Honorable mention to Little Monsters, premiering at Sundance 2019.

A swell of well drawn, whole, and complicated Black female characters in widely accessible horror cinema has been the charge of Graveyard Shift Sisters since the beginning. With a firmly established celebration of the past, it is now thankfully a time where we can look towards a future of care and visibility for fresh, new images that'll have us talking for decades to come. There are shorts and features, both independent and mainstream that are making an 2019 appearance to celebrate and support. Here are a few that will prosper the discussion and scholarship surrounding the black women's horror aesthetic.


You’re invited to play for your life! 

In the Philly area? Escape Room hits theaters on January 4th, but I have passes for you to an exclusive advance screening on Wednesday,  December 19th at United Artists, King of Prussia.


I love a good conspiracy. A cabal. One that constantly keeps me guessing. A shimmer of light as a sleek car pulls into a driveway, punctuated by the exotic plantlife that subtlly adds to the ostentatiousness. A sneaky text bubble appearing where a beautiful woman mentions Blue Eclipse, a name by Any Major City, USA's well congregated nightspot, gives the mood of coolness, flesh, and an urge to hunt. Each image morsel accompanying this inquiry are obscured to alert that this is more than frienly, girlfriend banter. And these are just a few of the unnerving thoughts I'm having mere seconds into who knows what, as I'm all too eager to unpack the crescendo of bubbles that appear on the screen as more women play a sinister, competitive game of... we don't really know. But it reeks of conspiratorial madness!


There has been steady momentum for the visibility of women in the horror community for well over ten years. Since the birth of Women in Horror Month, not only are there grassroots efforts motivated to make the invisible visible by showcasing women creatives within the horror genre, but additional academic studies and major media outlets have brought this movement to prominence. However, storytelling and discourse regarding the convergence of race and gender in this space has been heavily unexplored.


As an 80's baby, the decade's teen culture has had an intellectual grasp on me for quite sometime. In regards to horror films, the biggest cash grab during this period, the slasher film, helped teenagers come to terms with their visceral and latent anxieties. I’ve read some amazing positions on the sub-genre, but I don’t think I’ve ever come across a position as radical as Freddy Krueger as a protective figure.

L.J. DeGraffenreid's “What Can You Do in Your Dreams? Slasher Cinema as Youth Empowerment,” opens by stating that the A Nightmare On Elm Street films are about more than a psychotic killer murdering teenagers and Final Girls. Creator and director Wes Craven composed his original film to speak on “the generally troubled relationship between parents and their rebellious offspring” (954). For those of us who know the films or at least has seen two of them can recall adult authority figures as dismissive, commanding, and even abusive.


There isn't a figurative wall Stephanie Jeter visions her work blocked by. All parts fantasy, comedy, drama, sci-fi, thriller, horror, and beyond, this Chicago creative never misses an opportunity to balance her time leading production for Open TV, working behind the scenes on Showtime's Shameless, binging The Leftovers, and writing/directing eerie and reflective cinema.

The atmosphere for Jeter's directorial debut, Searching For Isabelle began as a string of thoughts on the lack of coverage on the alarming number of women of color who go missing. By using the very media that underserves this fact, Jeter created factual fiction by shifting the narrative to an autonomous protagonist who has a direct, special ability to flash focus on this issue. With all of her research, including spending time with two Chicago PD detectives who work on missing persons cases in minority communities, Searching For Isabelle ends up being a frightening and holistic snapshot of a real deal.


The Ax Wound Film Festival continues to foster a community for fans and female-identified filmmakers in the horror genre. Now in its fourth year running, the event begins on Friday evening, November 9th and all-day Saturday, November 10th 2018 at the Hooker-Dunham Theater & Gallery in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont. Recently named one of MovieMaker magazine’s 30 Bloody Best Genre Fests in the World, Ax Wound Film Festival’s expanding mission includes becoming a space that promises opportunities for professional connections amongst all filmmakers and creatives in order to shatter the glass ceiling of gender inequality in the film industry, starting with each other.


With the news of a serial killer still at large in a rapidly changing Brooklyn neighborhood, three millennials spend an evening trying to figure out the killer's pattern: if it has anything to do with those changes, and if they're next.

Written & Directed by Xavier Coleman


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