Inspiring Scares (Day 23): Horror Writer/Director Lori Bowen (STELLA BUIO)

We are back with a brand new Inspiring Scares here at Slasher Studios. Today we are talking a look at the Inspired Scare of Lori Bowen, an award winning writer-director of six short films and two music videos. Her film STELLA BUIO, starring legendary Scream Queen Linnea Quigley, is currently on the festival circuit. She is currently in development on her first two features. Slasher Studios is proud to present her Inspired Scare, a favorite of the horror genre which inspires the dreams and nightmares of horror filmmakers everywhere….

“When I was a little girl, I used to have pretty bad night terrors. They were so bad that I put myself on a kind of schedule where I would wake myself every so often, every few hours or so, to avoid them. The dreams weren’t caused by horror films. In fact, horror films have created dreams for me, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

In the mid to late 80s, there really weren’t many role models for girls like me. I don’t identify with princesses. They make no sense to me. My favourite films growing up were The Explorers and D.A.R.Y.L. and The NeverEnding Story and The Goonies and The Last Starfighter, Flight of the Navigator, Enemy Mine…but, do you see the problem with those films? None of them have a girl in the lead roles. The girl always needed saving or protecting. So, while I identified with the characters, they weren’t me.

Then, when I was eight, I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street and met Nancy Thompson (played by Heather Langenkamp.) Here was a girl not that much older than me having a hell of a time with her dreams, just like me, and was an ordinary girl, just like me, and while she asked for help, no one could help her. She had to save herself. And she did.

As I grew up, I knew that I wanted to work in horror, but even so young, I knew that girls didn’t direct or write or anything like that. That’s crazy talk. So, I decided that I wanted to be an actress. My greatest dream was to work with Heather Langenkamp and be in an Elm Street movie. Even after they killed Nancy (don’t get me started on that…), I wanted to be in the Elm Street movies. The girls fought back and kicked ass!

Eventually, as I got older and opened my eyes, I realized that I’d been fed a bunch of lies and among them was that women DO write and DO direct, even in horror. And while my ideas about heroes and villains have certainly changed over the years, the core of my being, my Nancy-ness, if you will, has remained.

I view horror as a mirror for our society to look into, so we can face the ugly things about us, recognize them, and (hopefully) change for the better. It’s also a way of dealing with our fears and desires in a safe environment without anyone getting hurt. I write horror as a release, to explore and examine things that I’ve felt or thought about, to inspire others and make them think. And hey, maybe some little girl somewhere will see one of my characters and it’ll help her to stand up for herself or to know that she’s not alone. Perhaps someone watching my films or reading my stories will be inspired to tell their own tales.

Very soon after I turned ten, I had my final nightmare. It started out fairly typically, except I was in my old bedroom which was empty. My bedroom door slammed on it’s own and I started screaming as I was being sucked into the ground. I got to about chest depth when my bedroom door opened and Nancy Thompson walked in. It was Nightmare 3 Nancy, by the way, she was wearing the grey outfit that she wore when she met Kirsten for the first time.

She walked over to me and crouched near by and said, “This is your dream. You do what you want to do.” Then she stood up and left.

It was like a lightning bolt, that realization that it was my dream, my LIFE. It’s my choice. So, I repeated what she said to me and the next thing I knew, I was floating out of my floor, the door swung open, and I walked out. I haven’t had a nightmare since, but I’ve had plenty of dreams and more besides, all thanks to A Nightmare on Elm Street.”

Lori Bowen
writer, director
Kimyoo Films