Recently I was spending a relaxing evening at home with my partner girlfriend “Sara M.” when a very notable Snow Storm hit our region (East Coast, USA). Now, one thing you should know about Sara M. is that she is a great enthusiast of Horror Film. Despite my protestations that they are not feminine or proper, she regularly indulges in Blood Movie’s and other attractions of the sort while I stay in our Bedroom doing my Nails or other such. It then makes sense that, as soon as the storm began to “roll-in,” she suggested we watch a Gore Picture together to pass the time. I countered with the offer that I would love to view a film, but would prefer one of the TransGendered nature. Little did I know that she had up her sleeve an Entertainment that would fit both our needs: the recent roadshow picture Bitten! A Nicolette Mains Mystery.
I read some things about the picture, and it excited me, as I was intrigued by Miss Mains (the film’s lead) but had never seen her work on the Silver Screen (as it were). Miss Mains is a TS Woman of fascinating repute, having begun her Career not in Holly Wood (home of Cinema) but in Court (home of Justice)! After transitioning as a child, Nicolette and her parents filed Law Suit against her home state (fittingly, Miss Mains is from Massachusetts!) for their unlawfully cruel treatment of a TransGendered pupil. She prevailed, ensuring that Gender Children in her “State by the Bay” would never again have to face the systemic discrimination she did. Only after winning this hard-fought victory did she begin her life as a Glamour Actress! I have rarely seen films, television variety specials, or other diversions of that sort that feature Transes in a starring role, and I was very intrigued by how Bitten! would handle such a thing.
My feelings on the picture, alas, were Mixed. I will start with the positives, then proceed to the negatives, as happens in writing. I would like to warn my Audience that, to properly do analysism on this production, I must engage in Passing Discourse, among the most dread kinds of Discourse in Gender Land. I will provide an appropriate opportunity for skipping this to the sensitive.
There was, I will say, much to appreciate about Bitten! A Nicolette Mains Mystery. For one thing, Miss Mains’ character (“Lauren”) is, like Miss Mains herself, a transgendered, but this is of little importance to the plot of the film. A thing I have lamented to Friend and Taxi Driver alike is that, in Media, TransPeople are allowed only to be Trans and not fully People. That is, their time as “Gender Pilots in the Sky of Hormones” is almost always privileged above everything else that makes them a Person. A radical thing Bitten! does is to allow “Lauren” to be, first, a Teen-Girl, and only second a Trans. In fact, her gender condition is never mentioned by name! Additionally, in this “Armchair Rex Reed”’s estimation, Miss Mains turns in a Starmaking performance – she is clearly a fabulous and talented Starlette. Look out, The Hollywood Reporter, because here comes Nicolette Mains!
There was, however, a touch of irritation in my mind as I watched Bitten! to it’s “Bitter!” end (excuse the “pun,” ha!). The movie has a grasping Premise – a Teen-ager, after graduating High School, goes to Las Vegas to visit her uncle for the summer and meets a pack of fun-loving Vampire Girls – but does very little with it, Thematically or otherwise. One gets the sense that the Writing Director (Mr. Bradley Michael, perhaps Egg) thought little about the film’s plot after “Pitching” it to Holly Wood big wigs. Additionally, the actors who are not Miss Mains are of wildly varying quality, and some are not terribly adept at their profession, pardon my French!
(A note that below begins the Passing Discourse. If you wish to avoid it, simply Tap The Target below; it will take you safely to GIF Heaven, where no discourse occurs.)
My larger issue with the film is with how it treats the subject of Passing. I am aware that this is a sensitive topic within the Gender Community, and that insensitivity on the subject can easily lead to Twitter Issues. However, I feel it is necessary to discuss the ways in which this film engages with (or, rather, refuses to engage with) Passing in order to understand why I did not offer it a “rave review” (as the saying goes).
While Passing is not something one may quantify, and in fact is (like physics particles or the musical play “Cats!”) fundamentally changed in its quality by the very act of Observation, it must be remarked that Miss Nicolette Mains is not a TransPerson who has a terrible amount of trouble with Passing. She underwent Transition as a child, and it stands to reason that virtually all people, absent knowing how to look for the subtlest signs of Gender, would assume she is Cis-Sexual. However, nearly every character in the film who meets Miss Mains immediately realizes, and remarks snidely upon, the fact that she is a TranGirl.
This would perhaps be believable from one character over the film’s length, but it simply keeps occurring, begging the question: Why Do The Other Characters In Bitten! A Nicolette Mains Mystery Assume That The Titular Nicolette Mains Does Not “Pass”? And it is hard to get past the feeling that this is due in some part to Trans-Phobia (like Homophobia for Trans). Those who hate Gender (Republican, ignorant persons, and the dreaded T. E. R. F. community) enjoy saying the phrase “we can always tell,” signifying that they believe they can always distinguish a Cisperson from a Community Folk. Even those whose Gender Dislike is subtler prefer to think this. Therefore they insist that even in a film that stars a person who is not obviously From Gender, it be made clear that All Persons Can Always Tell (Who Is Trans And Who Is Not Trans). This is, plain and simply, Trans Phobial, and it is disappointing to see in a film that comes so close to starring a character who is Trans Only Incidentally.
These have been my thoughts on Bitten! A Nicolette Mains Mystery. Find it on videocasette at your local library branch today!