The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Women in Horror Month: My Favorite Feminist in Horror: John Carpenter

Written by: Paula Haifley, CC2K Horror Chick

ImageAt a time when there weren't many female producers, John Carpenter promoted his "script girl" Debra Hill to be his producing and writing partner. The rest is cinematic history. Together they created the iconic monster Michael Meyers, and the ultimate Final Girl in Laurie Strode, who is still the gold standard of feminist horror movies.

All of Carpenter/Hill's movies featured resilient, bold women. The majority of their movies were "genre" combos that featured a strong element of horror. Even Assault On Precinct 13 was essentially the first running-zombie movie (one location, disparate survivors trapped into working together against a mysterious, unknowable, relentless enemy). The Fog starred the wonderful Jamie Lee Curtis and Adrienne Barbeau in touchstone characters, and of course Adrienne's role in Escape From New York was also beloved by genre fans.

As an undergrad at UCLA, I interned at Debra Hill Productions because she was one of the only respected, and liked, big time Hollywood female producers. If Carpenter hadn't been a visionary hippie feminist who stood by her and basically gave Hollywood the "thumbs up" signal for Debra, she might never had the opportunity to produce The Dead Zone for David Cronenberg, or three of my favorite non-genre movies: Clue, Adventures In Babysitting, and The Fisher King. Up until her death in 2005, Debra Hill was producing movies and was collaborating with Carpenter again on a reboot of The Fog. We lost her inspiring presence too soon, but thank God for a man ballsy and loyal enough

in Hollywood to stand by a trailblazing woman throughout her historic career.

Elisabeth Fies is the writer/director/producer of the thriller The Commune. Learn more about it at