XX Anthology: Horror Directed By Women

I leave the Internet for a few hours to get my mustache waxed and the next thing I know, this big project is announced! I have been looking forward to this announcement for some time since director Jovanka Vuckovic told me this was brewing, and I've secretly yearned to know the details. Now we have them!

Jovanka Vuckovic is really the driving force behind this anthology of horror segments all directed by women. It was her initial spark that gave this project the power it has: she gathered some of the best female horror directors of our time: Mary Harron (AMERICAN PSYCHO), Karyn Kusama (JENNIFER'S BODY), Jennifer and Sylvia Soska (AMERICAN MARY), Jennifer Lynch (CHAINED), and animator Sofia Carrillo (PRITA NOIRE) for the first female-directed  horror film anthology.

XX is the title, but there are no plot descriptions yet. The anthology will also feature female leads.

From the official press release:

Producer Todd Brown said, "One of the givens of so many horror films has been the objectification of young women, and we thought it was time for a different approach to scaring audiences and letting the female voice be heard."

Greg Newman, EVP of Dark Sky Films' parent company, MPI Media Group says, "We know that women make up about half of the audience for horror films, and yet the female creative voice has been nearly silent in the horror genre. So we are thrilled about the new and distinct approach that these talented directors will bring to the project."

But I would rather hear from Vuckovic or the other directors, dudes!

I'm on this like I'm on horror films directed by women (white on rice).

XX horror anthology directed by women

20 Women Directors For The New EXPENDABLES Movie

Recently, it was announced that the producers behind the new EXPENDABLES movie are seeking a female director to helm the project. I decided to make a list of 20 women directors for the new EXPENDABLES movie because, frankly, I haven't seen that many suggested aside from Lexi Alexander (PUNISHER: WARZONE) and Kathryn Bigelow (Do I need to tell you?).

I am always surprised when people say “there aren’t that many women action film directors.” I mean, I guess I’m not surprised, really, because overall there are way more men directing, in general, than women, so it will always appear that there are fewer women directing films of all genres.

But there is a really long legacy of women directing action and thriller films on our planet. Even Alice Guy Blache, the first female filmmaker, (I know you're all sick of hearing about her, whatevs) directed several one-reel action sequences, like these:

A heist flick:


And those are free to watch, public domain, on the Internet.

Guy Blache aside, I’m looking at a stack of movies on my desk, like the recent DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK from Jen and Sylvia Soska, AIR COLLISION by Liz Adams, the AGENT 15 series by Paget Brewster, Rachel Lee Goldenberg’s Asylumspoitation SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE’S SHERLOCK HOLMES, Katrina del Mar’s SURF GANG, Nikka Kalashkinova’s high-octane JUPITER LOVE…And those are just random, lesser-known indies from the last ten years.

I also have a stack of flicks that I’m surprised no one mentions when they talk about action directed by women, like Roberta Findlay’s 1985 THE TENEMANT:

Barbara Peeter’s 1971 biker flick BURY ME AN ANGEL:

Dorothy Ann Puzo’s COLD STEEL, and Czinzia Th Torrini’s HOTEL COLONIAL from 1988:

and Virginia Stone’s 1975 adventure TREASURE OF THE JAMAICA REEF (AKA EVIL IN THE DEEP) starring Cheryl Ladd:

And these are all before mentioning that really iconic 1970s exploitation/action flick TERMINAL ISLAND directed by the first woman Roger Corman ever hired to direct a film, Stephanie Rothman:

And, folks, I haven’t even started talking about the mainstream movies by Kathryn Bigelow and Mimi Leder yet! But let’s get to the point. This is supposed to be an article about women who have what it takes to direct the new EXPENDABLES sequel, insultingly titled EXPENDABELLES (which, director Lori Bowen points out, means they should retitle the first two films “EXPENDABALLS”). These directors have the career backgrounds and necessary experience to direct this movie. Of course they all have different styles and would bring completely different sets of skills, personalities, and style to the movies, so it is a matter of personal taste and preference as to whom would be the best woman for the job.

1) Lexi Alexander

Alexander is my first choice simply because I know she has a large fan base from her PUNISHER: WARZONE days and is actually able to choreograph her own fight sequences if need be. Her previous film GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS was what got her that job, actually, and it has numerous action sequences, tension, and won, like, 5,000,00000 awards. She also has a svelte sense of humor and doesn’t take herself too seriously, which I think is a prerequisite for directing something as stupid as THE EXPENDABELLES, right?

