Thursday, July 31, 2014

Women of Color & Horror/Sci-Fi Cosplay

One of the most popular parts of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror conventions is the cosplay competition. People from all over the world create their own costumes from their favorite characters to compete for prizes, money, and sometimes just for the recognition. It’s like being a big kid, with a bunch of other big kids! For any black girl nerd who ever considered cosplay, the issues arrive when considering who to dress up as. Many women of color do in fact cosplay, but end up portraying the “black version” of superheroes, anime, and video game characters.

Many blacks also receive a lot of racist backlash for dressing up as characters that are white or Asian. Racism should never stop anyone from the joys of partaking in the cosplay festivities. Cosplay is for all walks of nerd life. However, for the black girl cosplayers, future cosplayers, or just Halloween party goers, I have brainstormed women of color to be considered as costume ideas from sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and comic books. Women of color would enjoy seeing more diversity in these fun filled competitions.

Queen Akasha- Queen of the Damned

If the idea and look you’re going for is a blood sucking vampire, Queen Akasha is your girl! She has an ancient and unique look of royalty to match her royal personality.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Am Nancy (2011) Review

Actress Heather Langenkamp and I at Monster Mania in Hunt Valley, MD in 2012.
If we look like BFF's, it's because of Heather's warm heart.

The fact that there are still references to A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) and Freddy Krueger on The Daily Show, in music videos, and television sitcoms is simply pure testimony to the power that horror icons have in popular culture. Freddy in particular has worn so many hats, on the spectrum from jester to the most organic form of evil that has made him such a likable and memorable character. He's a chameleon. And his victims dreams have allowed him to stretch his creativity into images that both resonate and stick with his audience.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Women in Blaxploitation Horror, Redux

Try as I might, I cannot seem to muster a thoughtful piece on every, single blaxploitation horror film. I thought I could to a large extent, but that goal was pretty unrealistic and I had been trying to hold myself to a standard that was just out of orbit for any human being. So what do I do with these other films? I would recommend them only for some considerate discourse on gender representation, not because they were particularly good in my opinion. Harry Benshoff argues that some blaxploitation horror films "tend to uphold male-dominated (hetero)sexuality and participation in the genre's usual demonization of women and nonpatriarchal sexualities." With good reason.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blaxploitation Horror Films: Backlash & Concerns

Blacula (1972) is the easiest example to draw from and one Benshoff uses throughout his article. Once an African prince, Mamuwalde makes a case for the eradication of the slave trade with Count Dracula in the 1700's. At the Count's refusal, a bitter combat ensues and Mamuwalde is transformed into 'Blacula', cursed for eternity. Blacula is both monstrous and a solemn victim of institutionalized practices that work against African people, 'enslaved' by a 'curse' that could be interpreted as a loss of racial identity and pride for the likeness of the oppressor.
What is blaxploitation horror?

"...a horror film made in the early 1970s that had some degree of African American input, not necessarily through the director but perhaps through a screenwriter, producer, and/or even an actor" that explored "race and race consciousness as core structuring principles." Additionally, these films looked at "how the concept of African American agency historically negotiated the generic structure of the horror film during the years of the blaxploitation film craze" between 1969 and 1976.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

VHS Memories: Hellraiser (1987)

I first approached Hellraiser with amusement, not fear. Who was this hysterical woman being held captive by these mythical creatures? Not quite monsters, one donning pins on his noggin. Angels to some, demons to others. And what about this box?


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kasi Lemmons: Buried Hollywood Treasure

As a film student in 2005 studying filmmaking, part of my journey to completing a senior thesis was discovering the awesomeness that is Kasi Lemmons. I wanted to find an obscure director in Hollywood that I could grow and learn from during this academic endeavor, gaining an understanding what it is to become a great director. In my class, many students opted to use such subjects as Hitchcock, Spielberg, Fellini, and Scorsese who are practically clich├ęs in the film community. I scoff at film students studying these renowned content creators whose body of work is etched in every issue of Variety magazine and plastered on the walls of old movie theaters everywhere. It screams to me that you’re not even trying when you elect to choose a filmmaker to write a project about who is such a significant part of pop culture, that they are also featured as a ride in Universal Studios.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

#SciFiSunday: Afrofuturism

"I'm an alien from outer space... I'm a cybergirl without a face a heart or a mind..."
Janelle Monae, "Violent Stars, Happy Hunting"

One of the catchiest songs I'd heard in a very long while,  Janelle Monae's "Violent Stars, Happy Hunting" was in a genre of its own. It seemed that we were on the verge of assaulting popular consensus of Black womanhood, no matter who was ready. Metropolis: Suite 1 (The Chase) was Monae's definitive break into a wider audience. I heard a few of her lesser known singles as straight R&B/Pop prior to how we know her now. Her melodic patterns, layered lyrics, and forward imagery has kept me on board. Monae represents an offshoot of my own personal affinities which made her personae oddly familiar.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Black Women in Horror: Short Film, Patty Cake

Written and directed by University of Michigan alum and writer on the former ABC series Detroit 1-8-7 Phonz Williams, Patty Cake is an eerie three minutes full of tension when Patty and her mother (Tiffany Snow and Tyler Lewis) can't seem to see eye to eye.


It's a solid short but suffers from pacing due to its time limit.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Tale of Two Rosemary's

Rosemary's Baby is a bestselling horror novel that sparked a movie and a modern day mini-series. The story revolves around Rosemary Woodhouse and her husband Guy Woodhouse. Rosemary thinks life for them is headed in the right direction when she becomes pregnant and her husband's career takes off, but in actuality it is the beginning of a nightmare. She experiences a rough pregnancy, and her husband becomes distant, not to mention she starts to become suspicious of her overly friendly neighbors. Unbeknownst to Rosemary, her husband decided to sacrifice his family for a successful career and collaborated with their new neighbors.  Rosemary is overtaken by paranoia and eventually discovers a plot against her formed by witches to sacrifice her baby. This story takes us on a psychological thrill, filled with hallucinations, witchcraft, and suspense. Rosemary’s Baby takes the joys and excitement of becoming pregnant and twists it into a disturbing and frightening experience.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

New Web Series, MisSpelled Casts More Than Magic For Women of Color in Horror

Ever since The Craft (1996) gave us Rochelle, I think many young brown ladies who used the film as the staple, go-to for sleepovers hoped for more characters like her. Unfortunately, not much enhancement or regression has occurred in seeing Black female characters on screen using the dark arts for their will. The exception of American Horror Story: Coven's Queenie and even Marie Laveau has been cautiously entertaining at best and disarmingly stereotypical at worst.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

5 Questions with Praxilla of Sicyon

Praxilla of Sicyon is a New York City based gothic horror photographer, screenwriter, and book/film/music reviewer for online publications such as The Offering: Heavy Metal. Her eclectic artistry delves into and is inspired by classic horror, metal music, and African cultures. Both of her screenplays for two horror shorts, Stranger and Coma were directed by Jeremiah Kipp and star Lydia Darly from Exorcist: The Beginning.

Praxilla is forward, forging an ideology that offers a brave future for women of color in the horror industry. With a mission that asserts to "breathe new life into horror," we were more than happy to sit down and discuss the importance of her presence in this genre.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig