It is currently Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:03 pm

All times are UTC [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:30 am 
Offline
Registered Member
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:01 am
Posts: 16
The goal of this miniature essay is to assert the opinion that Manhunt (Rockstar Games, 2003) was created with full intention to serve as a rebellious, homoerotic glance into the societal view of violence in America. It also provides an interesting and rare look at a trope most are not used to seeing: an exploited male character in a "prey" position, who is also an object of lust for his pursuers.

Horror, death and sex go hand in hand. In French, la petite mort translates to "the little death" and is a cultural idiom for an orgasm. Horror movies, as a genre, are rife with sex. The victimized characters are often caught in the midst of intercourse, and the trope "final girl" is associated with a female character who is victimized again and again yet manages to make it out alive. The genre "torture porn" was coined shortly after the release of movies like Saw and Hostel in reference to the mindless, indulgent gore shown to viewers, who, despite controversy from critics and moviegoers alike, ate it up. Even before these films, Dario Argento was dousing his victimized women leads with blood and guts in the 70s. The trend continues today, with droves of movies devoted to excessive gore coming out each year.

The game opens with James Earl Cash (hereby referred to as simply "Cash") being broken out of jail by a man named Lionel Starkweather (hereby referred to as simply "Starkweather"). Starkweather frees Cash, but drops him off on the streets of Carcer City and promptly tells him to start killing the thugs he finds wandering around. Starkweather, while sounding seedy from the start, seems to serve mostly as an in-game mechanic to help you along the way and goad you into killing the enemies. However, at some point, the player will hear Starkweather's tone notably change.

"You're really getting me off, Cash." "You're getting me all flustered here." "Oh my god, I've had an accident. I'm serious man, you've brought me off." Complete with moaning noises, it becomes obvious that Starkweather is aroused by the killing he watches Cash perform. He observes the man throughout his journey, egging him on and becoming impatient when Cash fails to satisfy. Starkweather is an omnipresent voice whispered into both Cash and the player's ear, constantly reminding him - and us - that he's sexually stimulated by what he sees.

Starkweather is far from the only man to make such comments. Each gang member has a reference to how they believe Cash - and in extension the player - is homosexual, or that they want to force some sort of sex upon him. "I'll make him bleed from every hole and still beg me for more." "Don't you play hard to get, pretty boy." "Boys, don't spank him too hard." "Can I sit on his face?" "Something on my gaydar..." Such comments are just a few among many, and they are unambiguous in their intent. They add sexual tension and fear to the oppressive, dark and violent atmosphere.

The enemies present as violent power fantasies, either for men projecting onto that type or men who want to be on the receiving end of such. Every one of them is muscular, tough and undeniably masculine, with many wearing tight or revealing clothes. Tank tops that show rippling bodies, lack of shirts, form-fitting pants, fetish uniforms and boots. Take a look at each enemy and you'll be able to find some sort of gay, pornographic subfetish for them. Some of them - notably, members of the Smiley gang - wear feminine clothes. While one unique Smiley wears a pink dress due to psychosis and lingering guilt over killing his wife, other Smileys wear skirts for little reason other than being "insane." Still, the sight of a brawny man coated in blood and sporting a skirt, tight shirt and boots brings up the idea of several interesting fetishes that could be drawn from it.

There is a singular female character in the entire game (not including Cash's female family members, who only serve as silent plot devices like his father). She is a reporter and eventual escort-mission NPC that must be guided through the city by Cash. This journalist, despite being a woman in a deeply violent, hateful, and sexual game, is never actually given erotic attention. She does not flirt with Cash, nor does he with her. At no point does her dialogue become sexual. She does not present her body as a "prize" for Cash once he successfully escorts her home - indeed, she is completely out of the picture past that point. Once the mission is over Cash simply leaves her in her apartment and continues on his way. The fact that Rockstar, a company known for its controversy over sex, objectification and sexual violence involving women in their other titles like the Grand Theft Auto series decided to do nothing sexual with this female character is almost surprising, but only adds to mounting evidence of the point of this writing.

