Ghouls to the Front: Rethinking Women’s Horror Filmmaking (Austin)

Date(s) - Tue. Sep. 25, 2018
2:00 pm GMT - 3:15 pm GMT

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema South Lamar

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Free with Badge

The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is proud to present this special one-off class with film writer and scholar Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (Rape Revenge Films: A Critical Study) at Austin’s Fantastic Fest.

While the growing noise in recent years surrounding the inequalities facing women filmmakers has been very welcome, when it comes to horror especially there’s often a subtle suggestion that women who make these kinds of films are some kind of novelty, a cute little curio often approached by mainstream critics with an unspoken air of “can you believe women today even make horror films?”.

Scratch beneath the surface, however, and as any horror fan worth their mettle will tell you it is hardly a new phenomenon.  But outside the usual suspects who appear with near-uniform regularity on the token listicles that pop up every time a woman-directed horror film makes a splash, there is a long, diverse history of women’s filmmaking in the horror genre.

While researching and writing her upcoming book 1000 Women in Horror, Australian film critic and author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas was struck by the scope of women’s horror filmmaking. That scope lead to some important – and sometimes difficult – questions: are horror films made by women necessarily ‘feminist’? What do we mean when we talk about ‘feminism’ anyway? What can we learn from art history? Do women make necessarily different kinds of horror films to men and represent violence in different ways? And who has told us which women horror filmmakers’ matter – and, through their omission from popular memory, which ones don’t?

Rather than presenting a singular alternate history of women’s horror filmmaking, Heller-Nicholas seeks to blow open the way we think about this subject more broadly, looking at a range of examples from around the world from 1898 to 2018 in order to think through ways we can collectively rethink the history of horror more broadly to be more inclusive, more representative, and more fun.

Image: Cover detail from Alexandra Heller-Nicholas’ forthcoming book 1000 Women in Horror.