Thursday, August 11, 2011

No Respect:
A Symbolic Interpretation of a ‘Halloween Knock-Off’
As I was watching Kill Bill, Vol. 1—specifically, the scene where Beatrix Kiddo lodges a hatchet in the skull of one of the Crazy 88—it occurred to me that I had seen this gruesome image the week before while watching Friday the 13th. There too, a hatchet is firmly embedded down the middle of, camp counselor, Marcie’s forehead. So then, was Kill Bill director, Quentin Tarentino, paying homage to Friday the 13th? If so, it would mean Tarentino’s tribute to the 1981 slasher film was part of an infinite regress in cinema semiotics considering that the aforementioned axe-murdering scene from Friday the 13th’s takes place in a Camp Crystal Lake shower stall; itself, an obvious homage to the shower-scene murder in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
This, of course, contradicts film scholar Vera Dika’s observation that “Friday the 13th has no artistic pretensions, no film school ‘allusions’ or ‘homages’” (Sleaze Artists, p.230). Dika’s examination of the slasher flick—which Matt Hills discusses in his essay “Para-Paracinema”—seems either wholly uninformed or peripheral at best. Whether it was consciously or subconsciously intentional, Friday the 13th’s creators and scriptwriters managed to allude to several primal, semiotic images within the film’s mis-en-scene; thus, making it manifest to dismiss Dika's exceedingly shortsighted remarks. It doesn’t take an academic scholar endless hours in the corner of some marble-hall’d library—his/her eyes permanently affixed to countless volumes of books that have acquired several layers of dust from disuse—to point out that there are several antediluvian, metaphoric constants in Friday the 13th. Just a quick skim through my copy of Dictionary of Symbols, requires little brain power, elbow grease, or burning of midnight oil, yet can turn up some surprising results.
So, let’s start with something in Friday the 13th that’s central to the film and important to its mis-en-scene: its spatiotemporal setting at Crystal Lake. Under its entry in Dictionary of Symbols, lakes are considered “an occult medium in mythology and legend, linked particularly…with feminine powers of enchantment, through the feminine symbolism of water, and more widely with…death” (p.118). Considering that both the protagonist and antagonist of the film are women—and that the two do battle and meet their fates on the shores of Crystal Lake—it deepens the significance of Alice’s and Pamela Vorhees’ final confrontation there. Thus, the use of the lake as a visual platform fortifies the film’s revelatory gender ambiguity/specificity duality as well as its cinematic centrality in Friday the 13th.
The same entry in Dictionary of Symbols also states that the lake is “in effect a two-way mirror symbol” (p.118). Again, whether intentional or not, there’s little doubt that the mirroring effect of Crystal Lake is utilized as a nexus point, paralleling the gender identification (or lack thereof) between the protagonist and antagonist as ambiguous females; furthermore, it parallels the camera’s voyeuristic projections—taking ocular possession of  both characters’ perspectives throughout the film and transmits them into that of the viewers. This diegetic interchangeability between hero and villain via gender revelation is intermixed with the Droste-effective transfer from Alice’s and Mrs. Vorhees’ perspectives to the camera to the viewer; ultimately,  systematizing this two-way mirror exchange and extending it further by taking moviegoing possession of the viewer's vision.
Additionally, in Greek myth, the lake was considered another entryway into the underworld.[1] When you combine these symbolic meanings for ‘lake’ in their totality and then adjoin it with Dictionary of Symbols’ entry for ‘crystal’, the choice of Camp Crystal Lake as  Friday the 13th’s predetermined location—where eleven characters meet their deaths—makes symbolic sense. Likewise, the metaphoric use of ‘crystal’ signifies “the notion of passing or looking beyond the material world” (p.59), and intimated “clairvoyance [and] supernatural knowledge” (p.59). Therefore, Crystal Lake can be interpreted as a crux between the physical world and the afterlife, which then fortifies the worldly/otherworldly duality of Pamela Vorhees’ drowned son, Jason, and his ability to transcend death as long as he remains in the lake’s depths; thus, it serves as both a watery grave and an aquatic refuge for the dead/alive deformed boy. Caveat: obviously, Jason crosses over from this in-betweener state and into the physical world in the Friday the 13th sequels where he attains his slaughterhouse apotheosis from ‘lad of the lake’—complete with his modernized variation of the sword, Excalibur—into the iconic hockey-masked monster of contemporary popcultural myth; however, for now, let's focus solely on the original film.
