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Stepford Wives and Suburbia

7 Horror Films That (May Have) Inspired the Presidential Initiative to Save the Suburbs

As civil unrest and uprisings against systemic racism continue, the pandemic rages on nigh-unchecked, and storms rampage across the country, our Commander-in-Chief is taking to the virtual public square to make certain that we the people know he is prepared to protect the most vulnerable part of our nation: suburbia.

However, as comforting as this sentiment is to those struggling to defend their sprawling mono-cultured lawns and whites-only picket fences from the insidious encroachment of affordable housing, these kinds of complicated policy decisions may be hard for an average person to understand. That’s where this list comes in! These seven all-American classics depict aspects and themes of the Suburban Lifestyle Dream that our analysts believe may be integral to shaping Donald Trump’s legislative decisions.

  1. Get Out (dir. Jordan Peele, 2017)

In this film, a charming white family is kind enough to invite their lovely, coltish daughter’s boyfriend Chris, a Black photographer, to their opulently rustic home in upstate New York! They even offer him the chance to participate in some fun family traditions, like backyard barbecues, night-running, grotesque racialized medical experimentation, malicious hypnosis, enslavement, neoliberalism, and lacrosse!

Courtesy of Monkey Paw Productions

Suburban culture being as niche and specific as it is, you can bet that at least some of these pastimes are familiar favorites of Forty-Five’s family as well. Therefore, we can infer that these American hobbies are an essential part of the Dream our president is committed to shielding from harm. Bonus points if you can guess his favorites from the above list!

  1. The Stepford Wives — Original (dir. Bryan Forbes, 1975)

Fun fact: this movie was almost filmed in Madison, Connecticut, the town where I spent my childhood! With its private beaches, charming historic district, and small but scrappy squad of friendly military-grade armored police vehicles perfectly suited to rescue kittens from trees, I can personally attest that this community embodies all that’s wonderful about suburban life.

Courtesy of Palomar Pictures International

In Stepford Wives, Joanna Eberhart leaves the fast-paced big city life behind, and relearns the art of femininity. This loving portrait of a woman remembering what really matters in life is sure to warm your heart and your hearth, where your wife will roast a whole pig on a spit for dinner, due to your strict adherence to medieval customs and norms! 

  1. Scream (dir. Wes Craven, 1996)

Reminisce about your own childhood in a sparkling Silicon Valley suburb, as these All-American teens have some All-American fun! When a mysterious villain begins a killing spree that starts to burn through their high school, these kids struggle to take the threat seriously because, like any good suburban teens/leaders of the free world, they know they’ll be safe as long as they follow The Rules! 

Scream and Suburbia
Courtesy of Dimension Films

Rule Number One: you can never have sex! Like the Republican party, these kids know that sex=death. They also know Rule Number Two: never drink or do drugs, and The Golden Rule: everyone around you is a potential suspect, and nobody should not be trusted. Our president is particularly known for his compassion for school-aged children, and so it should come as no surprise that he is thoroughly invested in fostering the values of our suburban youth.

  1. The Purge (dir. James DeMonaco, 2013)

Since even before he assumed office, POTUS has been living a version of his own personal Purge–a decadent lawlessness void of pesky consequences. And, despite the most recent concerns that he may actually face the ramifications of his actions, he seems confident that he will continue to soar with impunity above the rules and regulations of the (less suburban areas of) our country.

The Purge and Suburbia
Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures

This film follows an innocent, obscenely wealthy family through a night of torture at the hands of invaders from out of town. From that vantage point, how could our leader not want to preserve for his people (the ones in the suburbs, that is) the kinds of opportunities that he has benefited from all his life, and protect them from usurpers?

  1. The Stepford Wives — Remake (dir. Frank Oz, 2004)

“Stepford is a family paradise! It has no crime, no poverty, and no pushing!” That’s how Glenn Close’s character Claire Wellington describes the eponymous locale in this more comedic re-make of the 1996 film. In other words, the perfect American town! 

Stepford Wives and Suburbia
Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The women of 2004’s Stepford reflect those old-fashioned values that today’s society seems in danger of forgetting. They bake, preen, orgasm on command, and are the perfect helpmates–especially as caddies on the golf course, somewhere we know our leader spends an appropriate and necessary amount of time! Plus, stay tuned for the ultimate “Girl Boss” twist at the end!

  1. Donnie Darko (dir. Richard Kelly, 2001)

This one likely hits particularly close to home for POTUS, because it takes place in Middlesex County, Virginia, just two hours from his own front door (and definitely not because it involves child abuse at the hands of a charismatic demagogue with a media empire, I don’t know why you would even think that)!

Donnie Darko and Suburbia
Photo Courtesy of Pandora Cinema

Young Donnie Darko and his friend Frank the gigantic milky-eyed rabbit, get up to all kinds of boyhood hi-jinks as the fabric of space-time bends around them in this delightful coming-of-age story. These are the kinds of adventures you can only get up to under the wide open skies of suburbia. One small disclaimer: there are some scary airplane scenes, so don’t watch this movie if you’ve actually managed to find a place that’s allowing U.S. citizens in, and plan on traveling there via commercial airline.

  1. Gone Girl (dir. David Fincher, 2014)

Like The Stepford Wives, Gone Girl is a story in which a driven individual leaves fast-paced Manhattan for wide lawns and plantation-inspired architecture–a journey that the president himself can surely empathize with! This movie truly takes traditional domestic values, and shows them in a whole new light.

Gone Girl and Suburbia
Photo Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

When Amy runs away from her husband Nick, she is disenchanted with their unhappy marriage. However, after some relatable missteps on both their parts (he sleeps with and impregnates a student; she manipulates an old stalker into taking her in, only to find herself held hostage in a luxurious lake house that she must murder her way out of), the couple reunites, committed to starting a family.

These films trace bootstrapping journeys that remind us of the rich culture contained in the delicate environs of suburban America, and give us some insight into the complicated mind of the leader who is endeavoring to protect it. What’s more, they all contain the kinds of happy endings that only high property taxes can buy, and that’s why Donald Trump (almost definitely) approves this message. 

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