ByUsama Masood, writer at
Current Writer For Hire, Future Billionaire/Superhero. Find Me @TheWayneMansion
Usama Masood

Scream Queen Drew Barrymore is teaming up with former TV series showrunner Jill Blotevogel to develop a horror anthology series written and directed by women. The series, entitled has been put into development by The CW. As a horror TV series written and directed entirely by women, this show will be the first of its kind. This comes shortly after the CW President's remarks at this year's TCA that they were keen to attract more female viewers:

"When I got here, we were 70 percent female, 30 percent male. We’re now 50/50. Our linear age is 47, our digital age is 25, so we’re young. I think a better mix is 55/45 female-to-male, so we’re trying to bring more women back."

The CW's Female Fandom

The now-cancelled 'Reign' [Credit: The CW]
The now-cancelled 'Reign' [Credit: The CW]

While the network has traditionally skewed more towards female-centric programming, the last few years have seen a large shift, with the introduction of Greg Berlanti's DCTV Arrowverse. That, coupled with the cancellation of shows like Reign, No Tomorrow and The Vampire Diaries, has led The CW to green-light more female-focused programming. Just this fall, the network is set to air a new medical drama Life Sentence, starring Lucy Hale, as well as the reboot of the old 1981 soap-drama series Dynasty. The CW is also developing the Supernatural spin-off Wayward Sisters in an attempt to appeal to their paranormal and horror loving female fanbase. So it certainly makes sense why The CW would think Black Rose Anthology is a good fit for their network.

The show, produced by CBS Studios, Nancy Juvonen’s Flower Films, Barrymore and Blotevogel, will be written by the latter, and is set to revolve around themes of "terror, guilt, jealousy, repression, paranoia, insanity, sexual obsession and survival through a modern and distinctly feminine lens."

Women In Horror

'Prevenge' [Credit: Kaliedoscope ]
'Prevenge' [Credit: Kaliedoscope ]

In recent years there has been an increased number of female helmed horror projects, and this very year four female directors made horror anthology film XX. With female directors work in this popular genre, fans will get to see more and more authentic representations of women. Horror is a field that has long tended to overtly sexualize its characters, especially female ones. But with more and more female filmmakers contributing to the horror genre, that trend will certainly be declining.

The presence of women behind the big (and small) screen has also brought out some fascinating new projects such as A Girl Walks Home At Night which reverses the trope of men preying on women, and Prevenge, a smart film that turned the evil baby trope on its head by giving the mother some agency — rather than having her just die. It can't be denied that women have always been a key part of horror movies, from the Wes Craven Scream series in the 1990s, to as far back as 1962 with Robert Aldrich's What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? But this new wave of female-helmed horror movies will certainly help to create even stronger and more nuanced female characters, not to mention adding a perspective unlike anything we've seen before in this genre.

The CW, for their part, has taken well to using horror elements to attract female viewers with Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals and iZombie all being big hits for the channel. The latter show's interesting take on the undead has made it a critical darling too, and its fair to assume that The CW hopes that the Black Rose Anthology could continue that trend. Barrymore, too, plays a big role in Netflix's popular zom-com as lead actress and producer, and all her experience in horror can certainly be valuable for the upcoming series.

A promo for 'Santa Clarita Diet' [Credit: Netflix]
A promo for 'Santa Clarita Diet' [Credit: Netflix]

Barrymore's involvement in the new project will certainly help bring more viewers to the screen, especially since she will be working side by side with a Scream showrunner — albeit the one that produced the lackluster MTV series. It's unclear who will star in the Black Rose Anthology, or even if it will end up on the network's slate of shows next year (though chances are high that it will), but the anthology approach could allow for some bigger names to end up on the screen, presumably alongside Barrymore — though she has not yet confirmed that she'll star in the show, as well as producing it.

Long-term horror projects with multiple installments have always worked well, whether it's in film franchises (The Scream, Annabelle, The Conjuring) or in TV as anthologies (American Horror Story, Channel Zero). And with women finally helming horror projects, here's hoping we won't see the same old horror films with their gratuitous treatment of doormat heroines that have long since populated the horror genre.

Tell us in the comments: What female-focused horror stories would you like to see adapted in the Black Rose Anthology?

(Sources: Deadline, The Wrap, AV Club)


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