You can hear Lexi describe her experiences making PUNISHER: WARZONE on the great podcast HOW DID THIS GET MADE? which has endeared her to many a new fan.

2) Mimi Leder

Leder, you may or may not remember, directed the action/sci-fi blockbuster DEEP IMPACT and the action/thriller THE PEACEMAKER in the late 1990s. Leder also has a slew of crime/action TV series under her belt. Since then, she’s been considered for a few other action films like the remake of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, but so far has stuck to TV like recent episodes of SHAMELESS.

3) Lana Wachowski

Wachowski, as one of “the” Wachowskis, was one of the creators of the original MATRIX series. With SPEED RACER and CLOUD ATLAS also under her belt, and the new sci-fi extravaganza JUpITER ASCENDING in post production, Wachowski may be the perfect choice to direct EXPENDABELLES. Though she’s never directed ANYTHING alone without brother Andy. Is this even something she’d consider/be capable of doing alone?

4) Betty Thomas

No one ever mentions Betty Thomas when talking about potential directors for genre films and I am not sure why. Thomas mostly directs comedies, but her 2002 action/comedy I SPY teamed Owen Wilson with Eddie Murphy in a dynamic, if generic and predictable, black cop/white cop classic Hollywood action fest that was actually quite financially successful.

5) Catherine Hardwicke

Before she was TWILIGHT-ING and RED RIDING-it around Hollywood, Hardwicke impressed everyone with LORDS OF DOGTOWN, a gritty surfing-and-skateboarding action/thriller movie set in Santa Monica, California. She’s still one of the most sought-after directors around right now.

6) Michelle MacLaren

Michelle Maxwell McLaren first came on my radar with her horror/thriller feature POPULATION 436 in around 2006 or so. Since then, she’s directed some of the best episodes of BREAKING BAD, THE WALKING DEAD, and GAME OF THRONES.

In a recent article from Sept 13th, 2013 on ThinkProgress.org, writer Alyssa Rosenberg points out how weird it is that McLaren hasn’t been asked to direct a big-budget action feature for a studio:

That success has some writers, me among them, hoping that more mediums might have their shot at getting MacLaren-ified. As Alan Sepinwall wrote in his Breaking Bad recap on Sunday, “If Alan Taylor can use his work on ‘Sopranos,’ ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Game of Thrones to land a blockbuster movie job like the ‘Thor’ sequel, why can’t MacLaren (who’s also done impressive “Thrones” work) pull off the same jump? Tell me she’s directing a big-budget action movie, and my ticket is purchased within seconds. Hey, Hollywood: please watch the last 20 minutes of this episode — at the way she composes her shots, at the way she squeezes every possible bit of tension and emotion and despair out of the circumstances and her actors—and tell me she doesn’t have the chops.”

BuzzFeed’s Kate Aurthur asked MacLaren yesterday if she’d be interested, and her answer says a great deal about the rise of television in relation to film.

"Would I like to? If the right thing came along, absolutely,” she said. “I love television. Television is a great medium; I’m fortunate enough to direct amazing television. Would I like to do a feature? Absolutely. I will never leave television. Am I looking? Yes. I’m looking. Have I found anything? Not yet. I haven’t yet. I’d like to do both.”

That no movie studio has approached MacLaren for a project she’d be interested in, or expressed interest in her after she’s identified a project she’d like to work on, while more and more of television’s best shows are bringing her on board, is revealing. It’s not as if the television industry is vastly superior to movies when it comes to the employment of women behind the camera, but you’d think that someone with MacLaren’s resume would have found a high-profile movie project right now if she wants one. This isn’t even a case where Kathryn Bigelow could plausibly be treated as an exception to a rule, the one woman who can direct a compelling action sequence, much in the same way that Will Smith is treated like one of only a few black men who can open an action picture. If MacLaren can provide the visual grammar for television shows that draw millions of viewers, it would take some exceptional logic to argue that she suddenly wouldn’t be effective on a bigger screen.


6) Gwyneth Horder-Payton

SONS OF ANARCHY, THE WALKING DEAD, JUSTIFIED, THE SHIELD, and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA are just a few of the action TV series on which Horder-Payton has worked as a director. Alyssa Rosenberg, again, interviewed Horder-Payton for Indiewire, and it’s clear she has a passion for action and fight-scene choreography:

"I studied fight after fight after fight, famous movie fights, famous television fights, across the board, I went to YouTube and I looked at street fights," she explained. "And what's so interesting is that in 95 percent of the fights on-screen, the men barely sweat, or feel pain, or even feel anger. It's so interesting. They're so macho that it's all about landing the blows, selling the hit to the camera. You don't see the progression. And they never show fatigue. It's rare…So I thought, you know, as a woman, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to bring sweat and progression of blood, and pain, and vulnerability."

