting seductively around young boys, whose small corpses are then seen zipped into body bags on the riverbank.

It's more about the death of childhood innocence/acquiring knowledge of sex aspects of puberty than the development of secondary sexual characteristics, but it's definitely surreal as fuck.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:20 AM on September 11, 2015

The (excellent) movie "The Company of Wolves" covers this perfectly.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 7:38 AM on September 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

The cheesy 80s movie The Kiss has a few memorable scenes like this.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:40 AM on September 11, 2015

Charles Burns' graphic novel Black Hole.
posted by Leontine at 7:50 AM on September 11, 2015 [6 favorites]

Definitely Christopher Priest's story "The Miraculous Cairn." Here, if you're a Granta subscriber.
posted by escabeche at 7:57 AM on September 11, 2015

Flowers in the Attic?
posted by Melismata at 7:58 AM on September 11, 2015

Stoker (2013 movie)

The entire movie is very creepily about this, and includes a scene of sexual tension while a large spider crawls up a teenage girl's skirt as she plays piano. There are even more on the nose examples of this in the movie, but spoilers.
posted by permiechickie at 8:03 AM on September 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

This is probably not what you're liking for but in The Red Tent there is a passage in which the older penetrate the pubertal young protagonist with religious idols. I thought the book was a good read but that scene was just weird.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:13 AM on September 11, 2015

That Red Tent passage immediately came to mind. Also Thumbsucker probably fits this bill.

I feel like there must be a Cronenberg film in here, but I can't think of any that focus on pubertal timing.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:21 AM on September 11, 2015

Not a short scene, but short, and the renowned epitome of what you listed: Histoire de l'œil (Story of the Eye), by Georges Bataille.

I personally haven't seen it, but perhaps the 2009 Greek film Kynodontas (Dogtooth)?

Seconding Equus.

I should repeat that none of these are necessarily "short scenes".
posted by pos at 8:31 AM on September 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

I came here to say Dogtooth, and I've seen it, so dead on pos.
posted by ill3 at 8:38 AM on September 11, 2015

The short film Late Bloomer comes to mind, though it may be sillier than what you're looking for.
posted by SugarAndSass at 9:26 AM on September 11, 2015

This is also pretty much every scene with Tina Belcher in Bob's Burgers.
posted by thetortoise at 9:47 AM on September 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Music video: Fantasy by DYE
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 9:50 AM on September 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Cronenburg would be in the category of "other sexual awakening": Naked Lunch.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 9:54 AM on September 11, 2015

Nearly everything Robert Cormier wrote contained some of this. But at a few passages a book.
posted by French Fry at 11:23 AM on September 11, 2015

Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates, or her short story "Martyrdom" if you want to lose a few nights' sleep.

Female sexual awakening as horror is a common motif in much of Kathy Acker's works.
posted by archimago at 12:01 PM on September 11, 2015

Your question immediately brought to mind body-horror master Brian Yuzna's Society (1989). The final scene is... Amazing. Gross. Funny.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 1:43 PM on September 11, 2015

American Horror Story: Coven has a scene in the pilot involving Taissa Farmiga's character losing her virginity that fits this mold.
posted by mmascolino at 1:45 PM on September 11, 2015

I can't vouch for the entries on TVTropes's Menstrual Menace page, except that I remember issue 25 of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol as being actually pretty moving.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 1:49 PM on September 11, 2015

Music video: Fantasy by DYE

Came in to suggest this, seconding.
posted by weston at 2:27 PM on September 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

FLCL has a quite lot of these. Less horror, more surreal.
posted by alexei at 3:42 PM on September 11, 2015

Pretty much the entirety of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is about the fears and changes of adolescence made into real monsters.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:10 PM on September 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

Wetlands has multiple scenes that qualify, though the sexuality is more supertext rather than subtext, and the film is definitely not everyone's cup of tea.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:52 PM on September 11, 2015

This article Season of the Witch should be right up your blood-splattered alley. Via this tumblr post, which has bags of other links.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 12:41 AM on September 12, 2015

Quite a few of the X-Men have powers that were triggered by the onset of puberty; in the first movie, and in the comics, Rogue found out about her powers by kissing a boy and absorbing his memories (and, in the movie, his life force, although it didn't kill him). Later movies/comics describe her efforts to be intimate as a sort of metaphor for safe sex. (It's probably just a coincidence, although an eerie one, that she made her first appearance in the comics in 1981, the same year that the medical literature first described something that they originally labeled "gay-related immune deficiency.") Even the original X-Men has some of this: Cyclops finds out that he can kill people by looking at them (a really deadly "male gaze"); Beast has enlarged hands and feet (in the movies, there's also unwanted hair growth, which he suppresses for a while with a formula of his own invention, and likewise urges Mystique to suppress her mutations); Angel straps down his wings (using a harness that's somewhat reminiscent of binding) to conceal his true nature; and so on. Non-mutant superheroes also occasionally have some of this; the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man film has Peter (!) spraying his whole bedroom with sticky white fluid.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:51 PM on September 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

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