Saturday, February 27, 2016

Women in Horror Month 2016 Special: Etheria Toronto – Women Behind The Scenes in Genre TV & Film

This February, we celebrate Women in Horror Month with the Etheria Film Night in cities across North America. It’s a night where women who direct, write, produce and work behind the scenes in genre film are singled out so the people who love genre film can become familiar with their work. 2016 boasted the first Canadian event in Toronto on February 20th, 2016, where this annual showcase screened some great shorts directed by women and we heard from some of them about their craft.

Etheria Toronto was hosted by the voices behind The Faculty of Horror: Andrea Subissati and Alexandra West, two women in horror that definitely deserve the title. As well as hosting the popular podcast, they’ve written about horror extensively, both in academia and popular media. You can find more about them at, with past podcasts, bios and great information on all things horror.

The night kicked off with screenings of five horror shorts:


Friday, February 26, 2016

Perspectives: Black Women Horror Fans

I'm over 40, so horror movies have meant different things to me over the years. In my early teen years, horror novels were a great way to encounter subjects that were forbidden –men and women with questionable morals, sex, human and supernatural monsters. While my grandparents were hesitant to let me watch The Facts of Life (because of the title), they didn't pay any attention to what I was reading. When the reins loosened in my late teens, we joined West Coast Video and I started renting horror movies. That's when I really started to appreciate and wanted to emulate the Final Girl—they broke all of the rules, faced danger and lived to tell. They didn't wait on a boyfriend or the church to save them. Even better than the Final Girl were movies where a black woman was the villain.

I wanted to be as powerful as Marsha Hunt in Howling 2 or Grace Jones in Vamp. By college, I turned a more critical eye to the horror genre. I still found a lot of things to love, but I became more conscious of what I was looking at and what messages I was seeing/internalizing. These days, I prefer more fun horror --I own the Gingerdead Man trilogy. I still probably over analyze horror movies--especially the ones I like. I didn't face zombies or homicidal maniacs but I feel like the old school Final Girls did inspire me to go my own way.

-Tawanna Sullivan (@tpsulli)

I've been a horror fan all my life. As a kid, I remember my friends and I telling each other scary stories in the dark. My family was good for jumping out of shadows and scaring each other so it's in my blood. Going to the library and checking out books on the paranormal was another way to get my horror fix. As an adult, I think 60% of my personal library is made up of horror fiction and every October, I try to read ALL horror to celebrate Halloween.

Whenever I'm on Netflix ,Amazon or Hulu the horror section is the first area I check. Horror, for me, is an escape from everyday life. And a release from boredom or stress. There's no feeling like sitting in the dark-eyes wide, heart pounding loudly, in suspense of what happens next (and that's with good movies) With bad horror movies, it's still fun to laugh at dumb decisions characters make. When I hear people say they don't watch or like horror, I'm perplexed. I mean I can't imagine a life without horror be it film or the written word.

-Sharon Leggett (@CatladyShazza)

For me, horror movies are comforting, as weird as that may sound. When I was a kid, my aunt used to babysit me and my little brother. She had so many vhs tapes that she would let us choose what to watch to keep us out of her hair. Her movie collection included horror films like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Chucky movies; so of course those are what we chose to watch. Ever since then, I've been a big fan of horror films. They take me back to my childhood and watching horror movies in my aunt's living room with my little brother. Now that I'm older, I'm so thankful for communities like Twitter that bring me in contact with fellow black girl horror fans. The live tweets and discussions have made my love for horror films grow even more.

-Jessica (@InHollywoodland)

A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser and Shocker were some the movies I watched as a kid that would solidify my love of horror movies. And looking back, while I should have never seen them because I was an impressionable child, I can't help but think that I would have found a way to regardless of the rating or parent's concerns. I, as a child of the 90's, had no business watching the forbidden, but watch it I did and several times over.

See, horror movies allowed me to be transported to a world I might not ever experience but that definitely sparked my interest. Even now, when asked why I love horror movies, I sometimes can't give a definite answer. Then there are the days where I can rattle a thousand and one reasons as to why I love horror movies. I can tell you that I love watching the protagonist's anxiety escalate right before they turn a corner. I love the "gotcha" moment when the unsuspecting victim finally comes across a surreal situation that tests their sanity. Lastly I love it when the hero overcomes his greatest obstacle whether it comes in the form of another character, the villain or even himself.

Horror movies, be they good, bad or other, will always be intoxicating to me because they force me to place myself in a wholly different headspace than the one I live day to day. And, plus, who doesn't like a little rush of adrenaline while waiting for the unexpected to jump out? I know I do.

-Marsha (@PanaNegra)

I became enamored with horror when I was around preschool age. My mother and I lived in an apartment building, 4-stories tall, at the very top. Right next to us was a cemetery, with only a fence separating the two lots. The local kids and I used to play “the Whisper Game” in the cemetery, where we would whisper questions into the headstones and place our ears on them for a response.

From then on it was Night of the Living Dead (1968), Child’s Play, Nightmare on Elm Street, Return of the Living Dead, Poltergeist, The Exorcist, and so on. I was hooked on horror movies and books. My favorite books in elementary school were Goosebumps, Monster Mama, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Horror has been apart of my life since the beginning and probably has fueled my imagination since. To this day, I’m always on the hunt for a horror movie I haven’t seen and make any holiday or weekend “Horror Movie___” where I binge horror movies. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I like to be scary. I am a fangirl of The Walking Dead, Sleepy Hollow and Hannibal. My next goal is to subscribe to HorrorBlock.