7) Lesli Linka Glatter

Another prominent TV director, Linka Glatter’s recent work on THE WALKING DEAD (noticing a theme?), TRUE BLOOD, and HOMELAND make her a perfect candidate for a big-budget theatrical action movie. Seriously, if Tommy Wirkola can get one simply by making a low budget movie about zombies, surely directing big-budget high-profile TV series is a way to get on that list as well, right?

8) Lynne Ramsay

Ramsays’ recent walking out on the action western JANE GOT A GUN caused a slew of uproar in the entertainment media. People called her everything from unprofessional to petty to catty to brave when she left the production based on differences. But Ramsay was hired because her feature WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN blew many people away (horror fans hated it because, you know, not horror) with its eerie and emotional violence. The script so impressed star Tilda Swinton that she signed on as a producer long before the film went into production, and Ramsay’s collaboration with a high-profile movie star went swimmingly, to say the least.

9) Vicky Jewson

Jewson is a very young, indie director of whom you might not have heard, but she’s already directed two films, one of which is an action/thriller called BORN OF WAR (which is way better than Dead Snow or Troll Hunter, FYI, studio executives).

10) Tammi Sutton

Having begun in directing low budget horror films (you know, like everyone who once worked for Roger Corman) for Full Moon Productions, Sutton’s most recent movie is a British gangster/action flick called ISLE OF DOGS. The movie has a lot of thrilling twists and turns and some brutal, stylized violence that Guy Ritchie would enjoy.

11) Kelly Reichardt

The director of the solid western MEEK’S CUTOFF just finished her brand new thriller NIGHT MOVES, about environmentalists that blow up a dam in the name of saving the world (if this makes no sense to you, then you never read THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG and you are an uneducated heathen). The movie just screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and should be out in theaters in Spring of 2014. But what’s Reichardt’s next project going to be? If they want to snag her for EXPENDABELLES, now might be a good time.

12) Debra Granik

Granik’s WINTER’S BONE literally made Jennifer Lawrence a ginormous movie star. The grim and gritty modern thriller is about rural crime and violence in the Appalachian mountains of the Eastern United States. It won like 5,000 independent spirit awards. Granik, however, has not made a film since she released WINTER’S BONE, so what gives?

13) Karyn Kusama

Kusama directed the boxing movie GIRLFIGHT, which is what kind of launched her career. Then, she was hired on the AEON FLUX live-action feature, followed shortly thereafter by the Diablo Cody horror movie JENNIFER’S BODY. Now, I’m not putting her on this list because of JENNIFER’S BODY or AEON FLUX because, God Knows, I may as well just replace her with Kimberly Pierce if that’s my reasoning. No, the rationale is that Kusama is good at the action stuff, not the horror stuff, not the sci-fi stuff. The action stuff. Check out what make GIRLFIGHT so freaking good (and also made Michelle Rodriguez a giant action heroine):

14) Kathryn Bigelow

Yes yes, I know. She won’t do it. They’ve probably already begged her to do it. She won’t. Though, if you watch POINT BREAK, you know Bigelow would make a brilliant flick out of EXPENDABELLES. I wish I was Kathryn Bigelow.

15) Patty Jenkins

Jenkins was going to direct the sequel to THOR, but she backed out. Like many women on this list, she started by making a grisly, high-style indie flick (MONSTER with Charlize Theron) that won 9,0000 awards in 2003 when it came out. After backing out of the (probably shitty) THOR film, she’s done some TV (THE KILLING) but her slate looks pretty free at the moment. Time to swoop in?

16) Rachel Talalay

Talalay is best known for directing the 1990s GRRRRL power sci-fi action flick TANK GIRL. She dabbled in horror films, but found her home directing TV up in Canada (like all of them!). Talalay is something of a cult figure when it comes to genre film fans and horror movie aficionados, who often wish she’d direct something super action-y again.

17) Gurinder Chadha

The director of the shockingly popular action/drama/comedy/teen/coming-of-age/British/Indian/whatever film BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM really gets character development and storytelling. She also enjoys a bit of camp as evidenced by her Indian serial kill comedy IT’S A WONDERFUL AFTERLIFE. But this woman who knows how to direct the camera when women’s legs are kicking things is not even being mentioned for the directing role on EXPENDABELLES. Why?

