Three girls in 1987 are on their way to a heavy metal concert, and instead of a “meet cute” there is a “meet mean” on the highway. Later in the parking lot, they meet up with the trio who had thrown a chocolate milk shake on their windshield, go on to hear the concert, then Alexis (Alexandria Daddario), the leader of the pack, invites them all back to her family’s country house, a vast mansion in the middle of nowhere.
Of course, We Summon the Darkness, being a horror thriller, nothing is at first what it seems.
In fact, even the title gives away secrets and plot twists.
For the purposes of this column, however, the 2020 release We Summon the Darkness highlights the delightful fact that sometimes little episodes of S&m drift into films as unexpected sources of pleasure. The three girls, which also include Val (Maddie Hasson) and newcomer to the group Beverly (Amy Forsyth) ruffie the three metal heads. They are all in the backyard, playing a game of “Never Did I Ever” and drinking too much and then one by one the lads begin to feel faint and topple over, each one frightening more the remaining ones further. As they weave and stumble, the three harridans tease and taunt them, in textbook pretty girl domination fashion. “That’s so precious. That’s so sweet. Whatever made you think that we were going to have sex with you.” “Oh no, oh gosh [cruel laugh], you should go check on him!” What’s happening? Are you tired? Oh you poor baby.” “Oh are you tired? Are you asleep? Oh, I think you’re asleep.” All spoken in that high pitched teasing tone of false and knowing concern, the way a Domme toys with a helpless bound slave taunting him with false solicitude that crushes his spirit even more. The scene might really intensify the mood of any Princess fetishists in the audience.
The ladies are garbed in routine late ’80s leathern baby doll fashion with a dollop of Madonna. No bootage, but for what it is worth, Ms Daddario wears black cowboy boots throughout, though they are never highlighted.
Another facet of the fetishist movie buff is to know from a title or plot or a genre what film is likely to include some fetishist M&s material. A Women in Prison film is likely to have a sadistic warden, cruel guards, and handcuffs. A terrorist action film is likely to have a sadistic bitch as No. 2 with a machine gun, a complicated sports watch, and big boots. And a pirate movie is likely to have at one point or another a lass in huge boots.
One of the best is Against All Flags. This is a vehicle for an aging Errol Flynn, way past his warranty, with Maureen O’Hara as the love interest, a lady pirate who is part of the crew that Flynn – really a good guy – is infiltrating on behalf of His Majesty, the Queen. Released in 1952, Against All Flags is a non-stop actioner, but when it does slow down, as in one scene set in Flynn’s cabin, it can turn all sexy as get out. Here they flirt and argue and O’Hara more or less tells Flynn that she is available, and does so in the most subtle way – she smiles and with arms on the top of the couch and Domme-spreading her legs crossed she wiggles the toe of her thigh-high boot seductively.
Did these filmmakers know what they were doing at the time, with all these hints of fetishism and dominance. Since so many real life people are turning out to have some level of interest in s&M, certainly some members of the crew or higher ups in the executive offices really really really wanted to see Ms. O’Hara in thigh boots, and saw to it that the costume department designed the most delicious pair for her. One wonders where those boots are now.
Mission Statement: Everyone will agree that the cinema is one of our culture’s most powerful art forms. It is best at heightening emotions. With the form’s camera framing, music, editing techniques, and other elements, a master of the movies can concentrate our attention on the minutia and nuances of certain states of mind. This is especially potent when it comes to the erotic arts. In this series of bulletins, I will highlight films that capture some essentials of BDSM, D/s, S/m sessions, and power dynamics. We can do this because since at least the 1990s, dominant women have ceased to be a gag moment of comedy relief and become accepted, normalized if you will.