Still, however desexualized, minimalized, and distanced, the crime is a rape, and the question is why – what, in other words, the male viewer’s stake might be in imagining himself reacting to that most quintessentially feminine of experiences. The answer lies, perhaps, in the question: it is precisely because rape is the more quintessentially feminine of experiences – the limit, care of powerlessness and degradation – that is such a powerful motivation, such a clean ticket, for revenge. I have argued that the center of gravity of these films lies more in the reaction (the revenge) than the act (the rape), but to the extent that the revenge fantasy derives its force from some degree of imaginary participation in the act itself, in the victim position, these films are predicated on cross-gender identification of the most extreme, corporeal sort.

Carol J Clover
Men, Women and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film