Throughout, Cash is hardly a free man. While he's out of prison he's kept as an entertainment slave to Starkweather for the majority of the game, being thrown around by Cerberus who treat him as little more than an object to deliver amusement, sexual gratification, and profit (in the form of snuff films) to Starkweather. This continues the theme of Cash being a mere victim, a plaything for his violent pursuers, as is the case for many female characters in horror movies. Only at the end does he break the cycle, after a long, brutal and voyeuristic path of murdering degenerate men.

Finally, in that vein, the player themselves is given a chance to indulge. Points are given for extra-violent killings, but are not required. While many gamers play Manhunt for the excellent, thrilling stealth mechanics it provides even in 2014, still others play - or did play it - with the intent of simulating violence against men. Men who are robust, depraved, sex-starved, violent and more. The camera zooms and focuses on these violent killings, letting the player watch as Cash creates a body count and little else. A violent and sexual power fantasy can be found in the gameplay of Manhunt and is offered generously to anyone seeking it, even encouraging it and letting the player know that sadism is welcomed in the form of rewarding for more kills and the ferocity of said kills.

In conclusion, Manhunt is special not only for its willingness to shock and disgust its audience, but because it twists the stereotype and forces a man into the "victim" role. While Cash is undoubtedly a protagonist and is able to kill all of his enemies, him being in such a position is quite unusual in the genre. Many horror games star a male protagonist, but few are subjected to - and are the victims of - such sexualized violence - the only other notable one to date being Outlast (Red Barrels, 2013; an entire decade after the release of Manhunt). Even though most gamers enjoying Manhunt to this day are far less likely to gawk at its degree of violence, being desensitized over the years, it manages to stay relevant, and, above all, a truly unique and fearless venture into a much-less-explored subgenre of horror: exploited, victimized and sexualized men.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:39 am 
Offline
Registered Member
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:41 pm
Posts: 4407
Location: Irken Imperial City, Irk
:D Very nice. This makes more sense than I'd like it to. :oops:

_________________
Epitaph of Kenneth Jesperson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ppkeovOZAI
Image
relsseS wrote:
This forum is almost as logical as religion itself.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:18 pm 
Offline
SWAT

Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:28 pm
Posts: 4243
Location: Medina, Ohio, USA
You should e-mail that to Kotaku. I'm sure they would love it.

_________________
Image
Image
"Beatings are bad, stabbings are bad, and mimes are bad. But beating and stabbing a mime......... Hilarious."- Me


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 4:33 am 
Offline
The Jury
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:58 am
Posts: 214
Location: 1984
Bravo on the interesting post.

But, if you havn't seen alot of the ultra nasty films from the 80's, like Last House on the Left and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer among others, which it sounds alot like you havn't, then I'm not sure if you really know what your talking about. I would suggest you do more research on the subject, if you really want to find out.

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:07 pm 
Offline
Registered Member
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:01 am
Posts: 16
Whitchity Man wrote:
You should e-mail that to Kotaku. I'm sure they would love it.


Good joke! I'm sure Reddit would love it!

Halfpastdead wrote:
Bravo on the interesting post.

But, if you havn't seen alot of the ultra nasty films from the 80's, like Last House on the Left and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer among others, which it sounds alot like you havn't, then I'm not sure if you really know what your talking about. I would suggest you do more research on the subject, if you really want to find out.


Where was a male sexually victimized in LHOTL? That was straight-up violence after lengthy rape/assault/exploitation scenes of female victims! I haven't seen the movie about Otis & Henry though, but the point of this writing isn't about horror movies. It's about how Manhunt is one of the very few, notably "less" examples of sexualized male violence in comparison to sexualized female violence, especially in the context of video games, and especially with an emphasis on male-on-male action.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:40 am 
Offline
The Jury
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:58 am
Posts: 214
Location: 1984
I guess Cash was sexually victimised a little by Starkweather at the beginning, though it very quickly turns to just plain violent revenge for 80 percent of the game. Probably why I was a little confused with your essay. But your right about that.
Homoerotic, not so much. Glance into the societal view of America, not so much. Being expliotative and sadistic, yeah sure. Referencing films that have nothing to do with Manhunt instead of ones that do made me wonder if you really know what your talking about. Last House on the Left is a good start, that was sexually violent and sadistically violent. The latter is more what I would classify Manhunt as.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 5:53 am 
Offline
Registered Member
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:01 am
Posts: 16
You're missing the point of an opinion writing and seem to be ignoring pieces of it just to argue against said point!

