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Actresses Were Harmed in the Making of These (Even Mainstream) Films January 10, 2010

Posted by FCM in entertainment, health, kids, pop culture, porn, prostitution, rape.
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these actresses’ stories, and the movies they are referencing, have always bothered me.  now i know why.

in the above film clip, actress jobeth williams is seen to be sexually assaulted by a ghost, and then films a special-effects scene in which she was actually injured, IN REAL LIFE. in the “E-True Hollywood Story: Curse of ‘The Poltergeist’” documentary, jobeth williams states that when she was rolling across the “ceiling” of the bedroom set, the sadistic assholes set design crew had actually added a realistic popcorn-treatment to the ceiling that caused her to be cut and scraped when she slid across it.  she recalls that her knees and elbows were bleeding and blood was running down her arms and legs, and when she complained about it to the director, he said “oh dont worry about it, it wont show on film.”  thanks alot, dickwad.

and actress linda blair was a minor child at the time she filmed the mega-hit horror flick “the exorcist.” and as the studio and studio executives continue to make money off that movie, linda blair continues to pay the price for having had anything to do with them.  she was apparently subjected to extremely cold temperatures on a refrigerated set, working conditions which traumatized her: to this day, she “cannot stand being cold.”  and its pretty common knowledge that she suffered a permanent back injury on the set, in the famous “bed jostling” scene where she was thrown about violently until she was actually injured.  you know, in real life.

actress ellen burstyn was also permanently injured on the set of “the exorcist,” having

received a permanent spinal injury during filming. In the sequence where she is thrown away from her possessed daughter, a harness jerked her hard away from the bed. She fell on her coccyx and screamed in pain – this was caught on film and adds to the realism of that scene.  (emphasis mine).

what is striking to me as a feminist and someone who watches movies and television is that you can easily find footage of these women being violently mistreated, and seriously, permanently injured online.  as you will see for yourself if you search for three whole seconds on youtube, both the ceiling-scene above, and “the exorcist”‘s bed-jostling scene have been specifically isolated for your viewing pleasure as “favorite scenes” of each film.  you can rent the movie and watch the whole thing too, if you want some context with your footage of women being violently mistreated and seriously, permanently injured in the making of a mainstream film. 

actors and stuntpersons have even died on the set of mainstream films, but we insist on believing that porn is somehow different.  why?

ex-porn actress/prostitute shelley lubben has reported in gruesome detail how mistreatment of female porn actors is the norm, and that she suffered internal injuries, repeated STD infections and numerous pregnancies on the job.

what have these actors been through, creating material for our entertainment?  what are we watching footage of, and what was specifically left in, to “add to the realism” of the fantasy we are supposedly watching?  what are you watching footage of, when you watch even mainstream films that feature violent or sexually graphic content?

in the same vein, how do you know whats in your porn?  this is a serious question.  the answer, of course, is that you *cant* know, and you do not know, what you are watching, when you are watching porn.  if you watch it anyway, then you either dont care, or you *enjoy* watching footage of what could easily be the rape, infection, impregnation, or worse of the female actors you are beating off to.  personally, i dont think intention matters a whole lot here.  either way, there is something seriously wrong with you.  get help.  now.

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Comments

1. polly - January 10, 2010

I don’t get why people enjoy horror films, I really don’t.

2. SheilaG - January 10, 2010

There are a lot of questionable filmmaking practices that really harm actresses. Porn is simply a dangerous job, and there are virtually no madatory work place protections out there… men required by law to wear condom’s, for example.

Then there is the low level sexual harassment actresses have to deal with. On a show about the making of “The L-Word” the actresses said how all the women respected each other during the filming of love scenes. When the director would say “cut” during a love scene in a staight movie or TV program, men would not stop and keep going after the bodies of women… a profound violation.

The whole movie – TV industry is also very bad for children.

We need to seriously consider the truth behind all movies, and the fact that violence and porn is invadeing just about everything these days.

3. Laurelin - January 10, 2010

Shelley Lubben is so courageous.