18) Angela Robinson

The director of the all-female action/comedy D.E.B.S.’s first movie was CHICKULA: TEENAGE VAMPIRE, so I’m pretty sure she’s willing to overlook some of the inevitable camp and cheesiness in the script for EXPENDABELLES. She also directed HERBIE: FULLY LOADED and recently worked on the TV series version of CHARLIE’S ANGELS (who knew that was a thing?).

19) Jennifer Lynch

Lynch is working steadily now after a long hiatus after her first movie, BOXING HELENA. However, Lynch’s new films are startling superior to her first flick in tone, sophistication, and subject matter. SURVEILLANCE and CHAINED are just the first two in what appears to be a long line of new thrillers Lynch will be making from now on. Lynch also has quite a sense of humor. And she also has dreadlocks, did you know?

20) Deanne Foley

Deanne Foley, like Vicky Jewson, may not be on anyone’s radar yet. Foley directed the action/comedy BEAT DOWN about female wrestlers last year. Her next film is a Canadian comedy, but I’d hate to see the genre success of BEAT DOWN as an action movie be ignored for its comedic aspects instead, as comedy is something we have plenty of women doing right now.

You’ll notice some omissions from this list, so feel free to complain/suggest in the comments. I mean, I figured 20 was pretty good. I could probably come up with 100, so just be thankful I kept it short. I want to know what YOU think? Agree with my picks? Disagree? Have some more people to add?

Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska Direct SEE NO EVIL 2

SEE NO EVIL was a 2006 slasher film starring a very big beefy wrestler named Kane, released by Lionsgate. I believe I have it on DVD.

After 7 years, Lionsgate has decided to create a sequel, SEE NO EVIL 2, and Jen and Sylvia Soska are co-directing it later this year, 2013!. The Soskas previously directed DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK and AMERICAN MARY.

Jacob Goodnight rises from the dead in the city morgue after his killing spree at the Blackwell hotel. In this ominous, underground locker for the dead, a group of medical students fight to survive as this deranged psychopath once again starts to pick them apart one by one.

The first thing I want to ask Jen and Sylvia is, "How does he rise from the morgue? Did they dissect him in the morgue at all? How does that work?"

Watch a clip from the first SEE NO EVIL below, which to me feels very "Lionsgate-circa-2006":

On another note, director Jennifer Blanc-Biehn (THE NIGHT VISITOR) recently interviewed Jen and Sylvia on her new web series SCARED STIFF. How often do you see a female horror director interviewing another female horror director? I see it a lot, but YOU don't, and you can watch the interview right now, too:

Women Directors Of THE ABCs OF DEATH II

Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK and AMERICAN MARY, have signed on to direct a segment of the follow-up anthology THE ABCs OF DEATH II alongside VANISHING WAVES director Kristina Buozyte. This will make them three of five total women asked to direct segments in the first and second features, so far.

The original anthology featured 26 shorts, with only two female directors involved in any way (Angela Bettis and Helene Cattet).

While I'm glad to see new faces, and certainly all the male directors involved in part II are very talented, I'm saddened as such an imbalance. I mean, where's Danielle Harris, or Caroline du Potet, or Marina de Van, or Lindsay Denniberg, or Devi Snively, or Brea Grant, or Amber Benson, or about 50 other women I could name off the top off my head?

Hopefully, as the rest of the directors are selected for the second feature, a few more women's names will pop up in the directing chair alongside The Soskas and Buozyte. It could happen! If Ant Timpson, the producer, wants any suggestions, I am here to help!

'The Captured Bird' and 'American Mary' Hit Theaters Together

Jovanka Vuckovic's "The Captured Bird" and Jen and Sylvia Soska's "American Mary" will be playing as a horror duo in Canadian Theaters through Sinister Cinema, which has paired the two films together at screenings at over 25 different Canadian cineplexes in all three Canadian cities that exist.

The two films, while wildly different, will compliment each other marvelously in tone and colorful art direction:



American Mary still image

Also, Canadians.

How To Watch 'American Mary'

"American Mary", co-directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska (they also directed the indie thriller "Dead Hooker in a Trunk") is finally coming out in the USA officially after a wildly successful film festival run.

The film is about Mary, a medical student, who discovers she can make extra money (a lot of extra money) performing illegal body modifications on lunatics with money they want to throw away. Yes: gruesome body modifications.