That's okay, I still love you.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:18 am 
Offline
The Jury
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:58 am
Posts: 214
Location: 1984
I just found it a little naïve. Homoerotism has crap all to do with Manhunt, which is in the title. Dario Argentino is about as weak sauce as you can get. Saw and Hostel are derivative. And some extra sexualised men meaning to Manhunt just isn't there.

It's well written and intelligent essay but I didn't find it hugely insightful personally. Interesting conversation and difference of opinion anyway. I don't think I'm ignoring anything, I simply disagree on a lot of it.

The male Hunter models are the way they are simply because it looks scary, the executions on men is just because they couldn't possibly get away with doing that to females or children. Hunters say what they say simply because they are insane and trying to freak you out.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:34 am 
Offline
Registered Member
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:01 am
Posts: 16
We must agree to disagree!

I'd love to talk to the devs who worked directly on the game, in any case.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:33 am 
Offline
Registered Member
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:41 pm
Posts: 4407
Location: Irken Imperial City, Irk
Project Manhunt.

_________________
Epitaph of Kenneth Jesperson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ppkeovOZAI
Image
relsseS wrote:
This forum is almost as logical as religion itself.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:35 pm 
Offline
SWAT

Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:28 pm
Posts: 4243
Location: Medina, Ohio, USA
PrettiestBaby wrote:
Whitchity Man wrote:
You should e-mail that to Kotaku. I'm sure they would love it.


Good joke! I'm sure Reddit would love it!

Halfpastdead wrote:
Bravo on the interesting post.

But, if you havn't seen alot of the ultra nasty films from the 80's, like Last House on the Left and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer among others, which it sounds alot like you havn't, then I'm not sure if you really know what your talking about. I would suggest you do more research on the subject, if you really want to find out.


Where was a male sexually victimized in LHOTL? That was straight-up violence after lengthy rape/assault/exploitation scenes of female victims! I haven't seen the movie about Otis & Henry though, but the point of this writing isn't about horror movies. It's about how Manhunt is one of the very few, notably "less" examples of sexualized male violence in comparison to sexualized female violence, especially in the context of video games, and especially with an emphasis on male-on-male action.


Oh God, you were actually being serious when you wrote that "essay". Have fun writing for Kotaku then, Patrick Kepler.

_________________
Image
Image
"Beatings are bad, stabbings are bad, and mimes are bad. But beating and stabbing a mime......... Hilarious."- Me


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:26 am 
Offline
Registered Member
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:01 am
Posts: 16
SevenTwelve wrote:
Project Manhunt.


Manhunt Project.

Whitchity Man wrote:
PrettiestBaby wrote:
Whitchity Man wrote:
You should e-mail that to Kotaku. I'm sure they would love it.


Good joke! I'm sure Reddit would love it!

Halfpastdead wrote:
Bravo on the interesting post.

But, if you havn't seen alot of the ultra nasty films from the 80's, like Last House on the Left and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer among others, which it sounds alot like you havn't, then I'm not sure if you really know what your talking about. I would suggest you do more research on the subject, if you really want to find out.


Where was a male sexually victimized in LHOTL? That was straight-up violence after lengthy rape/assault/exploitation scenes of female victims! I haven't seen the movie about Otis & Henry though, but the point of this writing isn't about horror movies. It's about how Manhunt is one of the very few, notably "less" examples of sexualized male violence in comparison to sexualized female violence, especially in the context of video games, and especially with an emphasis on male-on-male action.


Oh God, you were actually being serious when you wrote that "essay". Have fun writing for Kotaku then, Patrick Kepler.


It's funny when men are insecure in their sexuality to the point they do not at all want to think of the implications of dicks touching in anything they like. Not even consider it, and then become hostile!

But mostly it's just sad.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group