May is a very sweet and odd girl. As a child, she was ostracized in grade school because she had to wear an eye patch to try to correct her lazy eye. The only friend she had was the creepy doll her mother gave her that she wasn’t allowed to take out of the case. As an adult, her doll continues to be her only friend while she works as a vet’s assistant and enjoys making her own clothes at home as an accomplished seamstress. One day, she observes a boy that works at the auto shop from afar and falls in love with him and his beautiful hands. She goes out with him for a while, but scares him away with her odd behavior. This trend of people disappointing her and things generally going wrong extends to all of her friends and endeavors to reach out to people, so she decides to follow her mother’s advice: “If you can’t find a friend, make one.” On Halloween, May arms herself with vet’s tools and a cooler to gather the best of her friends and make her very own best friend.
This is an odd little gem of a film that I heard about on my search for more horror films to watch. It took me a while to find the DVD, but it was definitely worth the wait. May is a wonderful modern retelling of Mary Shelley’s classic novel, Frankenstein.
The beginning of the film just makes me smile. May is so odd and sweet. Her budding romance with Adam is so cute and it seems as if they are made for each other. She is incredibly creepy and nonchalantly talks about a dog’s stitches bursting, his guts spilling all over the yard, and dying because of a mistake by the vet. He makes weird cannibal romance films. Their relationship doesn’t work out and Adam ends it, but doesn’t extend even the opportunity for friendship to May.
I connect with May. I feel like I would be friends with her if she weren’t homicidal. Like May, I also had to wear an eye patch as a child. I have never heard of anyone else having to do that, so I immediately felt a kinship with her. Her mother is incredibly overprotective, yet seemed really cold towards May. The beautiful porcelain doll in a glass box is a great metaphor for May’s relationship with her mother, with May as the doll, protected but alone in her box. This image is reinforced when she dresses up as the doll for Halloween in the final night of the film. It saddened me when May really tries to find any sort of relationship and the results always proves disastrous. Although her actions are extreme and people hopefully wouldn’t do that in real life, the motives behind it are understandable by anyone. Everyone can relate to feeling alone and wanting to connect with the people around them. In this way, May is like Dr. Frankenstein and the monster in one. She sets out to create a creature, but feels the anguish and loneliness that the creature feels. This character would be very easy to dislike and even demonize if it weren’t handled as well as Angela Bettis did in the film. May does some very odd things, even before she resorts to murder, but the viewer is with her the entire way because of the endearing quality she has. She remained sweet in her own odd way, even while murdering people and sewing their parts together.
One of the aspects of the film that I liked is the doll that is May’s only close friend. It talks to her throughout the film. At first, the viewer figures that May just talks to it like a person would talk out loud to themselves. Later on in the film, when May’s life is crumbling around her, the doll seems to be screaming at her, conveyed by soft, incoherent murmurings and the cracking of the glass surrounding the doll. The cracking gets deafening when May talks to Adam to try to spend time together and he rejects her, partly because she yelled very loudly in an effort to silence the doll. The moment where May’s world really unravels completely is accompanied by the destruction of the doll and the glass box that protects it, which extends the May as a doll metaphor.
This film is very memorable with its almost fairy tale feel coupled with grisly scenes of murder. It straddles the line between horror and comedy, resulting in great black comedy. I would recommend this unique film to just about everyone just to get it out there, but it seems like such a quirky movie that only a select few would actually like it.
My rating: 9/10 fishmuffins
**This post is for Velvet's September Zombies.**