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Teeth: Because Killer Crotches are all the rage these days.
Warning: This review is not for kids. Seriously. Yet again I'm reviewing something that's can't be discussed freely with a PG-13 rating. As such, I'd like everyone under the age of 18 to put their heads on their desks. Now that you're all pretending to be old enough, let's get started. (You in the back...stop reading this now before you get me in trouble.)
I was going to review something else today, but when I opened my mailbox I got far too many messages begging me to share the story of "Teeth." In many ways, I really wish I hadn't listened. I'm not going to be the same and I suggest anyone who likes sex and has a vivid imagination like myself to stop reading this right away and avoid the film. Of course, this message is really for the guys out there. That's a warning; if any film will come to mind the next time you have sex, it just might be this one. And that is a truly terrible thing.
Supposedly a remake of a Japanese film (whose name translates to "Killer Pussy"), Teeth is...special. I know quite a few of you must have seen the trailer on television. They've been marketing this monster pretty aggressively, from what I've been told. As much as I want to postpone telling you exactly what this film's about in case you don't know already, I don't have that option. Teeth is a film about a young girl who has shark teeth in her vagina. Take a deep breath and re-read that sentence. There's no other way to put it. Check out the film's opening:
A small boy and girl are sitting in an inflatable swimming pool...their parents just married and now they're stepbrother and stepsister. The little boy seems angry about it, but that doesn't stop him from exposing his junk to his stepsister (don't worry, they don't show it thank GOD). Of course, his next action is to stick his finger inside his 6-year-old sister (SWEET MOTHER OF GOD THIS IS IN THE FIRST MINUTE OF THE MOVIE WHY WHY WHY) which leads to....
With a mysterious bite on his finger (which isn't investigated), the film's credits begin to roll and we flash forward to the modern day where the little girl Dawn is a young and perky teenager.
Teeth is a story about how all men are terrible, vaginas are taboo, and all young girls are inherently victims. Minus Dawn's father, there really isn't a guy in this film that doesn't deserve to have his cock bitten off by a monster womb. The imagery of the film is, shall we say, less than subtle. Every t-shirt carries an ironic message and many, many shots feature hidden subliminal cooch, sort-of a "Where's Waldo" for vaginas, like the tree pictured to the left. Hell, one of the first major traumatizing scenes takes place in a warm, wet cave that, much like the main character, seems to have teeth. There're many moments revolving around the sexual repression of the female body, so maybe the director was just trying to show that lady loins exist everywhere in nature. If I was a betting man, though, I'd say he just wanted to get people to chuckle as the characters swim into a giant vagina cave. Watch the movie for yourself, and you tell me if I'm crazy or womb-obsessed.
We catch up with Dawn as she gives a speech at a Church meeting that's all about keeping your virginity. I'm sure you've been to one of these...they even seem to happen in public schools now and again. A young man and woman grab a microphone and either a) Tell you that God gave you a special gift that you should save for marriage or b) if you have pre-marital sex your genitalia will become infected and fall off. Speaking personally (No, my genitalia did not become infected and fall off), I'm reminded of something my mother gave me when I was about fourteen years old.
My mother has always been what I would call an Extreme Christian. I'm not sure how I turned out the way I did, but my closest parental figure was someone who suggested the Devil planted dinosaur bones on the Earth to make people believe in evolution. There's more, but I love my Mom and I'm cool with people believing what they want as long as they don't attack me with it (hence my intolerance to "loud" vegans and their persecution of my dinner). Point is, when I was just hitting puberty, I got an 8-hour long tape series all about why you shouldn't masturbate. I'm not kidding. My mom made me listen to eight hours of young adults telling me all about why God weeps whenever I touch myself. :sigh: Man, Teeth is already a traumatizing film; it's reminding me of drama from my youth. And Masturbation. And Christianity. Worse yet? It's going to be doing that again pretty soon.
Speaking of sexual repression, let's get back to Dawn. She's a MILITANT virgin that's heavily involved in her church and loves talking to her favorite boy friend (not boyfriend) about how nice it is to totally not have sex. This sort of strikes me as counter-intuitive. It's like going to the cashier at Burger King and declaring how happy you are to not order a Whopper with a side order of fries. It's confusing and frustrating to at least one of the parties involved. But Dawn is pretty pure. When she does finally start to touch herself in a later scene, we get a peak into her erotic fantasy. I wonder what turns her on?
Oh, right. I should have guessed. Thank you Teeth for showing a young girl try to masturbate while thinking about getting married. I'm sure it's not an unusual fantasy but...it drives home that Dawn is the innocent little girl that society tells us we should be. Well, society as per our parents. Not society as per Bratz, to be certain. After her fantasy, she calls the boy and tells him she needs to stay pure and they can't hang out anymore. Again, I'm reminded of a religious friend of mine. She's an old friend and she's joked about kissing in the past. Then she had a morality crisis and told me not to talk to her ever again....despite nothing having happened. Oh well. I'll save the rest of that story for my emo blog....because right now we need to get to the genital mutilation. (Genital Mutilation > Emo Drama every day of the week.)
