The vision for this blog is wide and all-encompassing.
As a horror fan and a discerning customer, even before a woman or a writer, I have to say I am offended. I want my blood and my boobs to be quality additions to a quality product.
This attitude of "aim low, hit low" places severe limitations on the genre. If we are going to continue to produce substandard and inferior creations of course no one outside of our world of frights is going to bother swimming through the muck to find the true genius that does exist. It creates a self-fulfilling prophecy wherein crap and fluff are offered more often than substance and true excitement and lowers the expectations of the general viewing public.
And by marketing solely to young men the industry has managed to effectively alienate one half of their potential customers. Now, I am fully aware that there are plenty of women out there who love horror. I am one myself and I volunteer for a horror convention with two to three other women on the planning committee at any given time. But when you have a conversation with your average (and in some cases even freaky, alternative) woman and ask her about her opinion on horror it tends to be negative. If you push harder and ask why it is usually revealed that horror movies are generally perceived as misogynistic and disrespectful toward women.
I, myself, personally, do know of the exceptions, so I don't believe that this is strictly true. Sure there are plenty of times when women are exploited or objectified (just as in many other facets of this culture) but as any good horror fan realizes, that's not all there is to horror. But why are we okay with letting people assume that about our favorite source of entertainment?
Horror and sex have long gone hand in hand. The success of the Victorian horror novels can be explained in part by their racy and scandalous themes. But this doesn't mean women have to be treated simply as a sex object. For example, even as far back as Dracula the leading lady, Mina Murray-Harker, is a shockingly independent woman which is one reason why she has survived as a character through the last century while her husband, Jonathan, has fallen by the wayside in popular culture.
All of that being said I do feel that there is room for improvement in the industry when it comes to the way women are treated and portrayed. The stereotype of the large-breasted bimbo (or harem of bimbos) whose only redeeming value is that she is brutally killed after showing the world her goods might be responsible for a lot of hype but for every 20 movies like this produced only 1 finds its way to the film festival circuit and critical acclaim while the rest just serve to convince more women that the whole horror "thing" is just something they want to avoid. It's cheap and easy to throw gratuitous sex (and violence) into a film to bring in a handful of extra viewers. It's harder to create a solid script that can stand on its own merits without the need of breasts and extra blood. Still harder is the task of fine tuning sex (and violence) so that does more than titillate and actually contributes to the story.
Simply put, gratuitous (that being the key word) sex makes everyone involved look bad. If it seems that the only way a movie will get notoriety is because of the naked women and steamy shower scenes then maybe the script and acting need a complete overhaul.
This why I feel like a new influx of women into horror can do us all a lot of good.
Do I believe that the solution is white washing horror films and only producing PG-13 works? And do I think that if women were placed in charge of making horror that the problems would automatically dry up? Well, the 2 dimensional characters of Jennifer's Body say no.
There are fewer female horror writers of note than there are men. And there aren't many women who have directed notable horror films, or produced them, or shot them, or even worked the special effects, but maybe that's because there are less women in the entire movie industry working in these roles. The same could be said about comics and video games.
Is that because these are men's clubs and no one is about to let a woman take a swing? That is certainly one of the problems that this genre (and others) face. The other being the lack of interest so many women have in it. (Not to say that there aren't women out there who are) And I know that there are women intimidated by the daunting task of being truly frightening. But there have been women in the past who have done this, women who are behind some of the best horror films of all time and female authors whose work has inspired generations of horror fans. I intend to bring these women to light, to tell you about them and the work they have done (or are still doing). I want to honor their efforts and hopefully inspire a whole new crop of women willing to plunge in and start creating. Possibly even too give hope to those already trying their hand.
This is what this blog is about. All of this.
In the coming months I am hoping to debut a website home for this project. I am also slowly researching the possibility of a podcast or webseries devoted to the topic and hosted upon said site. I may even set up a forum if there seems to be a need for more conversation than the blog itself will allow. I am looking for anyone willing to help out in any of these categories so please feel free to contact me if you are interested.
Thank you for your time and I hope you'll return next week.