Women In Horror Month: XX (2017) Review

XX is a horror anthology film featuring four stories written and directed by four different women. In the first story “The Box” it tells the story of a young boy who meets an elderly man on a train with a box, the old man shows the boy what’s inside and afterwards the boy begins to starve himself, leaving his parents worried about what happened that day. “The Birthday Party” is about a mother who is trying to throw her daughter the best costume birthday party ever, however she finds her husband dead and now has to try dispose of the body before the guests arrive. “Don’t Fall” follows four friends who go camping in the desert, but after coming across weird rock paintings the friends find themselves dealing with demonic forces. “Her Only Living Son” involves a woman who discovers her son is developing odd and disturbing behavior as he’s about to turn eighteen.

The latest anthology horror film is particularly special because it proves that women are just as capable of directing horror films as men are. The talented women at hand do just that. Each story is really well-directed, even if some of the stories aren’t exactly the best written, but they do an excellent job of bringing their vision of the story to life and how it’s presented. Like most anthology horror films, this one is a mixed bag. “The Box” (written and directed by Jovanka Vuckovic) has an extremely interesting premise and I was invested the whole time, sadly it ends with a pretty unsatisfying ending where nothing is really revealed. “The Birthday Party” (written and directed by Annie Clark) was hands-down my favorite entry. This one is definitely the least horror-filled and is instead more of a creepy black comedy. Melanie Lynskey plays the lead and she’s no stranger to playing odd characters, but Lynksey is excellent here and provides very great comedic moments with pretty minimal dialogue. The story in general is one of the better dark humor stories I’ve seen and it made me almost want to rewind this segment and watch it again. “Don’t Fall” (written and directed by Roxanne Benjamin) was the strongest of the stories in terms of being an actual horror film and really made wish it was a little longer. It offers a very creepy setting in the nighttime desert setting, and the imagery of the demon released is super well-done and creepy. The friends are pretty likable and come off as realistic in how they joke around with each other and the overall interactions. So you do care for them. Angela Trimbur proves in this segment that she is totally capable of being the main girl as opposed to always playing the slutty party animal best friend, so here’s to hoping other horror directors see what she’s capable of doing. Sadly the weakest story was Karyn Kusama’s “Her Only Living Son”. I was really looking forward to Kusama’s because I absolutely loved her previous horror films Jennifer’s Body and The Invitation. But this one just came off a very basic, predictable, and pretty boring. You can see where Kusama’s vision is at, but it just needed a stronger script, and truthfully the acting wasn’t that great. Between each story are weird stop-motion-animated segments. In general they’re really well-done and set the odd and weird mood for the film, but in all honesty, they weren’t particularly necessary other than to be fillers to extend the runtime.

XX doesn’t follow full-on horror anthology tropes, but it does a fine job of mixing it up with weird, creepy, and humorous ones. Some are better than others or end up being missed opportunities, but they’re all wonderfully directed and fit well together. Not only does it show the abilities of its female directors, but it shows the potential of under-looked actresses like Melanie Lynskey and Angela Trimbur and what they can bring to the table.

–Cody Landman

From “Disturbing” to “Mary”: Katharine Isabelle

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As fan of Katharine Isabelle and with it being Women in Horror month I thought I would take some time to talk about some of my favorite Katharine Isabelle horror films. The following list spreads through her entire career.

Disturbing Behavior – 1998

Disturbing Behavior takes us all the way back to 1998 when Katharine had a supporting role in the cult teen horror/sci-fi hit Disturbing Behavior in which she plays the sister of James Marsden.

This film follows the story of two teens played by James Marden and Katie Holmes who, after noticing some changes in their classmates at school, learn that the adults in the town have some very disturbing things planned for the teenagers in the town.

Although her role was just supporting, Katharine does play a vital role especially as the film reaches its climax. She joins forces with Marsden and Holmes to try and solve the mystery of the town.

