When I first watched Freddy vs. Jason in theaters, I didn't even blink when Kelly Rowland used the word “faggot” as a pejorative against Freddy Krueger. I was not politically engaged then, and certainly not thoughtful about the media's power to both shape and reinforce damaging notions about vulnerable groups — even a group I happened to be a part of.
In hindsight, the scene is shameful as hell. When Kia hurls the line “What kind of faggot runs around in a Christmas sweater?”, she uses it as a term of denigration and emasculation; it is lobbed in an effort to diminish his power, just as it has been against LGBT individuals throughout history. “You're not even scary,” she follows up. Freddy goes on to semi-refute this by
brutally murdering having Jason brutally murder her. If only he could have murdered that line, too.
I bring this up because Bloody Disgusting contributor Trace Thurman just posted an excellent interview with Freddy vs. Jason screenwriters Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, in which the scribes not only lament the use of the homophobic slur in the 2003 slasher-movie mashup but claim they tried to stop it from making it into the movie at all:
“All we can tell you is…we didn”t write it, and we were really shocked when we heard it in the movie. We complained about it after the first screening, but it was never changed. It”s a real stain on the movie, in our opinion.”
To think that the line was deemed suitable by every decision maker who watched the film prior to release is pretty mind-blowing; to know that it remained in the film even after the screenwriters complained about it is enough to make my blood simmer on this Friday the 13th (it remains unclear whether the line was improvised by Rowland on set or suggested by someone else working on the film). Though we've by no means eradicated homophobia in mainstream Hollywood filmmaking, there's no way a line like that would fly today — at least not without creating a virtual firestorm on social media. Thank god that bleak nu-metal era is over.
You can and should read Trace's entire piece over at Bloody Disgusting.