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Jane Levy is no stranger to the realm of monsters. The 27-year-old actress has squared off against demons, and blind madmen, but she will soon also delve into a more cute world of silver screen creatures with the release of Paramount's Monster Trucks. The actress has a clear affinity for all things scary, creepy, and controversial, but arguably no moment from her entire filmography has become more contentious than Don't Breathe's "turkey baster" scene. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Ms. Levy about the scene, and she explained that she's still very conflicted about it. The actress said:
I don't think there was that much backlash. I think the majority of people liked it. I read a couple articles where people criticized it, but I felt like -- across the board -- most people loved the movie, and if they had a problem with it, they sort of forgave it and glossed over it. But I personally understand the criticism. I think that it's sort of a cheap shot. You know, there's a twist on rape or attempted rape, but rape in horror films is really actually common. It's not that shocking or exciting or new. And I think that criticism, I sort of agree with.
As those of you who have seen Don't Breathe likely remember, the scene in question involves the Blind Man (Stephen Lang) tying up Jane Levy's Rocky in his basement and attempting to impregnate her with a turkey baster. That's already scary enough, but the disturbing promise follows that he will keep her chained in his basement until she gives birth to the child, and then let her go after nine months -- although he never actually reveals whether or not there's truth to his words. Levy plays the scene beautifully in the movie, but she apparently understands why it upset certain people when the film debuted. The scene still upsets her. The prevalence of rape as a storytelling device (particularly in horror films) has become a phenomenon that hasn't gone unnoticed, and she agrees with the notion that the scene has exploitive qualities that arguably go too far for the sake of a "cheap" scare.
Jane Levy ultimately defended the scene as it's portrayed in the movie by citing the fact that it does not feature an overt depiction of rape. The fact that most of the threat is implied rather than explicitly shown kept it from going too far over the edge. However, she tempered her defense with the acknowledgment that she's still not entirely comfortable with what the nature of the scene and its greater implications. Levy elaborated:
What I appreciate about the scene is that it's not explicit, and it's more of a psychological threat, but at the same time, it's still something that exists in storytelling all of the time. If you think about how much rape exists in movies, it's quite shocking. I've actually been wondering about that. It's also like, why is there so much violence in movies that you don't see in real life? I guess in horror films they're an exercise in extreme. I feel conflicted about the scene actually, but I would actually side more with the critics who say it was kind of an easy choice.
What did you think of Don't Breathe's infamous turkey baster scene? Did it cross a line, or did it work well within the context of the movie? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
Make sure to check out Jane Levy in Monster Trucks this weekend when the live-action/animation hybrid hits theaters on January 13.