Friday, April 6, 2007


dir. Mitchell Lichtenstein

Innocent girl finds out she has teeth in her vagina. Comedy/horror ensues.

Guest Article!
January 25, 2007 - 35mm/Library Center Theater

Teeth is, without question, a feminist social critique masked as a B mutant-slasher-comedy. Everyone knows this, right? Like, duh. What ails me is that I seem to remember a similar tactic used in George A. Romero's Land of the Dead
where, instead of Dawn of The Dead's subtle stab at American capitalism, we are subjected to an overt allegory of contemporary American politics. I mean- you've got- okay, so there's this walled city that protects the last of the living from the zombies, right? Then there's this big fucking skyscraper filled with all the privileged white people which is sealed off from the hobo heroes who live on the streets. And Dennis Hopper's a republican. I mean, it's obvious, right? The chick's got fucking teeth in her pussy! It's like I can hear Camille Paglia saying, "Eat a dick Laura Mulvey!" Duh!

God, I wish I could fuck Camille Paglia and Laura Mulvey at the same time.

Dawn (played by an amazing Jess Weixler) is a sexually confused teenage babe who swears to be celibate until marriage. She lives in a typical American suburb that is powered by a prominent nuclear power plant (MUTANTS!!! TMNT and shit! WOO!!). And she has no idea that super-hot blonde (it's important that she's blonde) girls aren't supposed to have vagina dentata. The B-movie excuse for bad writing comes in when we realize that all the dudes are outrageously arrogant misogynists. Every male figure in this movie is deplorable, with the exception of Dawn's stepfather, who is unmistakably benevolent (aren't movie stepfathers supposed to be the ones that are deplorable? Clever!). I mean, am I crazy? Not all men are rapists! "Or are they?" Teeth asks.

It really is totally awesome when these dudes get castrated though. Love it. In fact, there is quite a bit of cock (severed or not) featured in this movie, hardly any tits, and no toothed vaginas. The sole female nude scene arrives when Dawn is alone and gazing into a mirror. She is discovering she is a woman, an empowered woman, and her attitude toward the shitty men in her life changes. This scene in particular is very affecting. Without a word, it evokes Eowyn's "I am no man." Weixler really nailed it.

Then comes the plot again. With a few more glaring cliches (maybe it's satire?) Dawn fully transforms into the super-hero Teeth prescribes her to be.

Teeth's message, albeit profound for its associated genre(s), is oversimplified with a barrage of perfunctory plot points justified by its B-horror prerequisite. Sort of like Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle's relationship to stoner movies. Teeth, with all its awesome rape scenes and uber femme fetale, occasionally (not often) made me roll my eyes and grumble. This movie is not perfect. I was sometimes bored when I should have been titillated and emasculated, and then totally desensitized! Man, I wish I could stop masturbating for a week and watch Basic Instinct.........and then smoke a cigarette, yell at my girlfriend, hang out with some dudes at a bar and then punch some fucking homo greaser in the face!

Teeth is written and directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein (you know, from The Wedding Banquet) and, with my reservations aside, he does an outstanding job. The Weinstein Company picked this one up at Sundance (where I saw it) and promises us they'll keep the NC-17 rating. Wait. Why is it NC-17? That's a whole other story (hint: the MPAA is run by men). In the meantime, we'll have to see if Teeth makes it back from the slaughterhouse.


Jeff Larson said...

Hmmm.... Camille. I'd much prefer Gilbert or Gubar, though.

Jeff GP said...

I prefer Sullivan over Gilbert. I also prefer John Madden.

Dan Keezer said...

Interesting note: Paglia got a special thanks on Teeth. Apparently, she was one of Lichtenstein's favorite professors in college.

I prefer Leonardo DiCaprio.

Jeff Larson said...

Dude, but, really, wouldn't you prefer Gilbert and Gubar? That would be, like, from heaven.

Dan Keezer said...

you're right. they're probably madwomen in the sack.