Mind Control in “Ghostbusters”

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As you may have heard, there’s a new ‘Ghostbusters’ movie out, which has a whole set of controversies I’m not touching right now because a) I’m sure you can already guess my feelings on using the inevitable Hollywood reboot of a property as an opportunity to include more representation from groups traditionally marginalized by studio films, and b) I don’t think there’s really any reaching anyone who’s complaining about this movie, either because they’ve genuinely convinced themselves there’s nothing sexist about disliking it or because they’re unrepentantly misogynist to a degree where they wouldn’t listen to me anyway. I tilt at windmills, but not on a weekly basis.

But I have seen it, I did enjoy it, and hey presto, there’s some mind control in it! And, unsurprisingly in a movie with four female leads and a male character who revels in being eye candy (Chris Hemsworth is hilarious and sweet all at the same time as dim-but-cute receptionist Kevin), the mind control in this mostly involves controlled men.

There is a scene that does involve a mind-controlled woman, and it may in fact trip certain fetish triggers–the villain of the film, Rowan, is a man with some deep-rooted insecurities who looks forward to using his supernatural power to lord it over others. As a result, when he uses those powers to (I’d say spoilers, but this is in the trailers) take over Melissa McCarthy’s Abby, there’s a quiet undertone there of Rowan being able to finally make a woman do everything he wants her to. It’s brief, more like an echo than a plot point, but the scene where she’s taken over does have a certain quality that has probably been expanded out into fanfic by someone.

But the scenes with Kevin as Rowan’s victim/meat puppet are more prominent, longer, and while there’s no real homosexual subtext to them (Rowan is more interested in enjoying being a handsome and powerful “alpha” than he is in thinking about the idea that reveling in another guy’s physicality might be a little bit less than straight) there’s definitely something there for people who want to see brainwashed guys and don’t get their chance very often because male gaze. Chris Hemsworth is, let’s all admit it, pretty damn near perfect, and while he is “possessed” instead of “mindless”, there’s definitely something there that anyone who is into the idea of men acting under someone else’s control can watch in the theater and fantasize about later.

Add to that one scene (which is greatly elaborated on in the credits) where Rowan in Kevin’s body decides to display his supernatural power by imposing it on the collective wills of a group of soldiers sent to stop him, and you’ve certainly got a little something something for those of us who have a fetish that peeks its way into the mainstream time and time again. I don’t know that the movie is worth seeing for that alone, but I will say it’s worth seeing for Kate McKinnon alone and you get all this as a fun extra if you’re looking for brainwashed beefcake.

And who knows, maybe some of you are.

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