So, guys, I’m not even going to lie. This one may suck, for a variety of reasons: 1) The past two weeks have sucked and I feel pretty damn beat down; 2) I feel like someone pretty much beat me with a baseball bat, that’s how sore and weird I feel; 3) It looks like I’ll have to go in soon for some fun dental work! Wow. I hope you can feel the rays of joy bursting through your computer screen. Can you? I just kind of want to pull the covers over my head for a week or so and hide. Now that I’m done moping and being vaguely whiny, let’s get on to the good stuff.
I used to go see bands play at a local club in Dallas that was about as hole in the wall as it got, and I used to get really freaked out. I think this is the place I saw The Business play, but I can’t remember – it’s been a while. Anyways, the club was seriously lacking in decorations aside from the usual graffiti and layers upon layers of flyers for shows that had long since passed except for one, lonely decoration above the bar: A solitary movie poster for May.
It used to give me goosebumps the few times I walked in the place because this movie freaks the hell out of me.
(…And that’s my useless story, but I think it illustrates how damn creepy this movie is.)
We’ll start behind the cut; be forewarned of blood and nastiness ahead.
May is about May Kennedy, a socially inept loner who, in the first shot of the film, looks like this:
From the start of the film, you pretty much realize shit just ain’t gonna go right for May.
May, it turns out, has a lazy eye which she had to attempt to correct with an eyepatch as a child, leading to her being mocked and tormented by kids her own age. Her mother instructs her to hide her eyepatch but when May reveals it, her classmates ask her derisively, “Are you a pirate?” With the other kids quickly abandoning her, it’s pretty clear where May’s headed – down a long road to Lonesomeville.
May’s ever resourceful but slightly OCD mother takes matters into her own hands. She gives May a birthday present – a doll named Suzie. “She was my friend,” says May’s mom, “and now she’s yours.” There’s one little hang-up though; Suzie’s not allowed to come out of her nice glass case. (OCD Mother, jeez.)
Okay, this is where I start having flashbacks to The Tommyknockers. I mention my sisters on here sometimes, but for the record I have two, and I generally refer to them as Older Sister and Younger Sister. Younger Sister had a huge collection of those Victorian style porcelain dolls and after seeing The Tommyknockers, where some dolls come alive and get their killing on, I could barely stand to look at Younger Sister’s dolls. Anything with dolls in it really, insanely bothers me and May is no exception.
Flash forward a few years, and May’s now an adult. She’s an adult technically, but you can tell really damn quickly that May’s two colors and a sharpener short of being the 96 count box of Crayolas (which were the best kind of Crayolas to get, if you must know). Her life hasn’t changed much and Suzie is pretty much her only friend. The whole dynamic gets even weirder because May…carries on conversations with the doll.
She leads a pretty lonely life. She works as an assistant at a veterinary hospital and she only seems to have some form of decent human interaction with her coworker, Polly, who seems to have designs on May that are less of the friendly kind and more of the Sapphic kind, if you know what I mean.
But May has a revelation. She meets “the perfect boy”, as she tells Suzie, because he’s all the way perfect and doesn’t just have some perfect parts, like other people. May claims that the problem with most people is that they have one good part and many other ugly parts that make you eventually think all of that person’s completely ugly.
May’s nothing if not determined to get her man. Which by the way, is this dreamboat:
Greasy Jeremy Sisto!
May tries her best to get his attention. She pulls her hair back. She goes and gets contacts. She makes her own clothing, so she makes a flattering red top, puts it on and follows Adam (Sisto) to a restaurant in the hopes that he’ll notice her. A little creepy, yes, but at this point, I always feel for May. She’s terribly lonesome and tells Suzie that she just wants a real friend who doesn’t live in a glass case and who can actually hold her.
It’s so pathetic and sad it’s kind of moving.
But May makes you stop all those fuzzy feelings for her pretty quickly, because try as she might, she just cannot get Adam’s attention. She’s particularly enamored of his hands so when Adam falls asleep, she sneaks up and RUBS HER FACE AGAINST HIS HAND WHILE HE’S ASLEEP. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE, KEVIN SPACEY?
And that’s where you’re like, “Okay, crazy lady, it’s time for some serious counseling and psychiatric medication.”
Adam wakes up, startles her and she runs away. Adam, to his benefit, is just kind of like, “What in the hell is going on here?”
Somehow, the man is intrigued and hunts May down. From there follows a tumble down a rabbit hole of Complete Crazy and Awkwardness. May and Adam have their first date, where she ‘fesses up that she’s never had a boyfriend and Adam tells her that she’s weird, but that’s okay, because he “like(s) weird…a lot.”
When May kisses him, she bites him, leading him to exclaim, “Jesus, who taught you how to kiss?!”
SUZIE, YOU ARE SO IN TROUBLE. TIME-OUT FOR YOU, SUZIE.
May really does get furious with her doll for giving her bad advice on how to kiss. (May, honey, you shouldn’t listen to everything Cosmo says, but Jesus, hey, at least they’d give you some pointers that are perhaps better than kissing tips from your DOLL.)
Adam does the douchey thing and instead of just being like, “Hey, I had fun, but…pass!” he just ignores May, whose already fragile mental state quickly starts to crack. I mean, lady starts to go around the drain.
Like, she calls Adam and leaves whacked out voicemails, the kind laced with awkwardness and desperation, and then just sits there and stares at her phone. Waiting. Watching. Hoping.
