According to Freud’s theory, the society mainly hinges the proper functioning and success of the ideal social structures, humanity, and civilization on repression, which is the attempt to lockout feelings and impulses that one considers abnormal or negative from the conscious mind . Social structures and civilization will not function without repression. The actions taken in order to keep the feelings in check and perpetuate humanity constitute basic repression acts. They differ from surplus repression in that basic repression is a universal prerequisite for the “proper” functioning of humanity. They are the necessary and inevitable actions that one must take or avoid in order to uphold coexistence. On the other hand, surplus repressions are acts specific to certain institutions, society, or cultures.
In his work, Wood depicts repression as a central theme in the history of horror films in America. Freud’s theory of repression is evidenced and central to his arguments. American culture uses surplus repression to model individuals into heterosexual individuals. In the horror, film “A Nightmare on the Elm Street 2” repression of bisexuality is evident in the main character. Homoerotic themes embedded in the film show the struggle against the reality and nature of the main character’s feelings regarding homosexuality (Basic repression). Monster and queerness used in the film aim at discouraging homosexuality, considered immorality in the film. Freddy Krueger (a monster) represents homosexuality in the film, which threatens to take over the main characters body.
“A nightmare on the Elm Street 2” is a horror film casted during the pre and post Aids error In the 70’s and early 80’s. The society associated aids with homosexuality in the period and the society used many means to repress the behavior including production of horror films demonizing it (surplus repression). During the period, homosexuals decided to come out of the closet and express their taste in sexuality. Others were not sure whether to follow suit or not. The film depicts this theme where Jesse the main character struggles to repress his homosexual feelings (Freddy Krueger) that threaten to take over his body. The teenager is faced with a dilemma on coming out of the closet.
Many evidences in the film show homosexuality themes. First, Jesse exhibits feminine behaviors even though he is male. The society does not consider such behaviors normal and it always puts in measures to discourage it. He is easily frightened, scared and he screams like a woman. His character makes him vulnerable and a perfect host for Freddy. This shows that men with feminine behaviors are homosexual in nature. The society tries as much as possible to model children according to predefined gender roles where a boy is expected to be domineering, brave and patriarchal while girls should be submissive and not vice versa. Jesse leaves Lisa at the pool party and goes to his male friend’s house. Jesse goes to a gay bar where he finds his couch dressed in leather straps. While in the shower after taking a punishment, Freddy scares his couch afterwards ties him on the rails undresses him and woops his bare ass. While in his friend’s house, Jesse astonishes Gary by his request to sleep in his bedroom “She’s female, and she is waiting for you in cabana and you want to sleep with me?” Upon arrival, he explains to his friend that something strange is trying to get “inside his body.”
Williams, Tony. “Chain Saw Massacres: The Apocalyptic Dimension” Hearths of Darkness: Family in the American Horror Film. Toronto: Associated Universities press, 1996
Wood, Robin. An Introduction to the American Horror Film. The American Nightmare. Toronto: Festival of Festivals, 1979.