Women in Horror is such a fantastic movement. I love the spotlight that comes with it to deserving projects that otherwise get buried in a male-dominated world. Considering that we’re getting some of our most fearful, visceral work from female writers, directors, producers and actresses, the cause is completely relevant and worthy.
However, it’s not only these groups that should get their chance to shine. We’re going to broaden the definition a bit and make sure to include some other worthy candidates. You see, it’s not just the women making horror that matter – it’s the female critics and journalists that knock it out of the park with their intrepid reporting, interpretations and musings. Total honesty: some of them sell their journalism by being the cute chick that covers horror. No way; we’re better than that. In the spirit of celebration, we’re going to cover some of the women that bring us horror through podcasts, magazines, and blog entries with the sass, pluck and dedication to research that gives horror such a good name. Take it away, ladies!
Rebecca Booth, assistant editor for Diabolique Magazine and host of the United Nations of Horror podcast, knows her shit. Have you ever met someone that doesn’t have to brag about how much they know, yet can completely destroy a blow-hard’s argument in three paces? Yup, that’s her. Rebecca’s strength comes in her power of research: this is a writer that digs deep for answers, half out of curiosity, half out of finding another lead and wanting to explore it. The result: her work is academic and well-structured. The best part: it’s not condescending in the least. There’s never a tone of “LOOK AT HOW MUCH I KNOW!” You will, however, find a tone of joyful celebration of knowledge. Christ knows the world could use all the rational thinkers it can get its hands on right now.
When I say busy, too, I mean that she’s really busy. Podcasting on UNH, editing Diabolique, contributing to That’s Not Current and Big Comic Page.
Check out some amazing pieces she’s done by clicking the descriptions below:
On fairy tales in relationship to Stranger Things.
On DARIO FREAKING ARGENTO.
On the subject of hysteria in The Entity.
Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger
Same family, but ask me if I care. Samm Deighan (who has contributed to Fangoria and the book Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s) and Kat Ellinger (frequent Scream Magazine contributor, as well as DVD commentator) are the editors of Diabolique Magazine. Under their direction, they’ve brought back print issues (available for pre-order) as well as some extraordinary themes, from Italian cinema to Japanese horror. Hell, they’ve even given music a shout out by putting the kick-ass Heather Drain in charge of that department (for the record, her taste in music rocks the house). Diabolique reins supreme as the place to go for classy think pieces on horror. It really elevates the niche to where it should be, and has been branching out to include things like music, art and dance, which, believe it or not, is extraordinarily integral to the culture experience. That’s the beauty of the mag: it’s not just the same tedious reviews and chasing of interviews. Whereas other mags are content to tow the line, this one is the cool cousin that knows where to get the good booze and turns you on to the really cool underground stuff. Why would you want to be a prim lady when you can be a dangerous dame?
In addition to the mag, these two collaborate on the highly informative and entertaining Daughters of Darkness podcast. You want to talk smashing barriers, listen to these two discuss Giallo films.
Here are some of my favorites:
I’m partial to this one on Gaillo films.
Seriously, their discussion of all things female and witchy is everything.
Samm’s take on Andrzej Zulawski’s My Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your Days.
Dawn Keetley, Elizabeth Erwin, and Gwen Hoffman
Nothing is more badass than a woman with an education. Nothing. The women of Horror Homeroom have education like you wouldn’t believe. Dawn Keetley teaches American literature and gothic horror at Lehigh University; Elizabeth Erwin writes for Entertainment Weekly and concentrates on horror’s relationship to gender and sexuality; Gwen Hoffman is a PhD candidate, with a focus on pop cultural in the 20th Century. These are not vapid women looking for the lulz, and they don’t have to market their looks to get readers. The discussions here range from race to sexual orientation to economy, illustrated by ghosts, zombies and varying degrees of horror.
They also provide reviews, and as such, we’re treated to gems with a clue into the perspective they provide, which can only help but garner more interest. Likewise, their analyses are well-thought-out, providing an honest discussion with respectful perspective.
Click the links below to sample some of their work, such as:
Dawn viewing Insidious through the lens of race.
Elizabeth’s thoughts on male rape and victim mentality in The Killing Kind.
Gwen’s excellent look at victimhood in Don’t Breathe.
Simret, AKA The Wicker Girl
This is a two-for-one deal: not only is Simret a blogger, she also makes her own films. Women in film – especially horror – tend to be completely badass, so this gets a double thumbs-up. Even better? She talks not only horror (and let the record state that her taste is good), she also manages to go after some subjects that are pretty everyday and horrifying to women. Yes, it’s the dawn of a new century, and women are finally getting to talk about the stuff that not only scares, but gets translated into horror. It’s pretty exciting.
Her work consists of both written and video reviews and analyses. They’re entertaining and on point. Here are a few of my favorites:
A review of Dr. Carnesky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman.
An interview with Japanese artist Mami Izumi.
An inside look at the scripting process for filmmaking.
Graveyard Shift Sisters
Last but certainly not least, we have the good women over at The Graveyard Shift Sisters. Let’s be blazingly honest: as much as being a woman can provide endless frustrations, being a woman of color opens up a whole new can of worms. That’s why a site like this is so necessary: you can’t just embrace one version of feminism and slap that label onto everything. There are different perspectives out there, and if you discount those voices and experiences, you’re living in a sheltered world. I’ve heard of black women getting flack for being horror fans – this site not only sheds light on a narrative I don’t directly experience, but also highlights the achievement of black women and women of color in cinema and television.
That’s the beauty of this site – the goal is to generate a dialogue. It’s a chance to grow. If you willfully ignore it, then shame on you. You may not like acknowledging your privilege, but if you really want the world to be better, you have to stare it in the face and listen to someone else for once.
Here are a few of the pieces I’ve really enjoyed from this site:
A spotlight on the actress Kim Hamilton as part of 28 Days of Black Women in Horror.
A look at the film Venefica.
An incredible view into the makings of a black female horror filmmaker.
Do yourself a favor and check out the work of these women. While women are working more and more in the horror field… we still need more. We need more voices, less gimmicks, more diversity, and more attention. It’s not just the relegated roles of actress either: it’s the voices that see, relate and interpret. To all of the women who write about horror: thank you.