4. desert.harpy - January 11, 2010

Great post! People seldom think about these things when they watch movies or porn. I think part of the problem is a general assumption that women are masochists, so it doesn’t matter if they get hurt? They like that, right? It’s one of the things men do to dehumanize us, to minimize our suffering. They see us as so alien to them that things they would experience as harmful and degrading are pleasurable to women. Porn and many mainstream movies reinforce that lie and socialize girls into believing that about themselves.

5. berryblade - January 11, 2010

Nooo don’t take my horror movies away from meeee {/ sarcasm off}

Seriously though, I didn’t know this about the Exorcist or Poltergeist, although I always hated those movies anyway because they seemed naff in the same way Friday the Thirteenth and Nightmare and Elm St did (my god, the misogyny in those horror movies makes me choke.)

The thing that really bothers me about horror movies especially is the misogyny and racism that’s often so fucking rampant in them – and the fact that’s it’s REALLY possible to make a genuinely scary movie without having to rely on images of torture and distress. There’s always the “rules” about not going off alone, not fucking etc etc which seems to me to be a direct rip off of those goddess-awful “how to avoid getting raped” lists.

It’s interesting that you’re posting this actually, because I’m making a bunch of critiques of my favourite horror films.

I’ll be researching the production of movies I watch a lot more carefully now.

@Polly

I don’t even get why I like watching them sometimes. But for some reason, I do anyway. Be girlcotting Exorcist & Poltergeist from now on though.

6. pmsrhino - January 11, 2010

Berryblade: “The thing that really bothers me about horror movies especially is the misogyny and racism that’s often so fucking rampant in them – and the fact that’s it’s REALLY possible to make a genuinely scary movie without having to rely on images of torture and distress. There’s always the “rules” about not going off alone, not fucking etc etc which seems to me to be a direct rip off of those goddess-awful “how to avoid getting raped” lists.”

This is exactly the reason I stay away from most “horror” movies (though I dunno what you mean by distress?). I always enjoy it when I can see a genuinely horrifying (though I tend to put together thriller with horror) movie that doesn’t include extensive torture scenes and gore, along with rampant sexism and racism, but those movies come around very rarely. It is much more likely for there to be a Saw 21 next year than another Sunshine or Cloverfield. Or even Quarantine, which had gore but never focused no it and shoved it in my face nor had the main character strip down (or have sex, etc.) for no reason. What I really can’t stand in horror movies (sorry if it’s a bit off topic) is when a women dies and there’s a nice boob or crotch shot for no reason. She’s already dead but they seem to insist on adding an extra unnecessary bit of “sexiness” in there. Like when women get murdered in their underwear or during sex. Just a continuance of conflating violence against women with sex and boners. Alot like what porn does, pretty much. Even outside of porn you can’t escape sex + violence against women = hawt!

And I’d like to think shit’s gotten better since those films, since they are fairly old. But it seems they have not. If it’s not bodily harm, it’s sexual harassment. Women just get screwed every which way. And seriously? Realistic popcorn treatment? Not only is that the WORST thing to put on a wall (we got it in our house, accidentally bumping the wall can usually end up pretty painfully) but to then have an actress get dragged across it and tell her to suck it up? WTF? I guess they can’t bring any of this to court? Like a contractual thing? Is it easier now a days to bring a lawsuit against bodily injury while on set, at least? I’m sure sexual harassment suits are near impossible to bring the court nevertheless get anything resolved in them, but has anything changed at least for women on set and bodily harm? Rules and regulations or anything? (this question isn’t meant to include porn because I know that violence is alive and well on porn sets and there’s pretty much nothing being done about that.)

7. polly - January 11, 2010

It’s like detective novels though Berryblade. I can cope with Miss Marple because it is so obviously not ‘real’. But the grisly ones that feature women who are victims of serial killers – I just think ‘This shit REALLY HAPPENS’. I don’t see how it can be amusement.

Yes obviously people don’t really get possessed by the devil or have poltergeists living in their TV, but that scene above to me is mock rape. And women being killed/menaced (Psycho/Hallowe’en etc etc). Just.Not.Entertaining at all.

