Written by: Paula Haifley, CC2K Horror Chick
CC2K's resident horror chick, Paula Haifley, squares off against Shriekfest Film Festival founder Denise Gossett in a debate about the relevance of Women in Horror Month.
Why We Don’t Need Women in Horror Month
by Paula Haifley
As long as a movie is good it shouldn’t matter who made it, which is both the point of Women In Horror Recognition Month and why it is missing the point. I wouldn’t vote for Sarah Palin for president just because she’s a woman. Why would I want to watch a movie just because a woman made it?
Women in Horror Month was started this year by Canadian blogger/‘ziner Hannah Neurotica to raise awareness of women making and working in horror. I am pretty meh on things that try to raise awareness in the first place. Everyone knows that cancer is bad, just like everyone who is a genre fan knows that there are horror films that have been directed by women. Neurotica is organizing a month-long blood drive, which I think is cool because it is actually making a difference and fits the theme. There are also film screenings in the states (which is one way Neurotica suggests that you celebrate) highlighting women in indie horror, which I think is great, but what I think they should be highlighting is new/rare/indie horror, period.
Just because you’re a woman it doesn’t make your film good. There, I said it. I am a genre fan first and a filmmaker second. Most genre fans don’t care who makes the movie as long as it’s good. A lot of horror fans watched John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars, even thought they knew it probably wouldn’t be great, because of Carpenter’s track record, and will watch any other genre movie he makes for the rest of his life. It’s not hard to please a horror nerd. All you have to do is make a good movie (which is easier said than done, I know), or a new and interesting one, and fans will hear about it, blog about it, and get their friends to see it. Two good movies, and that film’s director will be entered into the pantheon and be giving autographs at cons forever.
While I’m not against having a Women In Horror Month, and am happy to be having my films screened as part of it, I would much rather see a celebration of indie horror. The women who are being celebrated are all a part of the indie horror community, and that community has some great films made by men too. I’d like to see Kate Glover’s indie slasher Slaughtered paired with Carter Smith’s chilling and breathtaking Bug Crush, and Devi Snively’s sweetly comedic Death in Charge short film playing before Darin Scott’s fun n’ gorey feature Dark House. In horror, the film’s the most important thing, and as long as women keep making good films, we will keep being recognized as filmmakers.
Paula Haifley is a horror filmmaker and sometimes horror chick for CC2K and Pretty Scary. You can see her films at Heyflea.com … if you dare.
Why We Need Women in Horror Month
by Denise Gossett
I say it's about time we have a Women In Horror Month! It is a month to celebrate all of the women in the horror industry, not just actresses but also writers, directors, artists, fans, and any female who has done anything significant in the horror genre. Women are integral to horror films and have been since the very first one. After all, who would be running through the woods topless… a man? Well, that's just silly. But, in all seriousness, Women in Horror do need to be appreciated. There are some amazing actresses out there that give fantastic performances, time after time, and there are some extremely talented women directors, writers, directors of photography, special effects artists, and below-the-line crew members in the horror genre now.
Horror has changed so much throughout the years, especially when it comes to women’s roles. There are more horror female filmmakers, screenwriters, and fans then ever before, and the list continues to grow. Not only do these females impress us with their talents, but they are helping to renew the genre. Female characters are stronger now, there’s less nudity in mainstream genre films, and modern actresses are respected without having to play the submissive women of years past.
In this mostly male genre, I think it's time we all take our hats off to these women in horror! Call, write or email the women in horror that you know and love and let them know that you appreciate them, that the genre wouldn’t be the same without them, and that you will keep supporting them as they slowly take over.
Denise Gossett founded the Shriekfest Film Festival in 2001 and has been a working actor for 17 years. For more information on Shriekfest, visit www.shriekfest.com.