Dawn later succumbs to her sinful desires (sorta) and meets her boy at the local swimming hole. They end up making out a bit until she cries foul when he grabs her breast. Without saying another word, Dawn swims into the vagina cave I mentioned earlier, known in the film as "the place the teenager go to have sex." It is, after all, a vagina cave. Her boy follows eagerly, like that horny drunk guy who won't stop following you from room to room at the after-party. The scene plays out pretty awkwardly...Dawn seems to both be leading on her man as well as not being interested at all. Pretty realistic for some folks.
Her man ends up turning friendly gestures into erotic ones (the hug that ends with a kiss on the shoulder, for example). Then? Then he takes off his pants, exposes himself, and declares that "He hasn't even masturbated since Easter." While I do wonder how exactly his family celebrates Easter (ewww), this is our film's first rape scene. This boy seemed pretty sweet until he gets his pants off...which is of course the trigger that turns most men into groping madmen. Wrestling with her, he knocks her unconscious. Naturally, this is when he slips himself inside her. :sigh: Sorry folks, I have to be this detailed with what happens. This is one of the few films where the details of penetration are important to the plot. Well, one of the few non-porn films where penetration is important to the plot. Anyway, our boy learns an important lesson:
Yup. That's the face of a man who's had his weenis bitten off by a monster vagina.
Teeth is a film that's sold as a horror/comedy. I sort of disagree with that. The horror element is there, but the comedy? These people aren't having their peni bitten off in a "funny" way...rather we get to see scene after scene of agonizing screams and far too realistic gore depicting exactly what kind of damage a toothy crotch can do.
I guess what I'm saying is that this film is officially a comedy to a small number of folks who find snuff films to be a laugh riot. I mean, it's funny to me because "HOLY CRAP HE JUST GOT HIS JUNK BITTEN OFF BY A VAGINA," but the screams and the gore are just realistic enough to make me cringe. It's just over the top enough for me to momentarily think I'm watching a Troma film. Then again, maybe this is a comedy for women. I'm curious to hear a lady's take on this one. The film is all about how women are victims that obviously need vaginal fangs to protect them from the abuse of men.
I will admit, however, the image of a freshwater crab eating a severed penis is whimsically funny to me.
Anyway, our heroine (or antagonist, I'm not sure) does some research into her condition and exactly what a vagina should look like. Checking out her sex education book, she seems shocked to find that everyone doesn't have a set of teeth in their womb. Her online research introduces her to the idea of "Vagina Dentata" which is an ongoing myth about, well, vaginas with teeth. This combined with all the not-so-subtle themes presented in the film, officially declare Dawn's monster crotch to be an adaptation to help her species. More or less. It's there if you look, but Teeth is a film that doesn't need that kind of analysis.
Dawn, now realizing she might be different, goes to a gynecologist.
Now, as a guy, I've never been to a gynecologist. The women in my life don't like to talk about it but besides a few creepy videos I've seen and a few jokes about cold hands, I'm not sure what goes on there. I'm a guy. So when I first watched this scene I blinked and didn't realize what the doctor did wrong.
It occurs to me now that gynecologists don't have to stick their entire fist inside a vagina to test for "flexibility"...which is exactly what the doctor does. Jesus. Even the male gynecologist, someone who's been trained to be female-friendly, is a horrible, molesting horndog who forces his fist inside a woman. (Not to judge those of you out there who enjoy fisting, naturally). Luckily, he provides the groundwork for the best scene in the film.
You haven't lived until you've seen a grown man wrestle with a horrible vagina monster that has his hand trapped deep inside a teenage girl. It's bizarre and awesome. If I had to create a new word to describe it, I'd call it "vag-tastic." Feel free to use that word. It'll be the next big thing, I'm sure.
While he stares at his wounded hand (and watches his fingers fall out of Dawn's vagina onto the floor), he starts screaming "Vagina Dentata, the legends are True, Vagina Dentata!" Man, Teeth is a classy film if ever there was one.
Speaking of class, Dawn realizes she needs someone to talk to so she ends up going to the-other-boy-who-was-nice-to-her's house. Rambling on about how she has teeth in her crotch and how she's murdered people, the boy of course tells her it'll all be OK and she should take a bath. Following the bath, of course, comes the date rape.
Candles, sex toys, flowers, xanax, and booze....everything you need to pretend what's happening is romance and not rape. Dawn wakes up with a boy pleasuring her; she's shocked that she's enjoying it. And you know what? They have sex. She loves it, he loves it, and no one's penis gets bitten off. It still was rape but I guess narratively it's ok since she liked it? :sigh: We flash forward to the next morning.