Moving away from the film’s location, the semiotic significance of Friday the 13th’s protagonist Alice Hardy—yet another of Camp Crystal Lake's counselors—is what Carol Clover identifies in her essay “Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film” as the 'Final Girl’ archetype common in slasher films. Clover observes, “The Final Girl is boyish, in a word…she is not fully feminine…Her smartness, gravity, competence in mechanical and other practical matters and sexual reluctance set her apart from the other girls” (p.204), and continues by noting that the Final Girl’s “unfemininity is signaled clearly by her exercise of the ‘active investigating gaze’ normally reserved or males…the Final Girl looks for the killer” (p.210). This unfemininity and boyishness that the slasher film’s Final Girl embodies is indicative of her role as hero-androgyne, and, by logical extension, Friday the 13th’s Alice is every bit the gender-ambiguous champion.
Throughout the film, the viewer can observe Alice’s subtle, genderless mannerisms and proactive attentiveness, which Carol Clover emphasizes, are key components of the Final Girl paradigm. For example, Alice’s hairstyle is somewhere between that of figure skater, Dorothy Hamill, and Jedi Knight, Mark Hamill. Her clothing is muted in tone and sexually nondescript with little-to-no accentuation of anatomical correctness. She is seen repairing the gutter on one of Camp Crystal Lake’s cabins as well as spending time in the kitchen. In one scen, after taking a shower, Alice is garbed in a full-length robe concealing any hint of her sexuality and, when she shrieks from the phallic snake slithering about her room, the viewer is left wondering if her panic is due to the snake itself or to her involuntary penis removal. Later in the film, while playing a game of ‘Strip-Monopoly’ with fellow camp counselors Bill and Brenda, Alice is the only player who, quite miraculously, hasn’t removed one article of her clothing. No-one can be that lucky. No-one except for Alice, that is. And her providence at ‘Strip Monopoly’ perhaps foreshadows her being the only fortunate soul to survive the forthcoming Crystal Lake massacre.
Symbolically speaking, Alice’s androgynous state might be interpreted as a metaphor for “divine wholeness—[the androgyne is] an ancient symbolism derived from widespread worship of primal gods who were simultaneously male and female” (Dictionary of Symbols, p.12). Thus, Alice’s preservation of gender neutrality during her bildungsroman from the feminine archetype of passive witness of the killer’s carnage into that of the masculine archetype as heroic aggressor and “killer of the killer” (Clover, p208) is one which ultimately leads to a figurative transfiguration into what I will term as ‘exosexual’ restorer of contextual order and cinematic balance.
 By ‘exosexual’, I mean that Alice (and, to some extent, all slasher-film Final Girls) is outside of and an outsider to her own sexuality; she is neither wholly female nor wholly male and maintains this sexual ambiguity throughout Friday the 13th. Therefore, on a purely symbolic level, Alice’s sexual drive can be seen as neither focused on procreation nor on recreation, but rather on upholding filmic stabilization in contrast to the killer’s vengeful acts of devastation against the body and, by logical extension, the voyeuristic terror-reaction roused within moviegoers witnessing the killer’s on-screen massacre.
Likewise, the character of Pamela Vorhees toys with androgyny to a lesser extent. As Clover points out, the viewer—via the killer’s perspective in Friday the 13th—is led to believe that Mrs. Vorhees isn’t a ‘Mrs.’ at all. Instead, the viewer assumes that the killer is male throughout most of the film: “’we’ [the moviegoers] stalk and kill a number of teenagers over the course of an hour of screen time…we are invited, by conventional expectation and by glimpses of…a heavily booted foot, a roughly gloved hand—to suppose that ‘we’ are male, but ‘we’ are revealed, at film’s end, as a woman” (p.216). Clover considers this to be “the most dramatic case of pulling out the gender rug” (p.216), and so right she is.
However, unlike Alice’s androgyny that subverts the classic ‘heroic male’ paradigm, Pamela Vorhees’ androgyny is one based on trickery in the context of the film’s semiotic subtext. The viewer is misled into believing that the killer is an antagonistic male aggressor in opposition to the androgynous Alice when, in fact, this isn’t the case. It is only after the killer is ‘unmasked’ and revealed to be Mrs. Vorhees that the viewer then realizes that he/she has been duped into believing otherwise and the killer’s androgynous masquerade has been exposed; yet, Pamela’s figurative meaning is still transfiguring on other levels.
