Classic Screen Slaps: Week 8

the abyss

It is with extreme appreciation that I post the final classic screen slap. Whittling down to eight choices for eight weeks was a difficult task, but one that was tremendous fun. Attempting to team each classic slap with a character episode of The Slap saw interesting clips fly back and forth in consideration.

For our final classic slap, I chose a slap from a contemporary film. This seemed a wise choice given the episode of the ABC mini-series focuses on the youthful Richie.

Following this week’s episode, I will be posting a “best of” selection of classic slaps. As it turns out, there are just too many slaps for one eight-week block! Thank you for reading and you can enjoy the other classic slaps here.

The film: James Cameron’s The Abyss (1989).

The players: Ed Harris as Bud Brigman (the slapper) and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as his unconscious estranged wife  Lindsay (the slapped).

Social context: Bud and Lindsay are an estranged married couple. Their work life is tumultuous to say the least. Working together again proved to be testy and this clip shows both the love and the fearful scorn that exists in their relationship. Bud is not willing to give up on Lindsay, and has no hesitation in showing his vehemently raw emotions. Disguised as an attempted reviving, this is domestic abuse as its terrifyingly worst: hidden and covered up by a greater need for survival. Despite his erratic nature, Bud is naturally seen as the hero for abusively bringing Lindsay back to life.

Velocity: The actual slaps are brief and feature a quick succession through a front and back handed slap. The shaking and screaming is what really enhances the slaps. The line “Goddamnit you bitch, you never backed away from anything in your life, now fight” also adds another element to the scene.

Hardness: This is about as hard as they get. Perhaps it is the shaking, but it really does seem that Bud literally slaps and screams the life back into her, which is a terrible thought and one more terrifying to witness.

Sound: Harris’ screams indeed alarms the audience, as well as his co-workers. His vocal breaking down is simply scary and do infuriatingly enhance the moment. The sounds of the slaps teamed with the water temporarily situated on Lindsay’s face prove to be frighteningly disgusting.

For those impatient readers, I’d suggest just skipping to about 2min in.

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