Even from this early role she played a key role in horror and that was just the beginning.

Early Television Appearances

Katharine has also had some very memorable cameos in some of the best horror tV shows including Smallville, The X-Files and, of course, her brilliant performance as Ava in the smash CW Supernatural drama Supernatural.

In TV, she went from cameo to leading/supporting roles after having a 10 episode role in the US version of the British horror cult series Being Human.

These roles, although memorable, are just a few of the small reason why Katie belongs in the horror hall of fame.

Ginger Snaps – 2000

In 1999 Katie won the leading role alongside friend Emily Perkins in the critically praised Canadian werewolf cult classic Ginger Snaps.

Following the story of two sisters, Ginger and Bridget, who make a promise to be together forever. However, after Ginger is attacked by a strange creature one night, things change for the two and things take a rather sinister. Ginger begins to change not just as her teenage hormones start to come into play but her actions become animal like as well. Bridget has to decide to save herself or die with her sister.

Ginger Snaps had a bit of a rough start in Canada and the USA, despite the film gaining critical praise at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival. It wasn’t until the films international release that audiences began to take notice of this Canadian horror gem.

Ginger Snaps is still Katie’s bigger role to date. Ginger Snaps is something to be proud of and is one of the best and most respected horror films in the genre. The film is gaining more and more fans as the years go by.


Freddy Vs. Jason – 2003

In 2003, Katharine joined the ranks of such iconic actress as Adrienne King, Amy Steel and Heather Langenkamp when she made her slasher movie franchise debut in Freddy vs Jason. The film sees the return of two of horrors most iconic villains: Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. FvJ sees the two joining forces to take out the new generation of Elm Street teens and making nightmares a reality once again.

Katharine was originally supposed to play the lead role of Lori (which ultimately went to Dawson’s Creek star Monica Keena) but the director wanted her to take on a “more challenging” role. This lead to much conflict between Katie and the director. In the end, Katharine ended up playing the role of Lori’s best friend Gibb.

Ginger Snaps 2 & 3 – 2004

After FVJ, Katharine and co-star Emily Perkins returned to their iconic roles when Ginger Snaps returned with a series of back-to-back sequels. With Katharine playing a more supporting role in the 2004 sequel Ginger Snaps: Unleashed. Unleashed follows the story of Ginger’s sister after the events of the original. Her role is still very important, but limited, as she was guiding Bridget through the transformation.

Katharine returned as a leading role in the prequel Ginger Snaps: The Beginning. This saw the two sisters in the 18th century. It was a period piece rehash of the original in which we find out the blood line would forever be cursed with the Werewolf curse.

Although the Ginger Snaps sequels were mainly released to DVD in most countries, fans were pretty pleased with the overall films.

American Mary – 2012

It was not until the 2012 breakout hit American Mary that Katharine once again proved that she was the queen of horror. American Mary was the second film from horror directors Jen and Sylvia Soska. The film saw Katharine return to a leading role in what is now her most iconic roles since Ginger Snaps. She took on this very challenging role which earned her well deserved mainstream praise with Universal Pictures in the UK picking up the film and Anchor Bay in the USA and Canada.

After the success of American Mary, Katharine took on roles in some indie comedies such as Random Acts of Romance. It was not until 2013 that she once again returned to her horror routes in the Canadian Zombie horror (and one of my personal favorite films of hers) 13 Eerie. Following this she appeared in the 2013 home invasion thriller Torment.

Present Work

In 2014 Katharine joined forces once again with Jen and Sylvia Soska in the 2014 Horror sequel See No Evil 2 which saw her staring for the first time with another horror legend, Scream Queen Danielle Harris.

As well as a crime thriller called Primary in 2014 Katharine seems to be making her mark in the crime thriller genre as noticeably seen in the 2015 action thriller 88 which is set to make its UK debut at Glasgow Fright Fest. Most recently it was her role as Margot Verger in the NBC horror series Hannibal which got her a more mainstream reputation.

