Bliss Or Just Another Male Gaze Horror Film

Because female orgasm is so artsy, let’s just use it for style. Because we don’t have enough rape in horror films, let’s do more of that. Because there’s just soooooooooooooooooo muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccchhhhhhhhhhhhh good lesbian/queer women representation in films or any Filipino art forms for that matter, let’s put one in and make her a rapist with a *tragic* I was raped by a butch when I was a child backstory. Because it’s the 90’s and not 2017, more (and only) suso and puke reveal. Yeah, so edgy.

Okay, but you know, feminism and queer rights aside (supposing we can actually put necessary shit aside), how did Ms. Nurse get the job of taking care of Ms. Actress so easily after getting caught with her first molesting gig? Like, my health professional friends, enlighten me on this, but don’t you guys have employment records with complete 1×1 or 2×2  ID or something and then a track record of your shift/duty corresponding of course with your data, like, I don’t know, the rest of the working world in Metro Manila?? Wouldn’t they have released the picture of Ms. Nurse much earlier and she would have been barred from all the hospitals, at least all nearby? Or did I miss something with the jumpy timeline? (I came in a bit late in the theater too. Got in when Ms. Actress was doing her soliloquy haha.) Or it has something to do with that shot of Ms. Nurse’s ID and uniforms..? Or, since Mr. Husband didn’t react too much when he found out Ms. Nurse is the Bad Nurse, he… knew all along… and let it ha… ppen…????????????? Why?????? Just ’cause he’s an asshole???? Or again, I missed something with the timeline. Anyway, if the answer is our country has fucked up data-gathering system, that’s a very lazy excuse for that plot hole.

I was rolling my eyes at the Misery reference too. I haven’t watched that film but I remember loving the book (Stephen King opkors <3). I don’t know how the film did, but the book was just pure horror because the nurse was an actual threat and you really feel the victimized patient fighting to no avail. I guess, Ms. Actress ~kinda~ fought here too but I. Just. Got. So. Bored. Because one, it wasn’t that hard to figure out the ending and it wasn’t even halfway through the film–actually start of the film you already should know? I mean, it’s labelled as psychological horror… (I really was just hoping for an enjoyable ride towards that ending, ako pa ba? I thrive on good cliches. And I really thought it was intended that the audience would already know what was happening with that make-up on the Nurse.) And two, LOL it’s not believable how an actress would be so easily afraid of the nurse–class relations, knock knock.

Oh, that’s another thing, the kind of nurse representation in this country that exploits the nurses it set out to mass produce to begin with. Anyway, ahistoricism aside, what we ended up with is a non-horrific nurse because she was so annoying. Haha. I was *super* frustrated with both Ms. Nurse (’cause she’s a bitch) and Ms. Actress (’cause I wanted to help her fight goddammit) that I wanted to tear out my and someone else’s hair. LOL. And then I just wanted it to be over and everybody should just die. But it wasn’t over and I felt like I was trapped in that theater like Ms. Actress was trapped in her head, because I chased after the last full show sched, hurrying straight from work, and ticket prices are wtf and I just have to finish it now.

Redeeming factors: Camera work and nice shifting of color, I guess. (But I’m not really well-versed on that, so.)


I woke up angrier with this movie. It tries to make a critique of the Philippine entertainment industry by being a rape movie and that critique is so generic and not even worth it to make a rape movie–but yeah, is there really a critique so important to make a rape movie like this today? Glorifying rape scenes for the sake of being edgy disturbing is not really new in this genre and in the tradition of our “serious” Filipino films brimming with machoness.

I read a tweet before watching it that it had Black Mirror vibes or something. I have yet to watch beyond Season 1 but from my vague memory of watching the series, the rapes and violence had actual clear context and *use* there–more than some tragic back story to explain away a crime of a character and more than a tool to rely on to scare or thrill.

With that said, I will leave this link here talking about rape scenes in American comics. It focused on how rape was used to provide evil-ness to the villain or to prop up the story of male characters or urge them into action, but I think, stretching it a bit, there are points that can still apply to Bliss (the entire film being repeated rape meant to horrify people and make a supposed critique of society):

“…Writers who write about rape don’t always understand the implications of that trauma.  For the writer, the horror of the act ends when the rape is over.  The scene has served its purpose, the lines drawn and so on.  For the character, that’s just the beginning…

“…I also don’t understand how most writers stand writing rape scenes, let alone end up writing rape scenes that feel like they were getting excited while writing it.  (I debated a lot about if I should write that last sentence, but I absolutely have read sequences like that where the writer took a perverse glee in inflicting that violence.  And if it horrifies you to be told about that, it should.)  Even so, I will concede that a story might call for that.  Don’t take the message of this post as “never write rape.”  But really, use some restraint…”

The post argues that it might be a bit acceptable if the rape was central to the female character’s journey. So to Ms. Nurse, it became central to her being a serial rapist (people who are idiots might even link it to her becoming queer, and we are in the age of idiots, and I already pointed out how problematic this is as we are lacking representation in the arts). To Ms. Actress, it became central to her being an eternal victim who tries to find herself but ends up just being raped over and over and over…

Hindi pa ba sapat ang karahasan sa babae na kailangan itong ipagdukdukan, na kailangang ipagdukdukan na wala tayong takas dito? Sa ngalan ng ano, ng kritisismo? Ito na lang ba ang pinapayagang papel ng babae sa pelikula at sa sining na tumatalakay ng karahasan? Ito na lang ba talaga ang kapalaran ng babae sa sining at lipunang pinanginigibawan ng lente ng kalalakihan?