February is a month buzzing with celebrations. For fans of horror cinema, that includes Women in Horror Month — which supports female genre artists and “seeks to expose and break down social constructs and miscommunication between female professionals.” Women in the film industry still face struggles, and genre cinema is frequently and unfairly disregarded by critics, but the female filmmakers creating works of horror today have a unique vision that is breaking new ground and continuing a tradition of women and fright films that started with pioneers like Alice Guy-Blaché. Here are fascinating quotes from some of horror cinema’s female filmmakers (several who will be directing the upcoming all-female horror anthology XX) who discuss everything from creating strong female characters to what it means to be a woman working in the genre.
Mary Harron, American Psycho and The Moth Diaries
While Mary Harron has garnered praise within the horror genre, she does not associate herself exclusively with the genre, as we see in keenly observed dramas like I Shot Andy Warhol and The Notorious Bettie Page. In an interview with The Believer, she explains how that distance from horror film conventions gives her edge:
I always say to my husband: I make unpopular versions of popular things. I make a horror film and it’s not a horror film. None of my genre movies function as genre movies. When people see the conventions, they think they’re going to get the straightforward genre — I don’t give them that and they get mad. People see that and they think I don’t understand the conventions because I’m not a good filmmaker.