–Ross Wilcock

Women In Horror Month: The Doomed Best Friend

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In the slasher genre we have the most memorable roles that come as the Final Girl. Whether they end being someone we love, or even someone we hate, they are the ones we remember. But there are particular female characters that also play an important part in a slasher film, and that is the doomed best friend. While we have the stereotypical types (aka dumb blondes), we have characters that are extremely likable, maybe even more so than the Final Girl. What does it take to make the best friend role lovable and memorable?

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Let’s start with my personal favorite best friend character Tatum Riley from Scream. Played excellently by Rose McGowan, Tatum is the character we always want for a best friend. She has your back through everything “Billy and his penis don’t deserve you,” and is always quick to jump to your defense, even when you’re not even in the picture, “Gale: Can you tell me anything?! Tatum: Yeah, you’re a real pain in the ass! Leave Sid alone!” And can definitely provide laughs: “’I’ll send you a copy’, BAM, bitch went down. ‘I’ll send you a copy’ BAM, Sid, Super Bitch! You are so cool.” Even at Stu’s party, Tatum raises hell when she sees Gale arrive at the party knowing she upsets Sidney, and she tries to ensure Billy doesn’t show up to bother her either. Finally, she is a fighter. Despite ultimately making a pretty unfortunate decision to escape the killer, Tatum puts up a fight until the end. She literally kicks Ghostface’s ass and really gains the upper hand until she…gets stuck in her fate.

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Next we have Helen in I Know What You Did Last Summer played by Sarah Michelle Gellar. From the start we can see that Helen is a pretty damn good friend. She loves to laugh and make jokes with her best friend Julie, and then when the big accident happens, she’s there doing her best to try and comfort her. A year later when Julie is in her bitchy slump mode Helen isn’t afraid to speak up and tell Julie what’s on her mind and how Julie is treating her. She even puts herself in danger by participating in the parade and tries to save her boyfriend Barry during his attack and ultimate murder. As the same with Tatum, Helen doesn’t go down without a fight, in the long run she’s really the only character in the whole film to actually fight the killer the best she can, but fails.

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Annie Brackett played by Danielle Harris also makes it to the list of the best of the best friends. Yes, I mean Rob Zombie’s remake. As much as Nancy Loomis provided great laughs as Annie in the original film, Zombie’s depiction of Annie provides a stronger character in the end. Harris still provides the quirky humor that Loomis had in the original film, but we see an innocence to her character when things take a terrifying turn. Even when very near death, Annie does what she can to protect Laurie by trying to warn her of Michael’s presence approaching behind her, literally shouting her lungs out knowing she could easily end up killed by Michael right then and there. Zombie must have felt the love for Annie I did because he saved her and brought her back for the sequel. While Annie doesn’t get much time to shine here, she still manages to be a shoulder for Laurie when she needs one despite her own demons and having to deal with Laurie’s changed behavior.

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Finally there is the character Megan, played by Greta Gerwig in House of the Devil. If there ever was a character who gets robbed of screentime it’s Megan. We lose this excellent character much too early in the film. Prior to our lead girl going to the house, Megan is very hesitant on letting her go. But before this when feeling her best friend got screwed over, she doesn’t hesitate on getting even against the people who wronged her. When Samantha decides to go to the house, Megan insists on going with her and staying with her because she still doesn’t trust the family. Megan is essentially the voice of reason in the film. And obviously the voice of reason needs to die, unfortunately. Greta Gerwig is excellent as Megan and provides great comedic timing and plays Megan so realistically that we can think of someone in our own lives who is exactly like her.

So, when looking back at these characters, at least to me, to have a very solid best friend character that can easily make her more likable than the lead, they pretty much have to be strong people we would love to have as our own best friends. The kind that makes you laugh, always has your back, has a quick wit, think realistically in situations, calls you out on your bullshit, and is not afraid to put up a fight. These are just a few examples of great best friend characters, but there are plenty more memorable ones along with our incredibly shitty or annoying ones. And that’s what makes best friends notable characters in horror.

