To celebrate Women in Horror Month, I have highlighted a different undersung character or characters each day this month.
But today I wanted to do something different, and talk about celebrating women who love and create horror media period.
A lot of the horror I love has a “BUT” attached to it when I think about it:
“I love The Shining, BUT I hate how Shelley Duvall was treated.”
“I love what Buffy: The Vampire Slayer meant to me, BUT I hate how Joss Whedon treated his cast.”
“I love slasher movies, BUT I wish there were more final girls who weren’t white, straighter, and cisgender…”
“I love seeing diverse, well-written characters in horror, BUT for some reason we are still fighting to see non-white and/or non-male creators get work and big studio backing.”
“I love that Blumhouse gave a major horror film remake to two women, BUT I hate that they were only given about nine months to make it.”
What excites me is the idea of those “buts” slowly disappearing from my vocabulary when describing horror. And I imagining that will be because of all the amazing creators who are starting to influence the genre, and give it fresh perspective and air to continue to grow and expand.
I want to thank all the women who love this genre for sticking with it. This is a genre that wasn’t necessarily made for or by us (though Mary Shelley is quite the incredible early influence), but has slowly started to be made for and by us over time due to our love for it.
Although genre tropes like the final girl were created out of what most people (fairly) critique as sexist reasons, over time the genre has continued to focus on women while continuing to evolve on how women are presented and portrayed.
We need to keep pushing for and uplifting undersung voices in the genre. I know it is tedious to mention once again how impactful Get Out is, but it’s the most high-profile example of how amazing it can be to explore Own Voices takes on the genre. Bit shows that you can have a trans final girl in a queer Lost Boys-esque vampire flick anyone could gobble up and enjoy. And yes, I appreciate the irony that I’m referencing two films written and directed by men, but the point I’m trying to make is these films and creators are helping to break down barriers so we can continue to diversify the genre from the inside out. This post isn’t meant to bash the amazing contributions men have made to the genre, but instead to suggest there’s room for everyone to tell their stories in horror.
The genre we love can put its foot in its mouth an awful lot, but it can also be a delightful, creative, and wonderful place to explore our societal fears and anxieties in an incredibly cathartic way. Imagine the amazing stories people can tell if given the chance to offer a different perspective or background. Films made for and by people from all walks of life for both themselves AND for viewers from all walks of life.
Hats off to all the women in horror, but especially BIPOC, queer, and/or trans women. These creators have made the genre a little more open and a little less lonely for us all by knocking those gates down day by day.
And not to play favorites after my cheesy “the undersung woman in horror today is the one reading this post!” post, but here are a few horror content creators & their Twitter handles that I’ve been particularly enamored with in no particular order:
Tananarive Due @TananariveDue – I love how she makes looking at horror movies with an academic lens seem easy and delightful. Her insights on the history of Black horror are wonderful, and I love her obvious love of the genre matched with a strength to not shy away from critique where it is needed.
Ivotres Littles @HMoviesBeyond – One of the most positive, enthusiastic forces in the horror community. She truly makes me feel like I belong in the horror commentary.
Black Final Girl 101 @AshleeTakesNote – Smart writing and commentary. Yet another beacon of making critical thought and analysis palatable for the everyday person.
Real Queen of Horror @LovelyZena – Her Twitter bio really sums it up: “Your Best Friend Who Loves Horror.” Her Youtube videos are hilarious and informative – she almost always mentions a movie I have to add to my neverending list.
Horr @Horr_Channel – This is a newer horror channel with some great content and some extremely clever bonus content going on in each video. Check this one out now so you can say you liked it before it was cool.
GTS Podcast @GirlThatsScary – I’ve been inhaling podcasts at a startling rate in the past few months, and this is one of my new favorites for Kat and Jazz’s hilarious and unfiltered commentary. Their love of the genre is absolutely contagious.