Mrs. Vorhees also serves a dual role as both vengeful mother and slaughterer of camp counselors and can be metaphorically understood as that of the archetypal ‘mother-devourer’ found in countless world myths and religions. In the Dictionary of Symbols, this mother-devourer duality is identified as “Kali, the ‘Dark Mother’ of Hindu mythology [who] is the most alarming image of creator-destroyer” (p.138). Keeping this in mind, Mrs. Vorhees is imbued with the aspects of mother-creator—having originally given birth to her drowned son, Jason—as well as those of mother-destroyer who blindly seeks retribution for her son’s death via executing anyone associated with Camp Crystal Lake, the site of Jason’s watery demise.  
Furthermore, Pamela is indicative of psychology’s ‘terrible mother’ who symbolizes “possessive love and the danger of an infantile fixation persisting and blocking development of the self” (Dictionary of Symbols, p.138). In the film, this ‘possessive love’ arises within Mrs. Vorhees due to motherly instinct to protect her child…even if the child is already dead and it means she must continually satiate her unquenchable, psychotic desire for vengeance by upsetting the balance between birth and death.
Matt Hills’ remark that—to film scholars and movie critics—Friday the 13th is considered “to lack originality and artfulness, to possess no nominated or recognized auteur, and to be grossly sensationalist in its focus on…special effects” (p.232),  but to simply dismiss it as assembly-line slasher-flick fodder is doing the film an injustice. In the context of horror film history, it is unique regardless of its pandering to box-office sales and partaking in the “time-honored 1950s and 1960s tradition of a major studio knocking off the genre success of an independent production”[2]. Although it might not be the first slasher flick to introduce the concept of ‘Final Girl’—that honor goes to John Carpenter’s Halloween—it does succeed where Carpenter’s film fails: that of fully transfiguring the Final Girl from stereotypical ‘damsel in distress’ who is saved in the nick of time by a heroic male figure—and thus, maintaining patriarchal order within the film’s 95-minute run—into one who needs no male hero to be saved by for she has appropriated those heroic qualities of self-reliance, independence, and assumed the role of ‘vanquisher of the enemy’.
With that said, Friday the 13th also stands apart in slasher-film history and originality with its subversion of the stereotypical enemy. Not only is the film’s killer the first female ‘slasher’, but she’s also a contemporary reinterpretation of the classic ‘mother-devourer’ paradigm. The fact that this film was exploring new boundaries with women’s roles in cinema and questioning otherwise implicit sexual stereotypes often relegated to female characters AND doing all of this in a commercially-successful motion picture, one would assume that film scholars and movie critics alike would be lauding Friday the 13th; yet that’s not the case.   For reasons that I as yet cannot fully fathom, this singular slasher film hasn’t received any further scholarly examination beyond that of peripheral criticism and/or myopic dismissal. Furthermore, virtually nothing has been written about its re-appropriation of mythic and religious symbolism and their re-interpretations onto late-20th century cinema screens—and interwoven with sexual politics, I might add. Friday the 13th proves that some slasher films just get no respect (…but plenty of sequels).

Clover, Carol J. "Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film." Representations, No. 20, Special Issue: Misogyny, Misandry, and Misanthropy (Autumn 1987): pp.187-228.
Friday the 13th: Uncut – Deluxe Edition. Dir. Sean S. Cunningham. Perf. Kevin Bacon, Adrienne King Betsy Palmer. Paramount Home Entertainment, 2009. DVD.
Hills, Matt. "Para-Paracinema." Sconce, Jeffrey. Sleaze Artists. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2007. pp.219-239.
Kill Bill, Vol. 1. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Perf. Lucy Liu, Sonny Chiba, Vivica A. Fox Uma Thurman. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2004. DVD.
Tresidder, Jack. Dictionary of Symbols. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1997.

[1] Tresidder, Jack. Dictionary of Symbols. London: Watkins, 2008. Print. p.117.
