Ladies of Horror: Teeth


Written by Cat Wilson of

…there is a motif occurring in certain primitive mythologies, as well as in modern surrealist painting and neurotic dream, which is known to folklore as ‘the toothed vagina’ – the vagina that castrates. -Joseph Campbell

Barbara Creed coined the term “monstrous-feminine” as a meme created by the phallocentric patriarchy, in which monsters represent the sexual difference of the feminine and terror of castration. Many horror stories deal with male fears: Frankenstein is associated with womb envy and Alien the fear of male rape and impregnation. It’s important to remember while reading our suggestions that feminism is not a monolith, and many feminists are divided on the merit of horror movies. Although, we find it interesting the films with women receive double the scrutiny of the male dominated film.

With that said, today’s pick is Teeth.

Yes, this film was written and directed by a man although it was co-produced with a woman. There was enormous push back against this film by male movie industry executives and even location scouts some of which describe it as porn. But it is not porn. Teeth critiques the purity culture, male entitlement and consent. Trigger warning there are four scenes of rape, although in a twist our heroine Dawn’s body defends her when she is unable. To be fair the film is not perfect as Dawn is drugged for her “consensual” moment, a mistake the director acknowledges. In Teeth Dawn does not start as a monster but is made one through the abuse of men.