How often are phallic symbols displayed in film? If you think long and hard enough about it, you’d realize that they appear on a regular basis. As the video below demonstrates, penis-shaped symbols aren’t just used in sex comedies but in many different genres of film. Sometimes, they’re not even meant to represent sex at all, but power and/or domination. It can be a powerful way for a filmmaker to get a particular point across, but then there are instances where phallic symbolism seems merely coincidental. This video essay, which was erected by Now You See It, explores the many ways in which we can find phalluses in film. The video uses examples dating back to classic Hollywood fare as well as more recent films such as David Fincher’s “The Social Network.”
Phallic symbols were pretty much all classic Hollywood films had at their disposal to effectively represent sexual desire from a visual standpoint. Famous examples include Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” with the shot of a speeding train entering a tunnel or Bonnie admiring Clyde’s gun in “Bonnie and Clyde.” Perhaps most fascinating is when the video explores the various ways Ridley Scott’s “Alien” used sexual imagery to terrify the audience. The alien itself was a phallic symbol, for crying out loud!
The temptation to make silly jokes or puns related to the subject of phallic symbols can be difficult to resist, but if you can get past that childishness, you’ll find that this video will arouse your attention. …dammit. Just check it out below.