[2]  Hills, Matt. "Para-Paracinema." Sconce, Jeffrey. Sleaze Artists. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2007. 219-239.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Second Examination of the Towering Inferno

In Cinema Studies, Susan Heyward states in her entry for ‘Queer cinema’ that “Queer theory can be seen as a desire to challenge and push further debates on gender and sexuality…It is a concept that embraces all ‘non-straight approaches to…film and popular culture…it seeks to confuse binary essentialisms around gender and sexual identity…and suggest that things are far more blurred” (p.331). With this in mind—and with Queer theory as the subtextual compass pointing to the animal-magnetic queer ‘pole’—the film, The Towering Inferno discontinues solely being a disaster film and can be viewed as a visually semiotic exercise into gay pornography, 165 minutes of failed conversion/reparative/reorientation therapy, and, ultimately, a queer political commentary on closeted homosexuality (and subsequent ‘spring cleaning’ of said closet) in the 1970s.
Firstly, obviously, and most importantly, it should be noted that The Towering Inferno’s story takes place in the city that every dollar-store drag queen, hanky-literate leather daddy, and flannel-loving bulldyke considers to be, at least historically, the American gay capital: San Francisco. According to, the Northern Californian city “has enjoyed an undisputed reputation as a ‘gay mecca’ since at least 1964, when Life magazine published a path-breaking feature article, “Homosexuality in America,” that described the city by the bay to be the ‘gay capital’ of the United States” ( With such a reputation firmly entrenched in the average American psyche by the 1970s, the construction of an immense gleaming glass phallus casting a glittery shadow over the nation’s late-20th century ‘gay capital’ seems less subconscious and more strategic if anything.
Furthermore, the filmic worship of a gargantuan glass phallus firmly planted in the heart of the Frisco skyline is not only a diegetic exercise in excess—and therefore an homage to gay camp—but also carries on a subtextual dialogue with gay-pornographic, fetishistic institutionalization of penis size being an a priori requirement of the gay-porn industry’s stars. In his article “When Size Matters,” Drew Rowsome addresses the ‘size queen’ and the recurring theme of disproportionately enormous penis sizes popular in gay culture. He notes that the term ‘size queen’ is “frequently used by gay men in a disparaging way” (, and that “a lack of endowment is more likely to be mocked during gay banter” ( Rowsome also discusses the obsession in gay culture with penis size: “Personal ads brag of endless inches of gargantuan [phallic] girth. [Gay] Pornstars trumpet their enormous erections and add inches of plastic to their namesake dildos” ( Just as the “breasts had become a sign of the women’s sexual appetite” (Hatch, p.151) in Russ Meyer’s films, the enormously erect phallus becomes a sign of a gay man’s sexual appetite in Irwin Allen’s cinematic disaster opus.
By logical extension veering into the realm of reductio ad absurdum, the focus of the enormity of size in The Towering Inferno runs parallel to the gay community’s fetishistic and masturbatory fascination with the well-endowed, which incessantly and obsessively pops out of every page in gay porn magazines and permeates gay skin-flicks with imagistic attention paid closely to the erect endless inches of the phallic endowment.  Furthermore, the fixed location of the permanently-erect Glass Tower in The Towering Inferno is the metaphoric equivalent to the spatiotemporally-fixed fixation of the monumentalized ‘money shot’ in every form of gay pornographic material. The ‘money shot’ is that moment in gay porn when sole attention is paid to the erect, stimulated penis before, during, and after ejaculatory emission. And much like gay-pornographic film where the money shot usually occurs towards the end of the film, The Towering Inferno does the same with its simulated ejaculation of water gushing from the tower’s 135th floor.
Additionally, the allusion to homosexual sex in The Towering Inferno removes any and all notions of the reproductive capabilities inherent in its heterosexual equivalent; thusly, this reproductive void transfigures homosexual sex into one of pure hedonism and pleasure; this is intimated in a particular The Towering Inferno scene that might go unnoticed by the viewer if he/she isn’t paying close attention. During the post-coital immolation by fire of Dan Bigelow and his secretary/mistress, Lorrie, the Glass Tower’s main offices are burnt to a cinder right along with two characters. Here, the textual reproductive assertion of ‘Built for Life’ is etched onto office decorum and seen burning into collapse; thereby, signifying that reproductive sex has no place in this film. That this film is ablaze with desire and absolved of any and all reproductive associations; yet another diegetic suggestion of homosexual sex. Likewise, the fervent, frenzied activities of the film’s characters going in-and-out, up-and-down the levels of the Glass Tower simulates both mutual masturbatory and anal-sexual penetrative motions in gay pornography.
