I’ll Watch Anything is an Autostraddle TV Team series in which we tell you what type of movies and TV shows we’ll watch, no matter what. This week, A.Tony’s here to tell you why they will watch anything where someone (who by A.Tony’s standards) deserves to get revenge and makes sure they get it.
When I was some younger than middle school age, I was sitting in my grandma’s office in a big red plush recliner watching TV. A commercial for a new movie starring Kimberly Elise and Loretta Devine and Clifton Powell came on. I cannot remember anything else from the commercial except: a young black girl singing a nursery rhyme, Kimberly Elise angry and crying as Clifton Powell apologized for some thing in the past, and best of all, Kimberly in a pink church dress standing in a megachurch all anger and uncontained grief, pointing a small silver gun at Clifton with his hands up in remorse, and then a loud shot, gasps and screams within the megachurch, as the screen goes black.
As we know, cops aren’t going to save anybody and in the case of my communities, they are more likely to kill us than to avenge us. (Though I recognize it as propaganda now, that’s why Law and Order: Special Victims Unit was my SHOW for years: because it functioned in a completely unrealistic world where cops would actually fight to get justice for people like me, for the sexually abused.) People like me are not allowed to have revenge. And media that portrays someone who looks like me, loves like me, presents and moves through life like me, is extremely rare and if I’m reflected it’s more likely in a story about death (not just the final one, but the ones leading up to the grand finale as well) than any kind of life).
Movies that fall under this category for me (off the top of my head) include:
Candyman (I’m a fan of both)
Fear Street Trilogy
It: Part One
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Perfect Stranger (Halle Berry’s)
The Purge (OG)
Scream movie series
sweet/vicious (please return to me)
The aforementioned Woman Thou Art Loosed
“I don’t plan on being a better person. I’m becoming worse everyday.wp_posts– Moon Dong Eun
The thing about being a survivor is healing is just really fucking ugly. Every story that tells you different, it’s not that they’re lying, it’s that they are showing you one snippet of not everyone’s journey. True, not every survivor dreams revenge. But it’s also true that some survivors do not have more joy than not, especially since access to resources for proper healing are not equal for everyone. Some people have therapy to ground them, I have Helena’s wings.
“Some hatred resembles longing. It’s impossible to get rid of.wp_posts– Moon Dong Eun
One of the only ways I survived a long period of abuse was by imagining a metal baseball bat, all the people who never helped me and God watching, and the inability for cops to get there in time.
“Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, fracture for fracture. The one who inflicted the injury must suffer the same. I don’t know. That sounds too fair to ne.wp_posts– Moon Dong Eun
It did not stop the hands. Or the teeth. Or the other teeth. Or the tongue. Or what was scooped out of me. But it got me from one moment to the next.
“The pain, I assure you, will be exquisite.” ~The Man Who Has The Sweets (no I will not write that movie’s name here, thanks).
As of late, The Glory is my strongest obsession and also led me to watching Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (which I’ve only seen titled as Lady Vengeance, a small fact that I can’t help but obsess over) for the first time. One thing I love about The Glory, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, and The Handmaiden are that revenge isn’t just a group project, its often seen as a right.
So often, revenge stories are seen as John Wick doing all the work himself. And, to be fair, he is taking motherfuckers out left, right, sideways, backwards, and in other dimensions — I will not take that fact away from him. But, so much of what he’s able to do after a certain point, is dependent on others helping him. And that’s something I need as a survivor. The knowledge, the understanding, the belief that I’m not in this alone. I was alone in the abuse. I do not want to be alone in the recovery.
There’s that whole American “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” ideology even in revenge stories, when really, they’re just highlighting one person in order to blur our vision of everyone who gets them there (art imitates life, I guess).
“You think you’re tricking me? You’re the one being tricked.” ~Lady Hideko
I’m also about, the not super haunting type of revenge too. Like, Mean Girls and Do Revenge, where, let’s be honest the person doing the revenge got outed by a popular girl and I wholly support whatever they decide to do to get back at them. Even John Tucker Must Die (which is an incredibly misleading title) was on repeat for at least three years (back when we had cable) because I loved seeing John’s face when he figured everything out. To be honest, that revenge felt like lopsided even to me, but I’m not against lopsided revenge all the time. Gone Girl? Amazing Amy was amazingly wrong BUT I love the ride she takes me on so I’ll allow it.
“There will be no forgiveness and so there will be no glory either.wp_posts– Moon Dong Eun
Growing up in both a religious school and a religious family, we’re always told, “Turn the other cheek”. And for the longest time, we weren’t even really allowed to talk about anger. To an extent, we still aren’t. Keeping anger inside you with nowhere to go makes you…dangerous. But in the wrong ways. That danger rarely goes out to the people who deserve it, but can manifest in your closest relationships, how you hold and hurt your body, and even just your ability to make i from one day to the next. Revenge movies gave me a place to be angry and to live and hope in that anger for two hours at a time. I look at how, quite frankly fucked up, I am now. I’m a little terrified of what I may have become if I hadn’t had even that.