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Brian De Palma's Split-ScreenA Life in Film$
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Douglas Keesey

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781628466973

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2016

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628466973.001.0001

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Dressed to Kill (1980)

Dressed to Kill (1980)

(p.128) Chapter 13 Dressed to Kill (1980)
Brian De Palma's Split-Screen

Douglas Keesey

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter argues that key scenes that display female sexuality and its associated guilt and violence in Dressed to Kill (1980) are searing, coherent, and personal explorations by De Palma of women's sexual fantasies and fears. They are not simply there for visceral excitement or necrophiliac titillation, despite popular conceptions of the film as misogynistic. Certain moments in De Palma's life have as a matter of fact been direct inspirations for the scenes in question. Thereafter, this chapter also discusses the film's connections with Psycho, asserting that there are deep, significant linkages between the two movies, such as the parallels between both films' iconic shower scenes as well as the “split” natures of both films' transvestites.

Keywords:   Dressed to Kill, Psycho, female sexuality, female sexual fantasies, female sexual fears, transvestites, cross-dressing

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