–Cody Landman

Women in Horror Month: Olivia Hussey (Black Christmas)

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A large quantity of slasher fans will say that 1981 was the best year for horror but I believe that 1974 is right up there with it. With the release of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, an immortal classic, some could say it’s the year that started it all. But, released the same year and sadly overlooked at the time, was Bob Clark’s Black Christmas. The film that some say laid out the groundwork for films to come later such as Halloween and Friday the 13th.

By far my favorite thing about the film is the leading lady, Jess, who breaks all the typical “final girl rules” (which, at the time, were not established) played by the beautiful Olivia Hussey. Jess is a pregnant sorority sister who is considering having an abortion. Jess sadly sometimes goes unnoticed as a headstrong final girl. She does her fair share of protecting herself from the film’s antagonist, Billy, even mistakenly killing her boyfriend in the process.

Unfortunately, Hussey did not do much horror after Black Christmas, although she played Norman Bates’ mother in Psycho IV: The Beginning. Hussey’s character of Jess could be considered the first “fighter” final girl and her performance still holds up well after four decades. I know that many of her fans, including myself, would love to see her make a return to the genre.

Author Noah Nicholas Nelson is currently in preproduction on his first horror feature which will begin shooting later this year. You can like the film on Facebook here: Delusional.

Women in Horror: Angela Baker (Sleepaway Camp series)

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Nothing makes a great horror film like a strong, powerful lady, and this genre is ripe with unbelievable female characters who fight, strike, and often kill the slashers and monsters who relentlessly pursue them. And while people may often think of the women in horror as the victims, one classic slasher franchise gave that notion a sex change operation (so to speak) and reminded us that not all ladies in horror are exactly what they seem. After all, the 80s was the decade of the slasher and no lady-killer had a higher body count than Angela Baker, the Angel of Death, in the classic “Sleepaway Camp” films.

There are plenty of things to love about these four slasher gems, and each film has its fair share of gore and surprises. But the real reason that the “Sleepaway Camp” series is a favorite amongst genre enthusiasts is the loveable, hilarious and oddly innocent nature of our female killer Angela.

The role was originated by now cult horror favorite Felissa Rose, and I think it’s fair to say that she owes her career in horror to “Sleepaway Camp.” Her performance in the original film is excellent, luring us in with her doe eyes and gaining sympathy of the audience as the story unfolds. The most impressive part of her performance is the fact that she was only in her early teens during filming – an age that is rarely seen in horror movie actresses nowadays.

In “Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers” and “Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland,” the character of Angela is played by Pamela Springsteen, who really brings it to the next level of wackiness and honesty. This may be an unpopular opinion, but “Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers” has some of the finest acting that I’ve ever seen in a horror film, lead by Springsteen as the delightful and ruthless Angela Baker. Her performance is incredibly believable, and while there are plenty of corny one-liners, they certainly don’t detract from the humanity she brings to the character…right before she chooses you for death, of course.

Which brings me to the kills. I’ve got nothing but love for Jason, Leatherface and the like, but Angela Baker definitely pulled her weight in a decade that was otherwise ruled by the men in masks (and fedoras). And the body count wasn’t the only thing that she brings to the table, but the method of execution with Angela is always surprising and it’s never pretty for the victims. Sure, she’s slashed her fair share with the knife and axe, but how about the boiling water? The kitchen cleaner? The outhouse…Angela Baker doesn’t mess around when it comes to brutal murder, that’s for damn sure, and why would we have it any other way?

There are so many amazing women in horror, and Angela Baker is no exception. There’s something to be admired about a woman who is not afraid to slash in this genre, and I couldn’t possibly recommend this series to anyone who hasn’t seen it. After all, Angela Baker is not just a woman in horror, she’s THE woman of horror!

