Bloody Women traces changing gender dynamics in the horror film industry to explore how women have played a crucial role in defining the genre of horror understood as a scholarly discipline, cultural institution, and site of pleasure. While acknowledging that women in the industry face ongoing challenges, this book focuses on their diverse contributions as creators, consumers, and critics of horror, showing how women have been essential in shaping the goals and methods of the genre. Aimed at both scholarly and general readers, the chapters bring together the expertise of filmmakers, festival programmers, and scholars to argue that women have effected a reimagining of horror. To this end, the volume considers a range of historical and theoretical issues relevant to gender and the genre of horror, broadly conceived. The collection explores, for example, female-directed horror films as a distinctive enterprise, one that is potentially marked by unique cinematic techniques and topical concerns. The book also moves into a more public domain, probing how the cultural experience of horror is transformed when the genre’s major festivals and conventions are developed and directed by women. Together, these essays offer a wide-ranging investigation into the stakes of women’s growing prominence in the horror industry. Most centrally, Bloody Women analyzes how the ethics, investments, and objectives of the genre shift when women deploy horror for their own enjoyment.
Victoria McCollumis senior lecturer in cinematic arts at Ulster University.
Aislinn Clarke is lecturer in scriptwriting and film at Queen's University, Belfast.
Introduction (Victoria McCollum and Aislinn Clarke)
1. Horror’s Founding Mothers: Women in Proto-cinema, Visual Avant-gardes and the Silent Era (Erica Tortolani)
2. Women’s Filmmaking and the Male-Centred Horror Film (Alexandra Heller-Nicholas)
3. Angela Bettis: Herstory in Horror (James Francis)
4. Stitches, Screams and Female Beauty: Canadian Women Horror Film (Shelby Shukaliak, Eve O’Dea and Ernest Mathijs)
SCREENPLAY - Trim by Mayumi Yoshida
5. ‘They’ve Got Something You Haven’t. A Cock’: Exploring the Gendered Experience of Women Directors of Horror in Britain (Amy Harris)
6. At Our Table: Conceptualising the Black Woman’s Horror Film Aesthetic (Ashlee Blackwell)
SCREENPLAY – Paralysis by R. Shanea Williams
7. Women in Horror Film Festivals: Representation, Dark Storytelling and an International Community of Filmmakers (Kate R. Robertson)
8. But Are You Really into Horror: Female-Centric Horror Film Festivals, Horror Curators and Industry Champions (Anna Bogutskaya)
9. Short Sharp Shocks: An Interview with Women Who Make Horror Shorts (Brian Hauser)
SCREENPLAY – Childer by Aislinn Clarke
10. His Canon, Herself: Teaching Horror as Feminist Cinema (Dan Vena, Iris Robinson, Patrick Woodstock)
Bloody Women combines irreverence, an encyclopedic knowledge of film and the filmmaker’s craft, scholarly acuity, and a sense of humor. The contributors have buried the misogynistic stereotype of the horror genre. More than just another academic reading of pop culture, Clarke and McCollum have offered a gift to fans and a love letter to the women who shaped the genre.
Bloody Women offers a timely and critical intervention in Horror Cinema Studies, considering horror cinema made by women, horror cinema watched by women, and female representation in horror cinema. McCollum and Clarke have skillfully framed the discussion and drawn together a diverse range of authors (theorists, historians, practitioners) and topics. This is a must-read volume for scholars, students and fans alike.