The Horror Honeys: The Manic Pixie Horror Dream Girl...

The Manic Pixie Horror Dream Girl...

A Revenge Honey Rant by Linnie

The damn motherfucking manic pixie dream girl... Even film critic, Nathan Rabin, who coined the term, regrets having done so. But regrets or not, the monster has been let loose from its quirkily decorated cage and we film lovers have been assaulted with one-dimensional female characters that fall under the dreaded MPDG heading for over a decade.

What is a "manic pixie dream girl," you may ask? In his review of Cameron Crowe's dumpster fire of a film, Elizabethtown, Rabin defined it as, "that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures." See? I bet you can think of five film characters to fit that description right now. She probably has no life of her own, and no backstory that doesn't somehow relate to a male protagonist. Most people blame Zooey Deschanel and her ukelele, but the problem is bigger than any one person.

And I know that because the MPDG has seeped into our horror lives. And that cheeses me off. In films where women should be kicking ass and not bothering to take names, they have begun playing secondary roles as blue-haired, perky ice cream shop employees who date Anton Yelchin and yes, there is more than one of those on this list. They date slackers, whiners, and assholes, all with the sole purpose of leading them on their journey to adulthood, without ever having stories of their own. Maybe they give up immortality or worse, die outright, just to teach some loser (or Anton Yelchin) how to be a better man. Horror is hard enough on women without dealing with a bullshit trope like the MPDG, so I've decided to work out some rage by calling out the worst recent offenders (and a few that even predate Rabin's formal definition.)

Spring (2014)

Who needs immortality and a really cool shifting ability when you can give that all up to help a giant simpering man-child find himself? While many others found Spring to be romantic, I found that it featured one of the worst examples of the MPHDG I've seen in a long time. There was nothing mysterious about Louise because she wasn't an actual person. She was a collection of ideal traits wrapped up in a fun horror box. I hated Spring, and if I have to be the cheese on this one, I'll be the motherfucking cheese.

Who needs a personality? I eat gelato seductively in ankle boots during the summer.

Burying the Ex (2015)

This movie, THIS MOVIE, didn't just feature a MPHDG... It featured a moronic and offensive male-created stereotype of the harpy girlfriend, and they both come out worse for wear. However, at least Ashley Greene got to chew some scenery as the girlfriend. Alexandra Daddario got saddled with the role of a hipster ice cream shop owner who is forced to swoon over a schlumpy Anton Yelchin. Because apparently, hipster girls who work with ice cream and have fake personalities can't get enough of schlumpy Anton Yelchin.

I named this milkshake after a Fulci film you probably haven't seen. 
I don't NEED hopes and dreams, my life is RAD.

Odd Thomas (2013)

Seriously, hipster girls who work with ice cream and have fake personalities CAN'T get enough of schlumpy Anton Yelchin. 

In the book, I'm Egyptian and funny. But here, I'm wearing a cute hat & sitting on Anton's lap.
Who needs diversity?

Horns (2014)

I haven't read Joe Hill's Horns, so I genuinely hope that Merrin was more intricately written in that version. Because in Alexandre Aja's story, Juno Temple's Merrin existed solely to further Ig Perrish's story, and her death was only relevant as it furthered Ig's transformation. Plus, straight from the MPHDG handbook, she was a redhead, never wore a bra, liked boning in weird places (treehouses), and wore super quirky clothing. Who needs a personality when you save so much money on bras?

No bra? Check. Now when will we be having gauzy tree sex?

Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland almost got some leeway from me because hey, it's not like anyone has a backstory. Except, oh wait, Jesse Eisenberg has a backstory. And Woody Harrelson has a backstory. Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin (the Manic Pixie Horror Dream Girl in Training), are the only ones who don't have actual emotional backstories outside of the fact they are thieves. Plus, quirky quirky quirky! And their almost-death helps both male characters feeeeeeel again.

We've been established as ass kickers, but let's do something stupid so we
need to be saved. Yeah, that should be fun.

Warm Bodies (2013)

Idle Hands (1999)

It takes a lot of skill to pre-date a trope with your bullshit, but that's what Idle Hands did. Jessica Alba's Molly wrote kickass song lyrics, wore skimpy pj's, and like, totally loved kinky sex even though she was sixteen if she was a day. Her sole purpose in the film was to get gawked at, and then get almost sacrificed. She even had a literal pixie hair cut. Way to set the bar low, guys.


Life After Beth (2014)
Life After Beth is pretty much the exact same thing as Burying the Ex. Exact. Same. Thing. Except Aubrey Plaza is better than the politics of the film, which makes it that much more disappointing.

I'm wearing polka dots AND I'm a jealous harpy. I take that Manic part
seriously, 'kay?

The Lost Boys (1987)

Do I love The Lost Boys? Of course. Do I wish Star (Jami Gertz) was more than a MPHDG in a Stevie Nicks suit? Yes. Yes I do.

Would I wear this jacket? Yes. Yes I would.

The Girl Next Door (2007)

The Girl Next Door is by far the most egregious example of the MPHDG, because Meg (Blythe Auffarth) isn't just an archetype present to help the boy learn how to be a man, but she is raped, tortured, beaten, and eventually murdered, to help a boy learn how to be a man. The fact it's all based on a true story adds a little extra pang of "aww, come on" insult to injury. But hey, Meg was super cute and kooky before that whole... death... thing.

Sorry you're dead, Meg. But I'm a good person now!

Did I miss a MPHDG? 
Let me know on Twitter so we can rage together: @linnieloowho