It's "Women in Horror Recognition Month" this month, and the question arises-"Are women treated equally in the genre?". From the film making angle, I really can't say, because, while I may know a little more than a layperson, I'm still pretty ignorant of the process involved. I think I might be able to safely assume, that when it comes to major studio funding, a green-light probably comes on a lot less for the fairer sex. Otherwise, you'd see a LOT more big budget fright flicks directed by women, because, when you watch the amount of low/no/modest budget indie flicks that I do, you see that women directors are pretty prevalent, and very talented as well, so they're there.
For the most part, my perspective is a fan's and reviewer's, so I find it kind of off putting the way some women working in our beloved genre are treated in the many blogs and social media outlets dedicated to the love of fear.
Now, first, let me be transparent-I love women, I often bitch about director's teasing us with the "possibility of nudity" and then not delivering, I'm very flippant in my reviews when discussing nudity (or the lack thereof), and I'm a sucker for: a pretty face, amazing breasts, and a killer backside (I've stated publicly, many times, that Tiffany Shepis has the best ass in the history of the horror film, seriously, it could probably literally hold up the Acropolis, since viewing Brian William's "Time To Kill" there's definitely some competition on the horizon, but yeah, Ms. Shepis is the benchmark.). But (no pun intended), do I limit my critique or assessment (again, no pun intended) of an actress' skills based on her looks? Absolutely not! And I think is where the indie horror world fails a lot of females.
I recently did an interview with three ladies (Jen & Sylvia Soska, and my dear friend, Jessica Cameron), all doing amazing work in the genre, and this subject came up. Also, I was recently the target of an anonymous email attack, chastising me for continuing the NerdRemix Horror Hottie of the Month series.
Now, from an outsider's perspective, this attitude towards women that prevails probably wouldn't be much of a surprise. Consider just one, almost universally beloved, sub-genre of horror: the 80's "Slasher" films--lots of fun, but when you boil a lot of them down, they're misogynistic maniacs slicing and dicing co-eds while their doofus boyfriends meet almost accidental (and drolly executed) ends. Sorry guys, Jason, the ultimate "mama's boy", was terrified of vagina!! Seriously, he killed anything that had, or had recently been inside, a vagina. But, in interacting with fans and film people at conventions, via social media, etc. I've found most of them to be pretty progressive thinking individuals. So it irritates me when I continually see things like "decent flick for a chick" or "she has to post pictures of her dressed like a whore to get attention" and the ever popular "she showed her tits in _____ so she's not entitled to an opinion".
I'm even semi-guilty of this, I made a comment in my review of Jessica's "Truth or Dare" along the lines of, "how can this sweet looking girl make such a violent film". But I never suggested that her gender could somehow prohibit her from making a decent film. Many people do, and that's a problem. Jessica also deals with a lot of backlash for speaking her mind and calling out the shadier elements of the industry, I've seen her referred to as "moody bitch", "feminist bully", and, my personal favorite, "mega-cunt", would a guy get the same treatment? I think not.
And the Soskas, I've seen larger, widely read blogs, that bemoan the fact that they're attractive young women who dress like attractive young women have every right to, so this somehow cheapens the quality work they've done thus far. Just what the righteous fuck does their clothes and curves have to do with what they do behind the camera? Please explain! Frankly, I like looking at Jen & Sylvia, if they're using their looks to market what they do, then good on them! If one random dude sees a photo of them, likes what he sees, and rents/buys a copy of "American Mary" out of curiosity, then-mission accomplished!! And, also, fuck that!! Nobody is telling Norman Reedus to look even more greasy than he already does (seriously ladies, what's the fucking deal? 'Cause you all know if you saw Daryl Dixon on the street, you'd be like "ewwwwwww! who's the smelly hill-jack?") because it somehow de-legitimizes "The Walking Dead"! Grow up, some chicks are hot, and they have actual functioning brains, and they make cool shit-deal or move the fuck on.
Bottom line-there's strong females like Jessica, Jen, Sylvia and Tara Cardinal to name but a few, working in the horror realm. They have goals, vision, drive AND killer looks. And they're here to stay (step up your game guys!!), And while I'm not a huge fan of "See No Evil", I'm interested to see the sequel that the Soskas directed (if for nothing else than Danielle Harris), and if they post a picture on Facebook of them wearing nothing but strategically placed peanut butter while molesting Grimace in a McDonald's lobby, then more power to 'em--I'm still checking it out.