Supposing you're one of those ordinary people who doesn't get press screeners or press-passes to film festivals so haven't seem it, then you can watch "American Mary" in limited theaters in the USA on May 31st, 2013! If you're antsy and want to see it sooner, it's out on May 16th 2013 on VOD, and you can get it on DVD on June 18th, 2013! Look, here it is on Amazon, you can even pre-order it now, totes! (I don't really understand why a foreign-er couldn't also pre-order it from Amazon and just have it shipped internationally, I mean, I do that all the time and it works fine, so whatevs, but there you have it).

If you are not American, bu still want to watch "American Mary", there are ways.

Perhaps you look and vaguely sound American, but are not. You may be Canadian. And, in fact, on May 30th, 2013 something called Sinister Cinema's Horror Series is screening the film in theaters all around the Canadian Globe, in places like Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and the two other cities in Canada! You can check listings and locations here.

Bri-t-ish people were able to catch it in theaters in January 2013, but if you missed it, it's on DVD, as of January 21st.

Aussies can purchase a DVD from Monster Pictures (though, again, couldn't an American person and just ship it internationally? Why do we have these fucked up rules? I have a region-free thingie)

'American Mary', XLrator, and the Rue Morgue Podcast

XLrator Media will be distributing the horror film "American Mary", treat directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska, order in the USA, in Fall 2013!

The release is on the "Screamfest" Horror Film Festival DVD label, as the film screened in October 2012 at the festival where it won five awards including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography and Best Makeup. 

"American Mary" is about…

 medical student Mary Mason (played by Katharine Isabelle of the Ginger Snaps franchise) as she grows increasingly broke and disenchanted with medical school and the surgeons she once admired. The allure of easy money and notoriety send Mary into the shady world of underground surgery and body modification. The film co-stars Antonio Cupo (“Bomb Girls”), Tristan Risk, David Lovgren and Paula Lindberg.

You can listen to the directors talk about their flick on the recent Rue Morgue Podcast, one of my favorite podcasts.


So Much News: Women-Directed Kiwi and Aussie Sci-fi, Heather Langenkamp, and New Festival Winners!

Kiwi filmmaker Juliet Bergh's new sci-fi flick "Existence" was written up on the Kiwi site Bearing News, which says,

The film, written and directed by Juliet Bergh, dips into the relatively modern genre of “salvagepunk,” a theme that explores post-apocalyptic worlds and dystopian societies. In “Existence,” young mother Freya lives with her two children, husband and father-in-law on a windy, ruined coastline. Opposite the ocean is an ominous, ever-running wind farm, accompanied by an electrically-charged fence called the Boundary Fence. The Fence is guarded by cowboy-esque law enforcers, titled The Riders, whose sole duty is to make sure none of Freya’s people get through the gate. Freya, desperate for freedom, enters into a physical relationship with one of these Riders, hoping he will allow her access to the “other side.”

New Zealand Film reported recently that "Existence" will screen in Hanoi, and was made as part of the New Zealand Film Commission’s low-budget Escalator scheme.

Speaking of sci-fi, Inside Movies recently ran an article discussing female sci-fi directors amidst the outpouring of director suggestions for the new "Star Wars" films Disney's going to make. In that article, my fave lady from Australia Briony Kidd ("The Room at the Top of the Stairs") along with  Maureen Perkins ("Laura Keller – NB"), Lynn Hershman Leeson ("Teknolust") and Letia Clouston ("Broken Toy") were interviewed about their feelings on women and the new "Star Wars". Leeson says things like,

“It’s about time this story takes on a real and vital transfusion which will only happen with an empowered female director — like Miranda July or me!” Hershman Leeson exclaimed. “While there is a new understanding that women too buy tickets, I don’t think a significant shift will occur until an enlightened woman team also directs and rewrites the characters.”

Incidentally, Perkins won Best Film for "Laura Keller" at the first Etheria Film Festival, at which Leeson was a judge. Small world! (my small world).

Continuing on sci-fi news, "Cloud Atlas" was reviewed by Thelma Adams and cross-posted on Women and Hollywood, where Adams says things like,

In the "Cloud Atlas" universe, the us-versus-them split that often characterizes Hollywood discussions about women is beside the point. In the six narrative threads braided into the film, the boundary is not between male and female but between good and evil. Those who enslave, exploit, or degrade are not restricted to a specific sex (or age or race), and they write their fates with their actions. It's up to those who salvage, fight against injustice, and create to remake the world every day and in every generation. The chaos between these elements, the dynamic, is what makes all the variety that is life in the past, present, and future. Today, you may be a sister fighting bitterly with another sister (I am!); in your next life, you might be married to that person (eek!). The trick is to resolve the conflict and to understand that the battle isn't between male and female but between darkness and light, extermination and survival.

