By Alan Kelly.
1) I’ve saved the best ’til last – so give me a good reason why you should be my final girl?
Because I defy the stereotypes of what a final girl is supposed to be, and by defying the stereotypes I redefine the post-modern slasher standards, incorporating the importance of revolutionary feminism, new media, and gender bias. It’s really quite awesome of you to choose me. And also because, frankly, I’m pretty accessible and oh so nice.
2) Pretty/Scary is the first of its kind – and your the first editor who ever took any interest in me. Give the world a good reason why they should read Pretty/Scary?
Because I work very very hard at it. Pretty/Scary has ruined marriages, made enemies, lost jobs, embarrassed parents, and made people cry. It represents the labor and ideas of many different people interested in women in horror, and it provides a different outlook and a different type of story not usually seen in horror websites. Many women have been interviewed or written about who are never heard of on other horror websites because they aren’t actresses. The producers, directors, artists, musicians, and writers are not considered ‘news’ because they aren’t in the movie or extremely good looking and young get a chance to tell their stories, just like the men do, and we don’t interview a woman simply because she’s attractive – we like women who do stuff.
3) You’re doing an MA in journalism and writing a book on women in horror as well as running Pretty/Scary and you’re hot – is this not a crime? Can a woman be funny (you’re John Waters hilarious, Jane Badler good-looking and Xena Resourceful) and the rest? Why don’t you exploit your brilliance, Heidi?
You just made my day! But don’t insult John Waters… I think the first lesson I ever learned about feminism and femininity came from Elvira (Casandra Peterson’s horror hostess character from the 1980’s). I was a die-hard Elvira fan as a child, and she taught me that you can be funny, smart and sexy, all at the same time. That one needn’t compromise the other, and that together the three worked very well.
As far as exploiting my brilliance, I attempt to do that every day and in every way I can. I’m still waiting for my big, exploitative check to come in and buy me better friends and a maid.
4) What are your thoughts on Women in Horror Month?
I think it is a great idea, if executed properly. I think we need to be really careful about who we honor, and why. Sometimes I feel like women with meager accomplishments want accolades for doing mediocre work, and use sexism to explain why they aren’t getting what they feel is deserved credit. That’s not what I’m into. I’m into celebrating the work of some seriously overlooked and amazing women who are undeniably unfairly treated by the system.
One thing I am trying to do is organize several screenings in Los Angeles of horror directed by women – an old film paired with something new and not seen yet – with the filmmakers in attendance to do Q & A’s. Women I would love to have as participants are Mary Lambert, Katt Shea, Amanda Gusack, Stephanie Rothman, Erica Fox, Susan Montford, Jackie Kong… There are a lot more female horror film directors out there than many horror fans know of because women do not achieve the same cult status men do in the genre unless they are actresses. It’s something that really bothers me. For years, Doris Wishman, one of the greatest sleazy horror movie directors of all time, was not invited as a regular to sign autographs at conventions, but you can find any number of horror movie directors (even bad ones) revered and doing signings and being interviewed and getting invited to direct episodes of Masters of Horror. Why is it that the female directors don’t get the same credit? I don’t know. But this is something I would attempt to change with the Women in Horror Month.
5) What are your plans for the future with Pretty/Scary – why not bring it to print?
No, too expensive. I just can’t envision Pretty/Scary doing well as a magazine. I think the online dynamic of news is more interesting, anyway. I really do. News changes so fast these days, I can make the face of Pretty/Scary reflect anything relevant at any time. Can’t do that with print. Print is always technically obsolete, whereas if you change your content on your website everyday you can prevent that from happening. Of course, you can get in-depth articles in print that aren’t always reasonable for online outlets. But its a trade-off.
I do plan on extending an area of the site to include a searchable encyclopedia of women directors of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy, and to keep the site growing and keep it current and happy.
I am also making a documentary, the second film under the Pretty/Scary name (the first was my short film Wretched) called Brides of Horror, about women who are married to men who make horror movies for a living. We’re shooting right now, and we have some interesting people involved. We’re really lucky to be able to explore the lives of some of these women.
And of course, I have that whole journalism degree I’m working on. So, no time for making Pretty/Scary print anyway. Unless some rich person wants to give me $100,000 so I can hire a full time staff to get it going. No? No takers at all?
First posted: Thursday, November 12th, 2009.