SHE WAITS ON ADAM’S DOORSTEP FOR TWO HOURS FOR HIM TO JUST STROLL OUT THE DOOR. And Adam’s all like, “Hey, let me show you my film that I made at the university! Because you still seem cool, May. Awesome!” Even after May’s done stuff like tell him horrific stories of animals dying at the vet clinic and giggling about them, stalking him, rubbing his hand on her face in his sleep and ninety-nine other things that would make red, blinking lights go off in anyone else’s head, Adam’s still all like, “You’re kinda hot, May.”
Face, meet sharp pointy object.
So they watch Adam’s film, which is about a cannibalistic picnic, and then Adam decides to put the moves on May, and she does something completely creeptastic: she bites him, draws blood, and then smears it on herself.
HOLD UP, CRAZY LADY.
That is like…Hepatitis C waiting to happen. Has she looked at Adam lately? I mean, discounting the regular ick factor of smearing your potential boyfriend’s blood all over your face? Adam’s all like, “Hey, you’re cool but I’m not, so I’m just going to hightail it out of her while looking completely freaked and LATER LATER BYEEEEE!”
May, understandably, is depressed. I mean, how can any rational guy not find that daringly sexy?
May hooks up with Polly, who has a beautiful neck, but Polly disappoints her in the end, too. Even though Polly tells her that she “loves weird”, May quickly discovers she’s not the only lady in Polly’s life, which destroys her.
So May volunteers with some blind kids! Hurray! And she takes in Polly’s cat. Everything’s going smashingly until she kills the cat in a fit of rage. And here’s where we realize May has totally gone crazier than a damn Brazil nut: she keeps the cat.
SERIOUSLY, SHE KEPT HER DEAD CAT, STILL TALKS TO IT AND IS SPRAYING THE THING WITH LYSOL SO IT WON’T SMELL. How horrible is that? It deserves all caps. It also deserves this picture so you know I’m not lying my ass off.
May hates him and his offer of Jujubes at first, but after noticing his “nice” arms (er…huh?) she takes him back to her apartment, where he discovers the Frozen Kitty Friend and freaks out.
So May stabs him the forehead with a pair of scissors.
And then smokes a cigarette.
She remembers something her mother told her. “If you don’t have a friend, make one.”
CAN YOU SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING?! CAN YOU!? AGHHHHH.
May decides to volunteer with some blind kids first, who accidentally destroy poor Suzie when she brings it in to “show” the blind children, which pushes May over the edge from being way unstable to spinning on her own crazy axis of insanity. So what does she do?
Why, she dresses up as Suzie and decides to MAKE HER OWN FRIEND.
Out of people she already knows, no less. Polly, Polly’s girlfriend, Adam and his date for the night all meet a very unpleasant end at the business end of a scalpel and when May’s done stabbing them and hacking them up, she puts her favorite parts in her nifty cooler and takes it back to her apartment. UGH.
Um, guys? If I ever want to “make a friend”, I’ll go to a bar, a club, a movie theater…and my friend sure as hell would not look like this. Consequently, May’s giddy with delight! It’s perfect! And she names it AMY, an anagram of her own name, before realizing – Amy can’t see her! Oh noes!
So what does she do?
WHY CUT HER OWN EYE OUT OMG.
If you know me in Real Life, then you know about my eye phobia. I still can’t watch the scene in Terminator 2 where the security guard gets stabbed through the eye by the T-1000. I used to have people that would touch their eyes on purpose because they thought it was hilarious to watch me freak out. Needless to say, this is MY WORST NIGHTMARE EVER.
So May lays down next to her new friend and what happens?
OHMIGOD, the friend thing is touching her! TOUCHING HER!
It is at this point during my first viewing of May that I was literally clawing my way up backwards over the couch and practically crying like, “Ohmigodohmigodmakeitstoppleasemakeitstop.” It scared me out of my mind because people stabbing their eyes out are freaky and the very thought of being lonely enough to fucking make your own friend out of other people’s body parts was so intrinsically wrong and horrifying that it made my flesh crawl.
There’s a lot of layers to May and I think that’s why it works so well. First and foremost, it’s the story of a lonely, lonely person which if you strip it bare bones, is something very applicable to a lot of people. It’s identifiable. May takes that universal feeling and spins it into something horrifying, where someone’s loneliness and misery drive them into batshit insane territory, leading them to do the unthinkable.
Secondly, May’s desperate attempts to “fit in” and to try and have a normal life are things that are pretty easily relatable. May never does anything in general that most of us didn’t rough through in junior high school – like the idea of having a crush on a guy that you thought would never like you back (or girl, I guess), having to deal with the embarrassing aspects of your first forays into initial romances, and the confusion of learning how to deal with people in general. The problem is that everyone in May’s age range is experienced and knows a thing or two and May’s so goddamn behind the curve, she has no idea what’s going on. It makes you cringe for her at parts. (The only movie I’ve ever seen besides this one that made me do that was Welcome to the Dollhouse, if you’re interested.)
The downside to meeting people is that there’s a double-edged sword to it and May’s problem is that she can’t abide ugliness in people or less than stellar character traits that everyone has. Instead of learning to live with it, she kills everyone and makes her own little reality.
Sick, twisted and scary – and after I saw May, I told myself, “I gotta get out of the house more and stop watching shit that bothers me.”
Then I went to that club and what was hanging up?
Stupid damn poster.