-Alisa (@Noneypoo)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Black Women Horror Writers: Interview with Linda Addison

I’m always on the lookout for great writing to fill my to-read shelves. Whenever I come across another Black woman author and her dark fiction, I rejoice. Once I’ve read her work—and sometimes before—I reach out to make contact and to add her to my social networks. But even though our numbers are growing, it’s important for horror authors of color to boost the signal for each other, best achieved by reading and reviewing each other’s work.

This time, I’m featuring the work of poet and author Linda D. Addison. She is also the first Black woman to win the Horror Writer’s Association’s Bram Stoker Award® for excellence in horror. And it is well deserved. I read Addison’s How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend, a collection of poetry and prose.

Mastery of the poetic form is something that has eluded me, even in my school years. Addison’s poetry is somehow simultaneously visceral and melodic. Her command of meter is ideal for dark poetry and the resulting work is a dimly lit path you feel compelled to follow. Lulled by the seductive syntax of the verse, it is only at the end of the poem that you realize the character you’ve been following has come to grief.

Addison’s short stories are varied in their scope. Some combine a subtle horror with conjure magic that reminds me of my own childhood. Other stories fuse science fiction elements into the horror for a tale that feels shockingly like a premonition of the not-so distant future. If I can recommend a book, it would be How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend. Read it all at once, or read it in sections, taking time to digest each tale. Just make sure you read it.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Interview With Macabre Make-Up Artist, Somica Spratley

A visual makeup artist with dark, alluring fantastical appeal, Somica Spratley is on the path of being one of the makeup arts most standout legends. As Birmingham, Alabama's Birmingfamous, Somica's resume cuts through film and print from The Hospital (2013) to Prysm Magazine's "For The Love of Horror". The optics of seeing a Black woman create her own rendition of Elvira or Trick 'r Treat's Sam is astounding. I imagine there isn't a groundswell of women of color pounding the pavement in the division of makeup artistry where Somica resides. It's one of the reasons why I was eager to pick her brain about her work and of course, horror in general.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

My Final Girl, The Multimedia Series

Long time readers of this blog are aware that My Final Girl was one of the first projects we were happy to sound the horn on and additionally, its lack of coverage is one significant block of the foundation in which this space was built upon. I have been privleged to get to know the vivacious mastermind, Kristina Leath-Malin since. She has argued powerfully and articulately, the necessity of preserving this history and the stories of these women in front and behind the camera, many from the mouths of the women themselves.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Interview With Horror Journalist Tamika Jones

It's really important to see women of color working in the horror industry with well-known outlets. One day while doing some idle research on one of my favorite news sites, Daily Dead (now headed by the inspirational Heather Wixson), I stumbled across the name Tamika Jones who has been a Daily Dead staffer for the past seven years. With help from the Real Queen Of Horror, we were able to sit down and talk many things horror: writing, more opportunities for women of color as well as American remakes vs. the original foreign films.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Donna Tha Dead's Horror Fandom Journey

I have always been a fan of being scared. The thrill of the unknown, heart racing anticipation. That being said, horror movies give me that feeling. The menacing figures, high pitched screams, gory effects and ominous music. I embrace it all and it all started with John Carpenter's The Thing. My mother was a huge fan of scary Universal movie monsters, Dracula being her favorite.

She loved the classic The Thing From Another World and when she heard of the remake, it was a no brainer; we were definitely going to see it. I had seen horror films before but none affected me quite like this. The effects, score and cast it all worked. A subtle mystery with a remote locale and cast. The thought that a creature could be lurking inside, without you even knowing...damn, damn, damn! Later, once we were home, my mother asked if I was okay. I think she was worried I would have nightmares but my senses were electrified with visions of MacReady and Childs.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Black Women Horror Bloggers

Blogging is known in many forms; a creative outlet, business, book foundation, news source, or all the above. When you're putting love into it, the hard work alone is rewarding, its lasting impact, astounding. In the spirit of creating a consistent brand in the most do-it-yourself way possible, having a blog means you're thinking on your toes even when you're sleeping. 

The online horror community fits right in to these sentiments. And while those engaged know where to go for their news, I'm not confident that the majority are aware that women of color are building their own body of meaningful work to add to the variety of perspectives horror has always thrived upon. Below are five older and newer Black women horror bloggers out there to cape for. 


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Writer Helen Oyeyemi's Haunting Tale Of Beauty, Horror, & Race

If you’re a woman who has ever squeezed her feet into high heels, spent a Saturday in the hot, chemically scented air of a beauty parlor, or had hot wax poured then ripped off some of her more sensitive areas, then you’ll immediately recognize the theme of Helen Oyeyemi’s novel boy, snow,bird: beauty and horror are all intertwined. The literary critic Wolfgang Kayser once described how the grotesque the images that repel and repulse us grow even more horrifying when juxtaposed with the sublime, those images we exalt. It’s no coincidence that Oyeyemi does the same.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Audre's Revenge Film Collective

Chicago-based artist Monika Estrella Negra has recently launched an exciting new film production collective with a keen focus on queer women of color accurately titled, Audre's Revenge. I couldn't possibly articulate a description of this space the way Monika already has in such a clear, direct manner. Her words echo many long held sentiments by women of color who love the horror genre and who have worked tirelessly to etch out a network for themselves and their interests:
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