And speaking of characters, those that appear in The Towering Inferno serve the dual metaphoric function as representations of both sexual fantasy played out to maintain the Glass Tower’s constant erection and individual spermatozoa during their travels through the excited erection of the fiery glass phallus, each on its way to find ejaculatory escape from the truly Towering Inferno.  In his essay, “The Bug in the Rug,” Maurice Yacowar observes that, in the disaster film, the various stars that appear are often dependent “upon their familiarity from previous films, rather than developing a new characterization. Plot more than character is emphasized…In The Towering Inferno an inherited sentiment plays around Jennifer Jones and Fred Astaire, Robert Vaughn repeats his corrupt politician…and Richard Chamberlain reprises his corrupt all-American” (p285).  Likewise, in gay pornography, plot—insofar as the attainment of orgasmic climax—overrides and often supersedes character development. The viewer of gay porn recognizes the porn stars from their previous work, which renders the necessity for character development null and void.
However, in the context of the juxtaposing The Towering Inferno with gay pornography, the sole porn stars of the former are the phallic skyscrapers of the city and not Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, etc. of the film. As I previously mentioned, the actual stars of The Towering Inferno serve as semiotic surrogates for sexual fantasies played out in the minds of the film’s porn-star equivalents: the San Francisco skyscrapers. Moreover the film’s stars equally serve as a microcosmic view of the stimulated penis, constituting its erection as well as the biological act of ejaculatory emission of seminal discharge during The Towering Inferno’s ‘money shot’ ending.
As for the disconnected, often interruptive, fantasies played out by underdeveloped characters to maintain an erection for the duration of the film, considering that this was 1970s—a time when conversion therapy was still believed to be a plausible means of quashing homosexual desires/tendencies/behavior through elaborate system of behavior modification and, more often than not, was legitimated by a somewhat surprisingly large number of practitioners in the psychological and psychiatric fields. Keep in mind, it was only one year prior to The Towering Inferno’s theatrical release that “the American Psychiatric Association’s Board of Trustees removed homosexuality from its official diagnostic manual…The experts found that homosexuality does not meet the criteria to be considered a mental illness” (   Additionally, this was the era of ex-gay ministries supposedly flipping homosexuals like light switches back into a heterosexual lifestyle, while steadfastly maintaining that heterosexuality was “God’s creative intent for humanity and subsequently view[ed] homosexual expression as outside of God’s will” (
Is it really any wonder that the actualized sexual fantasies drifting in and out of The Towering Inferno’s mis-en-scene are heavily heterosexual-laden in nature? Mind you, both post-coital reveries (that of Glass Tower architect, Doug Roberts, and his romantic interest, Susan Franklin, and Dan Bigelow and his secretary, Lorrie) revolve less around the sexual act and more around pillow talk of living the heterosexual lifestyle. As a viewer with the abovementioned knowledge of the tortures the Glass Tower must endure due to late-20th century societal disapprovals of homosexuality even in the gay capital, one cannot feel empathy for the Glass Tower as it attempts to cope and come to terms with its sexuality. Furthermore, in the context of the 1970s, one cannot reproach The Towering Inferno for its attempts at conversion therapy via heterosexual fantasies that appear towards the beginning of the film; thereby, remaining in the closet. By the time the Fire Department Battalion Chief, Mike O’Hallorhan, enters the picture the viewer notices as markedly different change in the Glass Tower’s sexual fantasy.
Not only is O’Hallorhan emblematic of homoerotic fantasy in his fetishized and fire-manly sartorial plumage, he is also indicative of a shift in desire from one of heterosexual to that of homosexual. His purpose is to extinguish those flames of desire welling up in the erect phallic edifice; yet his presence has quite the opposite effect. Considering that the semiotic image of a fireman with fire-hose in hand, ejecting jets of water to snuff out the burning homosexual lust is one rife with phallic extensions and orgasmic climax  itself, it’s no wonder that the entrance of O’Hallorhan does little to end the now pervasive homoerotic fantasy welling up and exciting the phallic construction.
Moreover, once O’Hallorhan enters into the picture, he constantly materializes in the presence of Doug Roberts, disrupting the architect’s dialogical, interactive scenes with love interest, Sarah Franklin; often leading to Roberts being distracted from his romantic efforts with Franklin and giving O’Hallorhan his undivided attention. To the viewer, it becomes plainly obvious that the Glass Tower’s ultimate autoerotic sexual fantasy would be under the gay-pornographic purview of sexual intercourse between Roberts, the architect of the massive phallic extension, and the fetishized fireman, O’Hallorhan.