8. berryblade - January 12, 2010

@pmsrhino

Sorry, I should have clarified what I meant by distress . In a lot of modern (last fifty years or so) horror flicks the tension and spookiness is partially constructed by how freaked out the female characters get – torture porn movies like Hostel (which I HATE fyi) is the actress acting terrified before xyz is mutilated.

If you didn’t mind Quarantine, I’d suggest REC which is actually the original Spanish version that the god-awful piece of shit American rip off, I mean remade. It’s much better IMHO. The Decent is another decent one, there are no males in that horror movie and it’s about a group of womyn who go spelunking, and yeah, check it oot.

@Polly
“It’s like detective novels though Berryblade. I can cope with Miss Marple because it is so obviously not ‘real’. But the grisly ones that feature women who are victims of serial killers – I just think ‘This shit REALLY HAPPENS’. I don’t see how it can be amusement”
True that. Someone I know tried to get me to watch a movie about Ted Bundy once and I just couldn’t do it. I think part of the fun for me might be suspension of belief, let’s face it, zombies are just never going to happen, but, the fun is in the pretending.

“Yes obviously people don’t really get possessed by the devil or have poltergeists living in their TV, but that scene above to me is mock rape. And women being killed/menaced (Psycho/Hallowe’en etc etc). ”

I agree. I hated those movies. Always have and always will. They just always hit too close to home for me.

Also, excuse my ignorance, but is popcorn treatment that horrible scratchy shit they put in older buildings?

factcheckme - January 12, 2010

berryblade, yes, the popcorn treatments are some kind of spray-on treatment for ceilings that looks like little balls of plaster. its supposed to be an aesthetic or texturizing treatment but all it does is trap dust, and its impossible to clean. its also toxic, and you have to hire a professional to remove it if you are renovating your home and have this stuff on your ceilings. basically it was an idiotic invention of the 70s. and apparently its really painful to be dragged across it.

i also agree that realistic-violence is harder to watch than cartoonish-violence. i dont/cant even watch the former, but actually like the latter to some degree (terminator, kill bill etc). and i absolutely cant watch anything with rape or torture, at all. i watched “monster” with charlize theron reluctantly to see what it was all about and was severely triggered. didnt help that i was watching with the bf who mocked the screwdriver-rape for days afterwards. i think he was upset by it too and couldnt get it out of his mind. but i wanted to fucking kill him for reenacting it for me a hundred times. wtf? shit. i think in general that people who like being scared at the movies walk around with blinders on in real life. or, they are men. want to be really scared? try walking to your car at night in a dark parking lot, being a female and completely aware of rape culture and the implications of that. thats scary. and i dont need any more fear in my life, thanks anyway torture-porn assholes!

9. Miska - January 12, 2010

It has always seemed to me that horror movies are about 30 years behind the rest of the movie industry when it comes to the portrayal of women (and considering the general movie industry is nothing to write home about, that is pretty appalling).

Srsly. Horror has the potential to be really interesting. And we have all this technology to make really good films. But in the hands of men it is totally wasted, they simply keep churning out the same “sexy girl is terrorized and tortured” crap.

If I were a dude, I would be totally ashamed at the substandard, unimaginative culture my sex continues to produce (not just horror movies mind you, but everything).

Regarding the exorcist, it troubles me that the producers kept Ellen’s injury scene in the final film. The ethical thing to do would be to edit it out, not spin it into profit, ffs.

factcheckme - January 12, 2010

linda blair was injured in the infamous bed-shaking scene, although i dont know if that exact footage made it into the movie or not. but you are right that its extremely troubling to think that we are being shown footage of women actually being injured, in real life, in the final cut of a film. and perhaps even more so that we are being told that its all a fantasy. its not. just like in porn.

10. pmsrhino - January 12, 2010

@berryblade: Ah, okay. I think I see what you mean about distress. I never saw Hostel because I just don’t think I could sit through it. I don’t do torture flicks (closest I can get is Saw I, only because all of it is off screen) and I especially can’t do torture flicks that have excessive amounts of torture against women. Because I, like many others, watch that shit and think about how that does really happen, and I also find that the torture is overly sexualized and I just can’t handle that.

