The Monstrous Masculine:

                                               Abjection and Todd Solondz's Happiness

  Horror films often use the male as monster, though conventional ideology says

  that it is not his masculine characteristics that make him monstrous. Barbara

  Creed writes that “the male body is represented as monstrous in the horror

  film because it assumes characteristics usually associated with the female

  body;” that which makes him monstrous is not that which makes him male.

  The thematic thread of Todd Solondz's Happiness, beneath its facade of

  suburban anxiety and domestic despair, is that of deviant masculinity; the

  nuclear family invaded by male monstrosity. In mapping Billy's horrific

  trajectory towards maturity, the film's project is to present masculinity as

  abject via the specific rites of passage that he must undergo in order to accede

  to manhood. Male sexuality is constructed as monstrous because of the very

  characteristics that are inherent to his experience of becoming a man. The film

  addresses these issues through the generic conventions of the horror film, and

  where these films traditionally work to annihilate the threat to patriarchy and

  repress the abject, Happiness concludes with images of the paternal order in

  crisis. It is in these final moments that Billy comes to embody the monstrous

  masculine, passing into maturity while at the same time signaling a collapse of

  symbolic law, illustrated by the failure of the paternal figure to prohibit the

  incestuous bond that is established between mother and child. A link to the

  .pdf can be found here.