Watch Wachowski talk about being a transgendered person and on being seen as a woman in the industry:

Moving on to horror, a recent article on horror blog Quirks and Splatters about the 2010 documentary "I am Nancy" about the career of actress Heather Langenkamp, directed by Langenkamp's family member Arlene Marechal. The author says,

When Heather talks to Wes Craven, she gains some understanding of how and why Nancy was created to be who she was. This is in conjunction with how fans feel about Nancy. All sentiments from here on out truly pay homage to her strength and how she has inspired others to be fearless in the face of fear.

You can listen to Katie Toomey talk about the sci-fi film she recently edited,"Ingenue", directed by Kate Chaplin, on That Post Show. Toomey herself directed a short horror film called "He Who Watches" – the incestuous world of women directors stikes again!

And now for some awards news…

Ali Scher's sex-and-gender-bending fantasy "The Maiden and The Princess" won Best Lesbian Film at the Hamburg International Queer Film Festival!

At the recent Salty Horror Film Festival, Emily Lou's comedic horror "The Selling" won Best Feature Film!

Katie Yu's short fantasy  "Anna- May Got Lost" won Best Canadian Short Award from the National Film Board of Canada!

And Jen and Sylvia Soska's "American Mary" takes home Best Director, Best Canadian Feature,  Best Leading Actress, Best Cinematography, Bets Antihero, and Most Disturbing Film at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.


In The News: Aussie Mags, American Maries, and Terror Scribes

Arguably, I have been slacking on posting "the news" – do you have any idea how many reviews of "American Mary" there are out there? I'd kill myself trying to post them all here. So, instead of dying, I'm going to take a minute to let you know about  new effing cool things you can read for free right now:

Director Lori Bowen ("Stella Buio") wrote a piece called, "What do horror fans want?" for TerrorScribe, in which she says things like,

 Let’s be honest, did you see Night of the Living Dead in a theater in 1968? Halloween in 1978? Elm Street in 1984? Chances are that when you saw the classics, they were on video and while you won’t get the same pleasure of sneaking some forbidden horror behind your parents’ backs by following this suggestion, you will help a struggling filmmaker and you will support the market for indie horror: check out something you’ve never heard of on Netflix or blind buy something from a filmmaker who is self-distributing or even a direct-to-DVD title that catches your fancy. iTunes/xBox/PS3 have indie horror. How is regretting that purchase different from regretting a shitty mainstream movie that you paid for?

Aussie Online Mag ArtsHub interviewed Briony Kidd ("The Room at the Top of the Stairs"), Ursula Dabrowsky ("Inner Demons"), Heidi Lee Douglas ("Little Lamb") and Isabel Peppard ("Butterflies") (alongside Cassandra Peterson) about being women creating horror. They say stuff like,

 ‘As I have been wrapping up the edit on Little Lamb, misogyny has become a mainstream issue again since Julia Gillard’s dynamite speech on the subject. It is a relief to me that we are talking about these subjects openly as a society… Women making horror films about strong female characters is a way we can challenge these problems in a way that both genders can enjoy because horror films can be sexy, playful, entertaining and profound,’ says Douglas.

Not to be outdone, the managing editor of my other site, Planey Fury, Theron Neel, interviewed Jen and Sylvia Soska (alongside their cast) about "American Mary" and observations such as this are made:

Katie continues. "That's the thing, to see a woman in a film— it's usually 'the bitch, 'the slut' or 'the girl next door.' And there is no room for these complicated, dark women." Motioning to the Soskas and Tristan, she says, "All of us, we're a little bit dark. You know? We're smart or we're dark, we're funny, we're eccentric, we're weird. And we don't see that reflected back to us all that often in films."

Also on my site, and also by Neel, is an interview with Maude Michaud ("Red") about Halloween memories:

 One year, I decided to dress up as the Bride of Frankenstein. So, as usual, my grandma made the costume ahead of time, and it fit perfectly. Then, two weeks before Halloween, my parents' house got robbed and I'm guessing the robbers were looking for something to carry the VCR, radio, etc., because they ended up grabbing this thing that looked like a folded white bed sheet to wrap what they stole — this was my costume! However, we didn't find out about it until the night of October 30th when I got home from school and started looking for my costume to try it on for the next day.


