February 2016 marks the 7th Annual Women in Horror Month, which brings awareness to the lack of support and appreciation of the hard work that women provide to the horror industry.
So, with that in mind, I would like to do my small part in thanking the women that make us squirm, scream and cringe while torturing our senses all at once.
Directing the Horror
These are the sickest ones of them all. They have the twisted vision, they direct the horror and they have absolute control over their helpless victims, and we love them for that.
1. Alice Guy Blaché
Let's start with someone who is the very definition of a trailblazer shall we? She was arguably responsible for inventing the director's job and creating the first, if not the first narrative films. She was also credited with shooting hundreds of films between 1896 and 1920, including several horror movies: an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum, The Vampire and The Monster and the Girl. This tiny paragraph doesn't do her the justice she deserves, so I encourage you to learn more about her whenever you have the chance.
In 2012, Martin Scorsese presented her with the Director's Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award, saying:
"It is the hope and intention of the DGA that by presenting this posthumous special directorial award for lifetime achievement, the Guild can both raise awareness of an exceptional director and bring greater recognition to the role of women in film history."
2. Mary Lambert
Notable Horror Movies: Pet Sematary, Pet Sematary II, Urban Legends: Bloody Mary
Fear and horror with a touch of class. Ms. Lambert crafted a movie adaptation like no other, respecting the source material but adding her own perspective.
3. Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska a.k.a. The Soska Sisters
Notable Horror Films: Death Hooker in a Trunk, American Mary
These ladies decided to take matters into their own hands. Unhappy with the stereotype of women in horror, they decided to take a different approach to the genre by directing, producing and acting in their own films. Yes, their movies are not outstanding or groundbreaking but the vision, perseverance and passion can be felt in their work. They direct violent and visceral movies akin to the likes of Eli Roth and Robert Rodriguez but they have their own point of view and that's enough to respect them.
"Blondes make the best victims."
4. Jennifer Kent
Notable Horror Film: The Babadook
Ultimate horror is the fear that a human being can induce in another human being; it's even worse when that fear envelopes oneself. The Babadook shattered my nerves and gave me a new perspective on grief. Fear has never felt more human. Well done Ms. Kent, well done.
5. Kathryn Bigelow
Notable Horror Film: Near Dark
She is better known for movies like Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker and Point Break (the original one) but I included her for this kick-ass quote:
“I've spent a fair amount of time thinking about what my aptitude is, and I really think it's to explore and push the medium. It's not about breaking gender roles or genre traditions.”
Becoming the Horror
Sometimes, you have to tell yourself that these actresses are just performing, right? They kill, they maim and they torture while looking beautiful doing it. These are some of the characters that bring to life the pain and terror.
1. Carrie White ('Carrie')
What is horror without a little bit of supernatural added to it? Carrie showed us what happens when we are not good to one another and decide to be jerks for no reason. Bullying is wrong, kids.
2. Asami Yamazaki ('Audition')
Careful what you wish for, right? Audition reminds us that online dating is not the best of ideas... just kidding! This movie just pushes the right or wrong buttons depending on how you look at it. The movie is relentless in its depiction of torture and pain. Asami Yamazaki is our vehicle of violence, torment and suffering throughout the movie. She dares us to look away or continue falling down the rabbit hole. It's a powerful performance that shows how twisted the human being can be.
3. Annie Wilkes ('Misery')
She is your number one fan, remember that. Annie Wilkes will love you to death, literally, and will make sure that you don't become a lying ol' dirty birdy. Mental illness is no joke but when it's handled with respect and portrayed in such a way, a movie like Misery truly becomes a masterpiece.
4. Eli / Abby ('Let the Right One In / Let Me In')
Vampires, of course! No horror list is complete without our favorite undead. Both versions of this movie are good, capitalizing on the eerie atmosphere and relationship of the main characters. I liked the remake a little bit more but I enjoyed both of them equally. Either way, the character of Eli/Abby is a very interesting one since her intentions are not quiet clear. But the way she will defend what she cares for, is truly horrifying.
5. Mrs. Voorhees (Friday the 13th)
Awww, there's nothing more beautiful than the love of a mother for her child. Ms. Voorhees is horror incarnate. The power of vengeance and scorn fuel her to exact punishment on those who hurt her baby. In a way you feel sorry for her and even try to understand her intentions. Ms. Voorhees established herself as a horror icon for the simple reason that her motivation is a very real one.
Well, there you have it. Thank you very much for your time and I hope you enjoyed this small tribute to women in horror.