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.

What was the first horror film you saw in the theater?

The first horror film I ever saw at a theater was The Blair Witch Project. I was finally old enough to see a rated R movie and initially everyone thought that the people in the film really were missing and or dead so hype surrounding the film was at an all time high. I remember leaving the theater feeling absolutely terrified. Great movie. Fun fact: The Blair Witch Project was filmed in Burkittsville a small town in my home state of Maryland!

How did you get the gig for the popular genre news site, Daily Dead?

I was on Twitter looking for horror movie news and stumbled upon Daily Dead's Twitter page. The staff seemed very knowledgeable. I mean they were referencing some DEEP cuts like Phantasm and Curtains, so I started following them. A few months later, I saw that they were looking to expand the company and hire more writers, so I took a chance and applied for a position.

Before working with Daily Dead, I didn't have much of an outlet to discuss horror movies. Not many of my friends at the time had an interest in stuff like that, so I was very happy when I found out that Jonathan (the Editor-in-Chief of Daily Dead) decided to take a chance on me.

What has been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer and what’s helped you hone the craft in order to continue?

What are these "challenges" that you speak of? I am perfect. I don't find anything to be challenging. No, no, I am only kidding. The biggest challenge I've had to face as a writer is working on getting out of my head. I have a tendency to overthink things and my best writing happens when I let go and relax a little bit.

You’ve mentioned being really young and riveted by Puppet Master on television in your home as a part of the reason you fear dolls. Are you a fan of Full Moon features or any other movies using this theme? What’s a recent “deadly doll” film you’ve seen that you enjoyed?

Oh, yes, Full Moon Features! The Gingerdead Man is a lot of fun. A gingerbread man that kills people? I'm sold on it! I am genuinely afraid of dolls, so I try to avoid movies about them, but I really enjoyed James Wan's Dead Silence.

Since Hausu is one of your favorite foreign horror films, how would you describe it to someone to get them interested in watching it?

I would say that Hausu is not your typical horror movie, it is a slasher comedy on a heavy acid trip. I don't want to say too much but at some stage in the film severed fingers attached to strings come down from the ceiling and play the piano. It is a wonderful experience, and I hope that people check it out.

As far as your love for foreign horror stretches, do you feel American remakes are a good gateway into interest in the original films. Why or why not?

I think that American remakes can be a good introduction to the original films, but it depends on whether or not the remake is any good. Let Me In was an exceptional film and did a really great job of maintaining the overall concept of Let the Right One In but sometimes I do worry that if the film is REALLY bad that it will turn a potential audience off of the title all together.

Horror films do not have a strongest history of giving women of color the main roles. Have you ever wanted to see more characters who look like you in bigger roles in the genre? Tell us who your dream character in this context.

I definitely want to see more Black, female characters in bigger roles in horror. You know, it is interesting that the whole #OscarsSoWhite conversation is coming up again because I think that we as a society need to have these types of discussions. I don't think that the problem starts with the Academy. The voting committee has its issues, but I think the problem starts with the lack of opportunities for people of color across the board and that is beyond frustrating.

My dream character is a mix between Selena from 28 Days Later, Ramona from American Horror Story: Hotel, Jeryline from Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, and Dana Scully from The X-Files.

She is extremely intelligent, loving, well-rounded, and bad ass! 

Follow Tamika on Twitter (@mikachuisfine)   
Read Tamika's Daily Dead articles here.

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