Monday, February 13, 2012

THE ABC's OF WOMEN IN HORROR: I 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: I


In 2010, horror fans bid a farewell to the undisputed queen of Hammer Horror, Ingrid Pitt.  The 1960s and 1970s presented a cornucopia of genre love from just about every angle of the spectrum, and Ingrid Pitt reigned supreme as our queen.  A survivor of the concentration camps of the Holocaust, Ingrid Pitt was a member of the Berliner Ensemble (lead by the legendary Bertolt Brecht's widow).  It was when she became involved with Hammer productions that the Polish beauty skyrocketed to cult status.  She got her first big break playingMarcilla, Carmilla, and Mircalla Karnstei in The Vampire Lovers.  The following year, Ingrid performed in her most well known role, the title character in Countess Dracula.  A true icon, Ingrid Pitt is a staple in horror history.


The film for which this very blog gets its name, I Spit On Your Grave is a bit of an enigma.  Much like The Descent, there are those that argue the film is or isn't "feminist".  Now, I can see both sides to the coin, but I am not drawn to this film whether it is or is not a feminist film.  When the film was created, it was a time that didn't have as many "politically correct" and taboo subjects constantly buzzing around. Many view the infamous rape scene as exploitative, but I find it necessary if only to serve as an example for the true terror of humanity and expose the dirty little secret society brushes under the rug.  Despite all of the turmoil the main character, Jennifer manages to overcome the terror and seek her own revenge.  Now, I find it empowering to see a woman that doesn't allow such a treacherous act destroy her.  Her revenge is what puts critics at odds in determining the feminist nature of the film, but I find it to be a quite modern view of female power.  Not only does she enact her revenge, but she uses her birth-given assets as a woman to her advantage in order to do so.  Hate me if you want, this movie changed my life.

Ida Lupino may not have an extensive horror film resume (I consider her film The Hitch-Hiker to be a thriller noir), but her contributions to the film world cannot be ignored.  An English-born film actress and director, Ida Lupino was a pioneer among women filmmakers. In her 48-year career, she appeared in 59 films and directed seven others.  She appeared in serial television programs 58 times and directed 50 other episodes. Additionally, she contributed as a writer to five films and four TV episodes.  Considering she was doing all of this during a time when women were expected to have hot dinner ready on the table for their husbands and holding a job outside of child bearing or menial task work was out of this world.  Her first directing job came unexpectedly in 1949 when Elmer Clifton suffered a mild heart attack and could not finish Not Wanted. Lupino stepped in to finish the film and went on to direct her own projects, becoming Hollywood's only female film director of the time. She directed films geared towards "women's issues" and was also the first woman to ever to direct a film noir.  Ida Lupino truly paved the way for female directors of all genre.



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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