Here's the only female nudity in the film (I stress female because we get to see a lot of man-wang throughout the flick), showing that Dawn is now a woman who is comfortable with her body. She's "empowered" now and men had best watch out. Trust me, you'll understand soon. As she goes to leave, the boy gives her a sleazy "come hither" look and our girl answers back by jumping on top of him. It's this way for a lot of people I guess. Personally, I didn't realize how much I liked/needed/wanted sex until after I had it the first time. Then? Then I was hooked and my days of purity were quickly forgotten. Dawn is pretty much the same way, though the bliss doesn't last long as she soon learns this boy made a bet he could have sex with her. His big mistake? Telling her about the bet while he was scrumping her.
Oh lord. If you're a guy, I really hope you don't think about this movie the next time you're inside your wife/girlfriend/slutty mom next door. If you're one of the guys who winces whenever a character gets kicked in the balls, I really suggest avoiding this film. Just as Pyscho made folks afraid of the shower, so too will Teeth make men fear the snootch.
There's been a side plot this whole time that Dawn's Mom is sick and dying and, in the final act, she does so. The other character that hasn't been important yet but has been in the film this whole time is her stepbrother Brad. He was the little molesting kid at the beginning, remember? Now he's a punk with a submissive girlfriend and he's a totally dickwad who likes his dog more than anything else. He abuses his girl, makes her eat dog biscuits, and states very clearly that he's only living at home so he can have a chance to screw his stepsister Dawn. I bring this up now because Brad apparently ignored his mother's calls for help thus indirectly being responsible for her death. The film doesn't have much to do with Brad, but he shows up just enough and is just dicky enough (pun intended) to qualify as the final boss our hero/monster must defeat/mutilate. When Dawn finds out about how he's responsible for her dead mother, the war drums start to play.
Seriously...we get to hear dramatic music that's usually reserved for soldiers preparing themselves for battle, hobbits bracing themselves for a Cave Troll attack, etc. Dawn puts on some make-up and gets dressed up so she can take her revenge against Brad by having sex with him. Wait, what? No, that's exactly true.
Say hello to the weirdest sex scene in any film ever (that isn't porn). A girl with a monster vagina wants to use it against her brother but is repulsed by him but wants him to think she's into it while the brother wants sex but is totally confused/intimidated by his stepsister's sexual aggression. Suddenly the opening scene flashes back to him and he realizes this is all about her having a toothy womb (of doom). Sadly, it's too late.
Now other cock that got bitten off we saw in a scene getting re-attached in an operating room, which sort of leads up to the extra horror of Brad's fate. Frozen in horror at what's happened to his loins, he doesn't act fast enough. His dog runs up to the severed member and....
Thank you, movie. I never had the chance to see the look on someone's face while he watches his dog swallow his mutilated penis so he can't have it re-attached. I'll be honest. I cringed. I know that Brad the horrible brother totally deserved it for letting his step-mother die, but man. I could totally have watched Brad die, but watching his penis get digested? Gah.
The film ends with Dawn hitchhiking out of town, later waking up locked in a car.
What is she locked in the car with?
An incredibly creepy old man who keeps sticking his tongue out of his mouth and who won't let her leave. Naturally, since all men everywhere are horrible horny creatures. Dawn panics for a bit before it occurs to her what she's meant to do.
Guys: Next time a girl looks at you like this, it's because she's thinking of biting off your unit with her vagina. Well, maybe not, but the film ends with Dawn giving a sexy look just off-camera showing that she's accepted her "precious gift" and she's prepared to use it when need be.
If you're a woman, Teeth might mean something else to you. I wouldn't call it a feminist film, despite the overt anti-rape premise. That's mostly because the main character doesn't really get an identity or any strength of will until after she gets a good screwing. I mean it IS a feminist film, technically, but it requires the main character to be raped before she can be empowered each time. I don't want to get into too much gender theory, but trust me when I say analysis of this film is...complicated in that particular arena.
If you're a guy, then this film will most likely horrify you something special. Lord knows this is going to haunt me. The moral here might be "don't be a rapist." It might be "don't ever have sex." Personally, I'm just going to say it's "don't be a rapist who has sex with a girl who is an example of vagina dentata." If you're a teacher, you just might want to show this during Sexual Education Class. Lord knows it'll keep a few young impressionables from screwing around. If you're still trying to categorize Teeth, I'd call it a Gore/Horror/Drama. The actress who plays Dawn, Jess Weixler, won the Special Jury Prize for Drama at Sundance last year and, to her credit, she plays the innocent Christian who turns into a penis-destroying monster of female revenge remarkably well. A unique claim, obviously.
What I do know is that I haven't seen a film like Teeth in quite a while and I recommend it to anyone who, like myself, is an entertainment masochist.
Of course, there are limits to how much I want a film to hurt me.
When I originally posted this article last year, I confessed that since I'm a dude, there's no way I'm supposed to be able to fairly review this movie. As such, I called out to any of my feminine readers to share their opinions and thoughts on this little...special film. Some names have been changed and there are links to websites I'm not responsible for, so enjoy. I found it...interesting. Enjoy!
Copyright 2008 Jared von Hindman or maybe just Jared Hindman. It depends. Any images used that are not Jared's are used via Fair Use review purposes and belong to their respective owners....who are nice people that don't want to sue me.
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