Monday, February 6, 2012

THE ABC's OF WOMEN IN HORROR: D IS FOR...

To celebrate Women In Horror Recognition month, Day of the Woman is celebrating by compiling the ABC's of women in horror.  
TODAY'S PROGRAM IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE LETTER: D

Now we couldn't make this series entirely Western World now could we?  Claire Denis is not only an esteemed filmmaker, but also a woman of the world.  While noted as a French filmmaker, Claire Denis was raised in Africa but is currently a Professor of Filim at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.  While she made a name for herself in North America with her non-horror films, (Chocolat, anyone?) Claire Denis was the mastermind of Trouble Every Day, a film that has been praised for its unique take on the horror genre as well as gender roles.  



The world of horror journalism is often times viewed as a playground for fanboys with computers and basic literary skills to whine and rave about their beloved genre.  Okay, so that's not completely true, but it's been assumed for a hell of a long time that if a horror film is the topic at hand, a man is the brain behind the words.  Witness Jessica Dwyer, living, breathing, writing proof that women are just as powerful in the world of horror journalism and conventions as their male counterparts.  Ms. Dwyer is a highly respected writer for HorrorHound Magazine as well as one of the incredible minds behind the HorrorHound Weekend convention/film festivals.  To put it bluntly, Jessica Dwyer is incredible at what she does.  When she's not the Queen of all things HorrorHound, in 2004 she started her own online magazine-Fangirl Magazine. The magazine aims to act as a sanctuary for the long neglected demographic as a place to not only geek out over the things they enjoy, but to be able to do so in an environment of women of all ages from all different opinions and viewpoints.  Not only is there an e-zine for Fangirl Magazine, but also the Fangirl Radio podcast to go along with the zine.  Jessica Dwyer is a dynamo with a dvd collection and a true woman in horror. 


 
Devi Snively is one of the sweetest women I've ever had the pleasure of meeting in person.  A powerhouse filmmaker, her films have been selected to play in over 200 film festivals worldwide, garnering numerous awards and critical acclaim.  I've seen just about all of her films, and she has a distinctive feel to all of them that are all her own.  In 2007 she was selected as one of 8 participants in the American Film Institute's prestigious directing workshop for women.  Her upcoming film  Paige & Hadley’s Prom from Hell was a Sundance Screenwriters Lab Finalist.  Devi teaches a course on horror films at the University of Notre Dame and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Hollywood.

Andre Dumas is a blogger, fangirl, wine aficionado, Martha MacIsaac lookalike, and one of the most intelligent female minds in the world of horror.  When she's not training her horde of cats to fight crime or do her bidding, she's a staff editor at Planet Fury as well as the writer and editor of the incredible horror site, The Horror Digest. I've collaborated with Andre personally and not only is she smart as all get out, but she's downright hysterical. She's reviewed just about every film under the sun and gives an interesting analysis as well as honest voice to all of her articles.  She's not afraid to say "this sucks" but unlike most film critics, she will give a highly articulate and through provoking reasoning as to why the film does in fact, suck.  She's an avid supporter of all things Dario Argento and would probably let herself die by way of Landis helicopter if she had her choosing.  As long as there isn't a shark or any form of vomiting around, Andre Dumas could easily take on just about anything...and she probably has.  While most horror fans try to earn their street cred with obscure reference tattoos and stamps on their convention cards, Andre Dumas earns her horror street cred the way that real thugs do, by living and learning it.  

There aren't many horror films that critics like to toss under the "feminist horror" sub-genre, but it's been up to debate since its release in 2005 whether or not it should be accepted that The Descent is one of those films.  Now, it's been up to speculation whether or not an all-female cast automatically constitutes a feminist film (I do not believe so) but it is very important not to take away the fact of the matter: this is an all-female cast.  The film was interesting, original, and incredibly creepy...all with ass-kicking women fighting for survival rather than playing the usual "damsel in distress" archetypes that horror films set up for women.  The sequel was arguably a bit more "feminist" to the strictest definition, but the original received mostly favorable reviews topped plenty of "Best Horror of the 2000s" lists.  We could debate until we're numb in the fingertips whether or not the film is or isn't feminist, but we cannot deny the breath of fresh air that was an all female cast in a horror film...and a damn good horror film at that.  I personally highly enjoyed the film and definitely enjoyed seeing women in empowering roles, and I can only hope that more film makers take note and follow suit.




Obviously, there are PLENTY of women and films that have yet to be uncovered, but who knows...maybe they'll make an appearance under another letter.  Stay tuned to Day of the Woman for a continuation of this series and
for plenty of Women in Horror Recognition Month updates. 

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