Sitges 2012: Dozens of Female Genre Film Directors

There so many women with shorts and features playing at this year's 2012 Sitges Film Festival, October 4-14th  in Spain, that it's unbelievable and terribly exciting. I hope this list helps you sort it all out…


Some familiar horror faces are screening at Sitges 2012, including Jen and Sylvia Soskas "American Mary," "The ABC's of Death" featuring shorts by Angela Bettis and Helene Cattet, Danielle Harris' "Among Friends," and Jennifer Lynch's "Chained." There's a bevvy of new directors screening new horror as well:

Katia Olivier's "Belgian Psycho" is the one I'm most sad about missing. Her previous film, "Virtual Dating," was dark and disturbing and awesome.

Today is Emily’s birthday. And how does a serial killer celebrate her birthday? By killing… a little bit more than usual.

Anna Nemyrovych co-directed the thriller "Dancing Dogs,"

Two sisters, Lily and River, meet again as a result of the death of their third sister. Her last wish was that her ashes be scattered on a beach where they spent the best moments of their childhood. Searching for this particular locus amoenis, they are kidnapped by a demented ballet teacher who forces them to prepare a show, pushing them to the limit of their physical and emotional resistance.

Sara Ibáñez's "Estigma" is a short about suicide,

A girl commits murder in a bathtub. Her eyes, reflected in the mirror, show the posttraumatic shock she suffers after the act. What she doesn’t expect is that the crime might last longer than she had planned…

Watch the full film here:

 Elisabet de Loreto co-directed "Matar Por Cien Palabras,"

Maximilian, a first time screenwriter, is having trouble finding the perfect ending for his work. He can’t imagine a scene where the main character commits a terrible murder. It is then when he decides to mentally step into the killer’s shoes. How far will he go to write his 100 words?

Juliana Rojas' "O Duplo" delves into the doppleganger mythos,

Silvia is a young elementary school teacher. One day, her class is interrupted when one of the students says he’s seen the teacher’s double walking on the other side of the street. She tries to play down the importance of the anecdote, but as of this moment her life will become stranger and stranger.


Elena Albán, Cintia Fernández and Lorena López co-directed "Old Jazz" about a nightclub singer,

Karla Castañeda's animated short "La Noria" is magical and macabre,

In a small village, time stands still for a family man who has lost his son.

You can listed to her talk about the making of the short here:

 Paulin Cointot, Dorianne Fibleuil, Antoine Robert and Maud Sertour all co-directed a darkly comedic animated short, "La Taxidermiste,"

Justine Klaiber and Jane Mumford co-directed the dark animated short "Look,"

In a world plunged into almost absolute darkness, some strange creatures worship a light that feeds them. Escaping from certain ties, however, isn’t an easy task when everyone can see.

Isabel Peppard's animated "Butterflies,"

 A young, artistically talented woman receives a job offer from a stranger. The prospect seems attractive, but the reality is that it actually might not be. A short destined to become an instant stop motion classic.

"Behind the Door," Norwegian animation co-directed by Helga Fjeldså and Stein-Christian Fagerbakken,

A dark and strange world. A couple trapped in a net of extreme feelings lives out an unhealthy relationship. Doorways that open up to universes that appear to respond to the narrative logic of nightmares. One of Anima’t 2012’s main attractions

Regina Pessoa's "Kali, o pequeno vampiro," about a vampire, of course,

Michaela Pavlátová's "Tram" is also playing at Fantastic Fest,

Kyra Buschor and Cynthia Collins made the German animated short, "Zing,"

The Reaper’s work day envolves efficiently until an untimely knock on the door disturbs his concentration. It’s a girl, who wants to get her kitty back and isn’t willing to leave empty-handed.


Making its world premiere is Mary Lambert's ("Pet Sematary") new fantasy short "Pearl" based on the fairy tale "The Little Mermaid." It's darker and set in modern times, but is being developed for a feature length version. I've seen it, and it's haunting and gorgeous.

Pearl is the story of a mermaid princess who falls in love with a California surfer. She has a delicious voice, but her father warns her that if she stays on terra firma too long, she will lose it and won’t be able to go back underwater ever again.

Noémie Lvovsky's "Camille Redouble" is a time-travel romantic comedy,

When she is sixteen, Camille meets Éric. They fall in love and have a daughter, but time passes and after twenty-five years together, he leaves her for a younger woman. The night of New Year’s Eve, something tremendously unusual happens to Camille: she is sixteen again, she is back with her parents and childhood friends again, and she runs into Éric again. And then she is faced with a dilemma: will she follow her same steps or will she change her own story? One of the best known (and most adored) faces in French cinema embarks on directing and starring in a movie about time travel, as zany as it is funny.