–Hunter Johnson

Women in Horror: Stacie Ponder (Final Girl)

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When it comes to Women in Horror, I cannot think of a single blogstar extraordinaire who has left more of an impact on me than the one and only Stacie Ponder. One of the wittiest writers talking about horror today, her blog Final Girl is a tribute to anything and everything we all love about the subgenre of horror we all know and love: SLASHERS.

I’ve been following Final Girl and Stacie Ponder for a few years know (I hope that doesn’t come off as creepy as it sounds) and I truly cherish every new review or write up she contributes to the site (even if, sadly, new updates have been rare as of lately). Her biting sarcasm and all around playfully campy tone makes me giggle like no other. Not only has Ponder proven herself as an exceptional writer, she’s also a damn good filmmaker as well. Her vampire Barbie doll short film “Taste of Flesh, Taste of Fear” is a campy delight that had me hollowing with laughter. Her first feature, “Ludlow,” was a brave and complex tale that shows just what kind of power a great indie film can have.

Three years ago Ponder teamed up with the equally hilarious Heidi Honeycutt to form the most entertaining podcast currently available online: “The Scare-Ening.” Each episode is filled with witty one-liners, great celebrity guests (Bree Grant, Joe Bob Briggs, Heather Langenkamp…the list goes on and on), and some fantastic insight on what it is like to work in indie horror today. Ponder is also an extraordinary artist and her comic “Slashers 101” holds as special place in my heart as it combines her love of the genre with her love of comics. It really is something outstanding. So good that I would frame it but, how could I look at it and show it off to friends?

So let’s her it for the ubertalented Stacie Ponder! The world of horror and the world of slashers is a better place because she is a part of it.

To check out Stacie’s blog: Final Girl
To check out The Scare-Ening podcast: The Scare-Ening
Stacie’s comics and much more: Stacie Ponder Art

Women in Horror Month: Sarah Michelle Gellar

PERSONAL QUOTES

“I’m always the one who gets killed. And I want it to be really gory. Body parts all over the place. Mangled!”

“Horror films are where women can shine and have a chance to lead. They always save the day in these films.”

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I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER

Sarah Michelle Gellar was born on April 14, 1977 in New York City. Her career in horror movies began in October 17, 1997 when the hit slasher film I Know What You Did Last Summer hit theaters. The film grossed a worldwide total of $125,586,134. Sarah played the role of Helen Shivers. A beautiful girl who plans on moving to New York to become a serious actress. That night her and her friends get into a car accident. Hitting a man who is standing in the middle of the road on the 4th of July. She agrees to dump the body into the sea. At first, she disagrees of dumping the remains, but later agrees because she is afraid of losing her trip to New York. One year after the incident, Helen’s trip to New York failed, thus she had no choice but to work for her sister’s department store. The friends begin to receive threats and start to wonder if the man they left for dead wasn’t really dead after all. Sarah gets some great scenes in the movie. While she is sleeping, the killer cuts Helen’s hair off and leaves the threat “SOON” on her mirror. This is where we hear that Sarah has a killer scream. Even after being threatened, she still participates in the Croaker Parade, where she sees the killer threatening her with his hook. At the pageant, while a contestant is singing, she sees the killer attack and murder her boyfriend Barry. She screams and tries to get help, but no one believes her. Later she is escorted by a policeman. Then the fisherman lures the policeman in an alley and kills him. This is when one the best chase scenes I have ever seen in a movie happens. Helen then escapes and runs to where her sister is working. Not long after her sister is killed. Leaving Helen alone with the killer inside the store where Sarah brilliantly walks around with the most terrified look on her face. This girl can really play scared. Sarah is attacked and continues to run through the store. She jumps out of a window from the second story and runs toward the parade. Just as we think Helen is going to survive. Which we are all rooting for. She makes the dumbest horror cliche move of turning around after hearing a noise coming from behind her. She turns back around and the killer is in front of her pushing her into a pile of tires. She continues to fight but is stabbed to death by his hook. No one could hear her screams because of the parade. I find it rare to root for characters to live in horror movies, but Sarah manages to play such a likable character that you want her to survive.

