On election day I was cheerily envisioning a future beyond hate and war with Robyn and Janelle Monae. Yesterday and today I woke up and the future looked impossibly angry and male and white, surging up from the past, all grudge-guns firing.
For some reason, there is an outdated notion that women don't like horror movies. The truth is, women don't just like horror—they've been making it for decades, and the genre would not be itself today it if it weren't for the perseverance of women in the industry. Here are three women that made it possible...
You feminist horror fans out there probably already know that The Exorcist is being re-released next week on Blu-Ray and DVD, complete with new special features and an extended director's cut. What you might not know, however, is that your friends at Bitch Media (hi, that's us) have five copies of said DVD that we'll be giving away throughout the month of October as a part of our Horror Show series celebrating feminist horror in pop culture! Read on to find out how to win one of these horror-filled DVDs—if you dare!!!
The fourth season of Dexter premiered this Sunday, and I was rather more excited about it than I would like to admit. I started watching back in the day because it was Michael C. Hall, and I was a Six Feet Under fan from waaaaayyy back, and I made it my business to ensure that the wonderful actors of that show continued to be employed for the forseeable future. As it turns out, Dexter was about as different a role from David Fisher as one could hope for, and I still loved Hall anyway. And then Dexter turned out to have a fallible narrator, which is a favorite literary device of mine. And then, also, it turned out to be bloody. And it had Julie Benz (Darla from Buffy and Angel)! Also there were Latino actors who were not total background characters! I've been hooked ever since. It's camp, and camp can be thoroughly enjoyable when it's as well-written and acted as Dexter is.
But that aside, I tend to have a lot of difficulty justifying my love of Dexter to myself in feminist terms. The macabre is not terribly woman-friendly, after all. Horror movies tends to feed on the startling contrast between blood and really hot blonde chicks, and there's more titillation in it (pun intended), one supposes, than anyone would like to admit. I don't know what makes us morbid; I do notice, though, that the ratio of men to women of my acquaintance who hate horror, and don't like "dark" themes in their arts and entertainment, is roughly 1:1. So perhaps it's an experience that's less gendered than I might otherwise be inclined to say.
So Variety has reported that Diablo Cody (Juno, The United States of Tara) is joining forces with Fox Searchlight to develop a film adapation of the upcoming zombie romance novel Breathers: A Zombie's Lament, about a recently undead man who finds love at a zombie support group. Cody won't be writing or directing the film, but she will be producing.
This is the second horror project that Diablo Cody has recently taken on and it makes me wonder: will she make more room for women in the genre?
As a big horror fan, I've been excited to see what My Bloody Valentine 3D would do for the genre, which trades primarily on thrills and spectacle. But even if I wasn't into horror, the film would be worth taking note of because it's one of the first contemporary films shot in 3D that is not a family picture (and not animated, at that). The film's success will no doubt be a benchmark for studios considering shooting other films in 3D. So I'm disappointed to report that, while the film is something of a technological marvel, its (mis)treatment of its female characters is nothing to be excited about.
If you haven't heard about While She Was Out, you're definitely not alone. This low-budget horror/thriller written and directed by Susan Montford opened in just a handful of theaters this weekend, and I was one of the two people who showed up to see it during an opening night showing in NYC. It's a pretty sure bet that this would have gone direct-to-DVD if it didn't have Guillermo del Toro among its ten (!) producers. But I'm glad it did make it to theaters, because despite its shortcomings, While She Was Out is actually worth a look.... (more after the jump).