Kristina Buozyté's "Aurora" – a Lithuanian film,

Lukas is a scientist investigating the human neuronal area, with a project to transmit and share information from one brain to another. Given his experience and psychological profile, Lukas is considered the ideal candidate to undergo the definitive experiment: to connect his mind to that of a comatose woman. In this mental space, the scientist will begin a passionate relationship with her, alienating him more and more from the real world. But when Lukas starts to inject drugs into the woman’s body, for her to be able to recover physical sensations, his imaginary paradise will start to crumble.

Jazmín Rada's short fantasy "La Hija,"

Fatima wants to play, but her father is too busy. She has a lot of imagination and some special balloons…


Donna Davies' "Nightmare Factory" doc about FX master Gregory Nicotero is still going strong at festivals, alongside Penny Vozniak's documentary about Jennifer Lynch and the film "Hisss," "Despite the Gods," both screening at Sitges this year. There's some new talent emerging as well:

Valerie Veatch co-directed a short doc about Britney-Spears-Fan Chris Crocker, and the impact he had on the virtual world, called "Me @ The Zoo,"

News News News: Emily Hagins, Kate Chaplin, Deanne Foley, Jen & Sylvia Soska, Jessi Gotta, and More

Check out this Fangoria Interview with Emily Hagins about the new DVD release of her teen comedy/horror "My Sucky Teen Romance". Emily says things like,

I love the awkwardness of that age, and I think there’s a lot of humor there that’s often glossed over in some mainstream movies and TV shows when they’re caught up in an unrealistically heightened sense of drama. I hope the teen experience in this film can be relatable through its awkwardness and humor, and that the kids feel like real kids.

Kate Chaplin was on The Best Ever You radio show discussing her new sci-fi flick "Ingenue".  You can listen here:

Hannah Neurotica, of Women in Horror Month, and Tammy Dwyer were interviewed for the New Hampshire Sentinel Source about their short 48-HourFilm Festival short, "The Water's Fine."

Eat Sleep Live Film's David Hall interviewed Ailsa and Cat Scott and  Jen Moss of Not So Lovely Films – the team responsible for the new horror "My Brother's Keeper," in which Moss describes their newest film:

For this one, the initial idea came from my relationship with my younger brother. I love him and would do anything for him but, my God, when we were teenagers he had the ability to wind me up like no other human being before or since. I liked the idea of being stuck at the end of the world with a family member that, though you love, you ultimately cannot stand spending extended periods of time with.

The Somerville Scout gave us a shout-out for the Etheria Film Festival happening TOMORROW Sept 15th, 2012, in Boston MA!

RogueCinema interviewed Jessi Gotta about her new short horror film "The Anniversary Dinner" and her other work, including "The Big Bad." She reveals,

I had no idea why or how I thought that was a good idea for my first time. It is extraordinarily tricky to direct and act in your own work. I will say this, we planned it out the best we could, and we shot me out in one day, so that I could be behind the camera for the rest of the shoot.

Meg Pinsonneault's fantasy thriller short "Feast of the Foolish" was reviewed by Videoviews.

Jen and Sylvia Soska discussed their horror film "American Mary" with Dr Karen Oughton at a special screening in London at Film4 FrightFest 2012:

And speaking of the twins, check out the covers of The Hollywood Reporter at TIFF and Haunted Magazine, featuring them and their flick!

Last, check out Deanne Foley's action movie "Beat Down" in The Herald – is that some Canadian thing? – and listen to her on CBC.ca's Mainstreet Prince Edward Island radio show right here. 



Grimm Up North: 'The Raven', 'Zombies, Run!', 'American Mary', 'My Brother's Keeper'

The Grimm Up North UK horror film festival, October 4th through 7th 2012, is screening horror directed by women.

Jenny Longworth's "The Raven", described by the festival as "The Bastard Love Child Of… Edgar Allen Poe and Alan Clarke : An abused woman finds emotional strength in Poe’s classic poem…

Emily Tibbatts'  French short "Zombies, Run!" is "The Bastard Love Child Of… DAY OF THE DEAD and OFFICE SPACE," apparently: A man and a woman find themselves trapped in the office, as the whole world turns zombie. Can they escape from the building, and from their flesh-eating former workmates?

Watch the "making of" Tibbatts' short, en Francais:

In addition, Jen and Sylvia Soska's "American Mary" and Jen Moss's short "My Brother's Keeper" are selections, just as they were with London Frightfest.