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SCREAM 2

“Movies are not responsible for our actions.”

After her amazing performance in I Know What You Did Last Summer she snagged the role of CiCi Cooper in Scream 2. Another successful slasher film. Making a Worldwide total of$172,363,301. Which opened the same year on December 12, 1997. Sarah once again gives a strong performance. Casey “Cici” Cooper is a film student at Windsor College who is murdered by Ghostface in Scream 2 as part of copying the Woodsboro murders from the first film. Sarah gets in my opinion one of the best scenes of the film. She is talking on the phone with her friend when Ghostface calls her. Her other sorority sisters are out partying leaving CiCi all alone. Ghostface stalks CiCi and eventually attacks her. Leaving Sarah to have another brilliant chase scene in a horror movie. She runs up the stairs instead of running out the front door and continues to run until she is in the attic. Ghostface grabs her and throws her through the window and then stabs her in the back before throwing her off of the balcony. Sarah gives out another great scream as she falls to her death. Sarah is only in two scenes and in the background of another but she manages to make such an impression on the film by once again playing a likable character that you can actually root for to live.

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BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER

“It’s my first day! I was afraid that I was gonna be behind in all my classes, that I wouldn’t make any friends, that I would have last month’s hair. I didn’t think there’d be vampires on campus.”

Sarah isn’t just known for her horror films. She is also a scream queen of televison. Playing the role of Buffy Summers. A bubbly teenager who finds out that she is the Chosen One to protect the world from demons, vampires and whatever else could be thrown at the world. On March 10, 1997 a pilot for Buffy the Vampire slayer premiered on the WB. With the ratings of 3.4. It received largely positive reviews from critics. The show was sure to be a hit for the WB. A hit it was. Running for 7 seasons. Ending May 20, 2003. Sarah’s role of Buffy was inspiring and strong. It was fun to watch a girl kick so much ass.

THE GRUDGE

“The whole time I was in that house. I felt something was wrong…”

Sarah is also known highly for her work in The Grudge. A remake of a Japanese horror film. The film hit theaters October 22, 2004. The film grossed worldwide $187,281,115. Sarah stars as Karen Davis. An American social worker who moves with her boyfriend to Tokyo. After the first caretaker Yoko does not show up at work she volunteers to take care of Emma Williams. An elderly woman who is living in the house that is cursed which causes her to fall victim. When the curse starts claiming the people around her she starts investigating the origin of the curse. She decides to head back to the house to keep her boyfriend Doug from falling to the grudge, but fails. Karen then tries to stop the curse by burning down the house, but this instead releases the curse. She is the only survivor. Sarah returns for the Grudge 2 but is killed off in the opening which left fans devastated and disappointed.

Sarah has had a successful and tremendous career in horror and I hope it continues on. She will always be one of my favorite Scream Queens.

–Timothy James King

Woman of Horror Month: Emily Hagins

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In all actuality, my chosen “Woman of Horror” has only technically been a woman for a little more than 3 years now. And even though she hasn’t done a slasher film (yet), her films are highly infused with elements from the horror genre. Emily Hagins first came to my attention when I stumbled upon a charming documentary entitled Zombie Girl: The Movie while surfing through Instant Streaming titles on Netflix a few years back.

I was immediately hooked by the premise of the film, which chronicles a 12-year-old girl experiencing the ups and downs of making a feature-length zombie film. Yes, you read that correctly. She was 12-years-old at the time. In the 365 days I spent being 12, I didn’t do a damn thing other than pick my nose, ride my bike and play SEGA Genesis and here’s Emily Hagins writing, producing, directing and editing a feature-length movie.