I’ll have to find REC. Sounds interesting. Didn’t realize Quarantine was a remake. And I’ve been wanting to watch Decent but could never tell if it was a good horror movie or a crappy one. Guess I know what’s going on my Netflix queue next. :)

@FCM: Oh god I remember watching Monster. That movie hit the “it’s so realistic it is NOT fun to watch at all” line. And the fact that that kinda shit is everywhere is frightening. Shows like Criminal Minds and Law and Order (especially SVU) etc. constantly show women being kidnapped, raped, tortured, murdered (or if the act isn’t shown the after effects and usually a description just so you don’t miss anything). I used to watch those kinda shows all the time, mostly because I like the police and detective part of it, but after a while it got to a point where I was like “Holy fucking crap can I just watch them fight crime without the detailed violence against women?!” I mean, if people can watch shows like Criminal Minds and say that there is no difference in violence done to men and women they aren’t paying attention.

Reality is scary, and generally when I watch TV or movies I like to escape reality for a while. Alien landing on earth and killing a whole city, fine and cool. Crazy sun dude trying to kill people while they try to go restart the sun, awesome. Zombies, hell yeah. A women being viciously raped and then murdered, I’m thinking no.

11. polly - January 13, 2010

yes, the popcorn treatments are some kind of spray-on treatment for ceilings that looks like little balls of plaster. its supposed to be an aesthetic or texturizing treatment but all it does is trap dust, and its impossible to clean. its also toxic, and you have to hire a professional to remove it if you are renovating your home and have this stuff on your ceilings

I have a similar (non toxic) textured paint in my house that I put up because, basically, it disguises uneven plaster. But it’s bloody painful if you catch your knuckles on it and scrapes the skin off.

12. veganprimate - January 18, 2010

Shelley is very brave, and I applaud her efforts to get others out of the industry.

The only beef I have with her is her god talk. I have a friend who equates religion with prudery and anti-sex. She assumes anyone who is religious dislikes sex, and conversely, anyone who criticizes sex, even from a perfectly good standpoint (radical feminism, for example) must be religious and a prude.

My friend also thinks prostitution and being a porn actress are cool and glamorous. Someone like Shelley would not be able to persuade her. If Shelley kept to statistics, yes, and the fact that she is an ex-porn actress, yes, but as soon as she started with the whole god and jeebus thing, my friend would close down to anymore information. She’d assume she was a jesus freak and therefore, was only criticizing the porn industry b/c of her prudish, religious morals.

Religion taints everything. I read a really awesome book on relationships that I think would be a must-read for just about everyone, but the author is a Christian, and the book was peppered with biblical passages. That was a real turn-off. I was able to ignore that and still get valuable information, but some people are so turned off by religion that they’d miss the underlying message.

factcheckme - January 18, 2010

i agree that the god-talk is problematic. see my other article “shelley lubbens lived experience as a sex worker and porn actor” for more on that. SL isnt a feminist, and that is one of the main reasons i use her testimony. to show the fun-fems that just because someone’s testimony supports my feminist agenda, does NOT make that person a feminist, and their testimonies are not above reproach. whereas the fun-fems seem to believe that the self-reports of sex-workers, porn actors, and transfolk that support *their* sex-pozzie agenda are inherently feminist, and shouldnt be questioned. they arent, and they should be.

i also think the point needs to be made that there are many sex-workers and porn actors who ARE deeply relgious, and who feel strongly that what they are doing in the industry is a mortal sin. yet consumers of porn and prostitutes dont give a flying fuck about how the women in the business actually *feel* about what they are doing, or their reasons for being there (unless its supportive of thier own sex-pozzie agenda that is). someone elses immortal soul is a small price (for them) to pay for *me* to express my sexuality, and all that. its so selfish. we should be concerned with the wellbeing of ALL women, not just the ones that believe as we believe. and not just the ones who are sex-pozzie, liberated, and feminist.


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