This repressed burning drive to actualize O’Hallorhan and Roberts attainment of sexual consummation via sexualized fantasy is best exemplified towards the end of The Towering Inferno and before its final ejaculatory scenes. Here, the San Francisco Fire Department strategizes to shoot a ‘breeches buoy’—a name suggestive of the ‘daddy/boy’ paradigm in many gay pornos, the breeches as garment enshrouding both the anal-sexual orifice and the phallus, and the act of ‘breeching’ or penetrating—to the Glass Tower via a helicopter; thereby connecting one enormous phallic edifice to another, the adjacent Peerless Building. This unification of two symbolic phalluses is orchestrated by Roberts and O’Hallorhan and is representative of the gay-pornographic scenes of foreplay and mutual masturbation; both of which ultimately lead to the orgasmic money shots by film’s end…and The Towering Inferno is no exception here either.
It is also here that the ‘fireman’ fetishization is fully realized as O’Hallorhan’s superior officers materialize in fully-regimented military regalia. This recalls Harry Benshoff’s essay “Representing (Repressed) Homosexuality in the Pre-Stonewall Hollywood Homo-Military Film,” which touches on the military fetishization in gay culture. Benshoff observes that homosexuality in military films of the 1950s and ‘60s was hinted at “in oblique ways, but maintain[ed] plausible deniability should they [the filmmakers] be suspected of actually being ‘about’ homosexuality” (p.75). A character named ‘Johnson’—a slang-word for the male member—is working in conjunction with the fire dept. Johnson also uses the choice words of ‘blow’ and ‘load’; yet again, two more slang-words that, when used in conjunction with each other—as in ‘blowing a load’—they form a catchphrase synonymous in gay porn with the ejaculatory seminal discharge during the orgasmic money-shot scene. This is similar to what Benshoff asserts are allusions “to homosexual meanings in more-or-less coded ways” (p.75) in the homo-military films released 10+ years prior to Inferno’s ’74 release; here too, we have a fetishized regiment of keepers of order, peace, and law inferring homoeroticism.  
Likewise, just prior to The Towering Inferno’s orgasmic climax, O’Hallorhan alerts Roberts that the flames of desire are “out of control and coming your way!” The Battalion Chief is obviously referring to the impending ejaculation and discharge of seminal waters from the phallic Glass Tower’s head. As noted in Biology: Discovering Life, “ejaculation is involuntary, so it cannot be controlled by the male” (p.735); thus, O’Hallorhan’s ‘out of control’ comment. Obviously, his use of the term ‘coming’ is in reference to the discharge of semen, which is often referred to as ‘cum’ (verb ‘to come/cum’).
In the moments leading up to The Towering Inferno’s the money shot, O’Hallorhan—with the mutual masturbatory assistance of Roberts—blasts the water tanks above the 135th floor of the Glass Tower, unleashing a flood of water/semen out onto a room filled with only male characters (the homoerotic, orgiastic sexual fantasy fully realized). This seminal water is then ejaculated out of the Glass Tower in all directions from its 135th floor’s sky-rise windows and discharged onto the city, leaving a ‘cumstain’ of hedonistic release across the San Franciscan skyline. …Phew! I think I even need a cigarette after all of that.   
Grant, Barry Keith. "The Bug in the Rug." Film genre reader III  . Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press, 2003. 277-295. Print.
Hatch, Kristen. "The Sweeter the Kitten, the Sharper the Claws." Bad: Infamy, Darkness, Evil, and Slime on Screen. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004. 143-155. Print.
Levine, Joseph S., and Kenneth R. Miller. Biology: Discovering Life. Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath, 1991. Print.
Mills, Kim I. . "Mission Impossible: Why Reparative Therapy and Ex-Gay Ministries Fail." California State University, Fresno. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Aug. 2011. <>.
"Questions about Sexual Orientation." The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource - The Body. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Aug. 2011. <>.
Rowsome, Drew . "When Size Matters." fab Magazine. N.p., 17 Mar. 2010. Web. 1 Aug. 2011. <>.
"San Francisco." glbtq: the world's largest encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Aug. 2011. <>.
The Towering Inferno. Dir. John  Guillermin. Perf. Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden. 20th Century Fox, 2003. DVD.