The documentary itself was extremely entertaining as it introduced me to this ambitious little kid who spends the better part of two years making a zombie flick entitled Pathogen. With tons of help from her extremely supportive mother, Emily tries to stay focused on seeing the film through to the end despite endless setbacks and an inability to fully understand the determination and responsibility one needs to accomplish such an endeavor (remember, she was only 12). After it was finished, I found myself overwhelmed with an odd sense of inspiration from this little girl and decided to keep tabs on her as she continued her pursuit of becoming a legitimate filmmaker.

Known as “The Movie Girl” since the 2nd grade among her fellow students, Emily credits Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring as the film that made her want to make movies herself, but it was the 2003 Australian zombie film Undead that made her realize her love for the horror genre and motivated her to start writing her own aforementioned zombie movie.

Pathogen wasn’t completed until Emily was 14 years old, making the entire process a two-year ordeal. Even though she has publicly stated that she isn’t entirely happy with the end result, she is still proud of the film and looks back on it as a wonderful learning experience. Not three years later, a 17-year-old Emily started production on her second feature, a supernatural thriller titled The Retelling. The film was intended to be much darker than Pathogen and absent of any comedic elements.

Now, I haven’t seen this film yet, mostly because Emily refuses to let anyone see it outside of the cast and crew. I’m not entirely sure why either, the trailer is available to watch on YouTube and even though there are amateurish qualities present, it looks like a vast improvement from her directing work on Pathogen. Nonetheless, she has placed the film “on the shelf indefinitely.” Her choice as a filmmaker, I guess.

Two years after The Retelling, a determined Emily set forth to direct her third feature, which would go on to become her most well-known film to date. My Sucky Teen Romance was a lighthearted spoof on the Twilight films and told the story of a young high school girl and her friends being stalked by a pretty-boy vampire during a horror convention. The film was far from perfect but still charming enough to make for an entertaining watch. It received a buzz-worthy premiere at the renowned SXSW Film Festival in Emily’s hometown of Austin, TX, with critical reception being somewhat mixed. You can currently view the film on Netflix Instant Streaming and gather an opinion for yourself if you’d like.

For her latest film, Emily moved away from the horror genre and instead focused on what we all can agree is the next best thing: Halloween. Grow Up, Tony Phillips tells the story of a teenage boy unwilling to give up his love for trick-r-treating. The film stars horror’s new leading man A.J. Bowen and, from what I can tell by the trailer, appears to be Emily’s most polished work to date. Again, the film premiered at the SXSW Film Festival this past fall to mostly positive reviews with a VOD/DVD release planned for October 2014. Personally, I can’t wait to see the film as the Halloween subject matter hits pretty close to home.

So, at the age of 21, Emily has been making movies for the better part of nine years already with four features under her belt, a feat I find incredibly impressive. She has opted out of attending any type of film school and instead has chosen to keep writing her own material and getting movies made herself (with the help of her LA-based agent, of course).

Do I think Emily Hagins is a great filmmaker? No, at least not yet. But there’s no denying that her skills have vastly improved with each film she has made and I’m certain that her determination and willingness to succeed will one day get her there. Wherever her career ends up, I think it’s safe to say that her overwhelming passion to pursue her dream makes Emily one of the most inspiring writer/directors out there, regardless of her gender.

–Adam Krause

Women in Horror Month: Kim Myers

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When I found out Slasher Studios were doing a Women in Horror Month, I had to chime in. I had to hit up my favorite series of movies, Nightmare On Elm Street. But, even that is difficult, because the Nightmare series is just cluttered with final girl awesome-ness. I mean between Heather Langenkamp (Nancy) and Lisa Wilcox (Alice) there’s plenty to appreciate right there. But I had to go with my favorite film in the series, (and most hated, for reasons I just don’t get.) Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge,and Miss Kim Myers.

