In the world of myth, Medusa was a gorgeous woman who was assaulted inside the temple of Athena by Poseidon, who gained power over the goddess of wisdom through this attack. Angered, Athena punished Medusa by transforming her into a horrific creature, her radiant hair replaced by snakes. Today, feminists see the story of Medusa as one of the first cases of victim blaming. There’s also the theory that she was transformed into a beast because men have always feared female desire.
That brings us to the movie Medusa, in which a young woman suddenly finds that a snake’s bite has begun to change her into something new, beautiful and deadly.
The first full-length movie from director Matthew B.C. — working from a script by Scott Jeffrey — tells the story of a caravan of prostitutes facing a variety of addictions, violent customers and an existence bereft of any hope.
When a new girl named Carly — who had escaped this caravan once before, only to succumb back to the siren’s call of heroin addiciton — is taken to work there by her pimp, her first job introduces her to Alexis, who is both a snake and a woman. Once Carly is bitten, she becomes something that will change the world of all of the women.
If you told me the premise of this movie without showing it to me — and told me the budget — I’d think it was a trifle. Yet I was pleasantly surprised by the way the narrative is in the now without clubbing you over the head with its messages. It’s a talented filmmaker who can thread the narrow divides of commerce, exploitation and message. Somehow, against the odds, this movie does that.
And hey — I’m all for movies that feature snakes growing out of a woman’s head.
Medusa is available on demand and on DVD from New Era Entertainment.