Now, unlike some of the (great) women in the Women in Horror Month series, Kim was the “Final Girl” along with the “Final Boy” Mark Patton (Jesse), i believe she played a character that would normally be the male 2nd lead in most films. Lisa (Kim), brought a strength mixed with understanding as the counterpart to the main character, Jesse. She fought for him when the going got tough,(cue awesome 80s montage!) and gave Jesse the strength to fight for himself like some sexy version of a head coach of a football team “FIGHT HIM, JESSE!” Sometimes the girlfriends in horror movies have 2 possible outcomes, either they are the “lead” and therefore, end up beating the odds in the end and standing victorious over the “horrors” they endured… or they are killed off fairly quickly, (and usually half naked, and bloody) Lisa was neither, she was a character who had to be a strong “Final Girl” without getting the props and respect most Final Girls get. She was/is beautiful and strong and really lights up the screen with her smile, but also impresses with her ass kicking abilities.

She stands up to the monster when Jesse couldn’t. She looks into the face of adversity, and sees the damage done to her friends at her party, and still doesn’t shake. She still goes to the boiler room knowing full well what the consequences were. She could of hid with her parents at her house, but she didnt. She could of let her father shoot Freddy/Jesse and save the day (maybe). But she didn’t, she knew what had to be done, and why.

Love conquers all in this film, even the bastard son of a 100 maniacs, Freddy Krueger. For anyone who writes this film off because it’s “gay” or “not as good as the rest of the series” i implore you to give it one more chance, if not for the amazing performances by Mark Patton, Clu Gulager, Robert Rusler,Hope Lange or Marshall Bell, then watch it once more and pay close attention to Kim Myers, you may find yourself rooting for this beautiful actress and feeling your opinion on the film slowly change.

Women in Horror Month: Sorority Row

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This female-powered slasher film tells the story of a group of sorority sisters who find themselves being stalked by an unknown maniac one year after they accidentally killed one of their sisters in a prank. For these girls it will take the power of sisterhood to survive the killer party in store for them.

This 2009 remake was a bomb at the box office, despite its hot cast and great throwback to classic slashers. It features great kills, and witty dialogue, but what stands out the most is its female cast.

Typically in slasher film, there is usually more focus on certain characters than any others. While we do have a focal character, each female in the film is considered a lead have their own chance to shine.

First up is Briana Evigan who stars as Cassidy. Cassidy is our focal character who we supposed to root for and relate to the most. She is the conscience of the story, has the most strength of the girls, and isn’t afraid to stand up to whatever or whoever is in her way, and truly loves and wants to protect her fellow sisters.

Next is Leah Pipes who stars as the bitch you can’t help but love, the queen bee, Jessica. Jessica is the character that isn’t afraid to say how she feels, even when it’s at the most inappropriate moments. She is definitely the character that really only think of herself, but she’s also a strong woman in her own way and isn’t afraid to take a stand (she has no problem taking an ax to go after their assailant). But even when she has the chance to run, she doesn’t leave her sister behind.

Rumer Willis plays Ellie, the brainy one. Despite the fact that she is typically seen crying and screaming and panicking through the film, Ellie is a lot stronger than she actually thinks.

Jamie Chung plays Claire, Jessica’s sidekick. She wants to be like Jessica, but it doesn’t take her long to see the error of her ways and wants to break free from her role as the sidekick and become a stronger and better person. She’s also not one to take any shit from her boyfriend (who’s a total dick).

Finally there’s Chugs, played by Margo Harshman. Chugs is the drunk and slutty sister who knows who she is and quite frankly isn’t ashamed or afraid to express it. Like Jessica, she says what’s on her mind and doesn’t sugar coat things.

So, even though certain characters make have more screen time than the others, each of these women have their own time to shine and show their female empowerment as leads. They could be strong from beginning to end mentally and physically, some have to come into their strength, and some have inner strength and self-confidence that make them just as strong as the others.

–Cody Landman