:: Buzzwords

Five for: Jovanka Vuckovic

By Alan Kelly.

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1) How difficult was it for you to become editor of Rue Morgue in what is largely considered a ‘boys’ den’?
I had known Rodrigo [Gudiño] for a long time and would travel to conventions with the Rue Crew, working the booth. I was working as a digital effects artist at the time but was a lifelong horror fan. One day it occurred to me there weren’t enough women writing for Rue Morgue so I approached him about writing. I figured it was something I could do while my machine rendered FX shots. I wrote a review, which he nearly published verbatim, then he assigned me a secondary cover story, then, shortly thereafter, he sat me down and said “What would you think about taking over Rue Morgue?” After I picked myself up off the floor, I told him I had no experience in journalism whatsoever and knew nothing about running a magazine. To which he responded, “That’s okay, I can teach you all that, you’ve already got what it takes.” Evidently I was a natural at writing; he had been testing me all along to see if I had the chops. The core knowledge and passion for the genre was already there, a stable backbone upon which he and I could build on. Of chief importance to Rodrigo was the awareness that I would continue on in the good tradition of Rue Morgue, that I’d never sell out, that I shared the same vision as he. So I gave up a huge job opportunity in LA in Visual Effects to stay here and run Rue Morgue. I was hired on as Managing Editor and Rodrigo trained me over two years. I learned the way things are done here at Rue Morgue, as very unorthodox and special magazine. So it was a lot of hard work but my staff – as well as the horror community – made it pretty easy. I rarely come up against too much sexism. I may be a woman in the middle of a male dominated landscape, but it hasn’t really been much of an issue. Everyone for the most part treats you with respect if you know your stuff. And I think after seven years at Rue Morgue, it’s pretty clear I love horror as much as any of the boys do, if not more.

2) How many copies of Rue Morgue are sold annually?
60,000 units per issue, monthly – worldwide.

3) What are your problems with women in horror today? Where would you want to see it go?
I can’t say as I have any “problems” with any of them. From screamqueens to writers, directors and producers, it appears there are more women in horror than ever. That’s a great thing. But I’ve always made the distinction between supporting women in horror and crusading for them. Horror is, and should be, genderless. In other words, a good story is a good story, whether it’s told by a man or a woman. That said, there is still a gender bias in the entertainment industry – in many industries, in fact – that’s going to take a long time to change. I’m hoping to help change that in the future by contributing more creatively in the genre. I plan to not let my gender be an issue. And if it is, it’ll be a benefit, rather than a detriment.

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4) Most important woman in print/e-zine/lit/film/performance?
Anyone that’s contributing. We’re all in this together. Though I have to say that Doris Wishman was a pretty impressive lady, who directed dozens of exploitation films way before Herschell Gordon Lewis got behind a camera. I wish there were more ladies like her.

5) Favourite horror film featuring an almost entirely female cast?
I don’t really think of movies in those terms. In fact, I prefer to note films that have no female cast members as great examples of stories well told, ones that don’t rely on female flesh, such as The Thing, which is completely devoid of women altogether and one of the best horror films ever made in the history of horror films. That said, I’d have to say my currents mostly female-led film is À l’intérieur, Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo‘s punishing, Halloween-inspired French slasher film featuring a pregnant single lady who is being pursued by a batshit bonkers assailant known only as La Femme who basically wants to rip her child from her womb and keep it for herself. If you haven’t seen it, please do, and bring a vomit bag if you’re faint of heart.

Rue Morgue, the magazine of horror in culture & entertainment, is available here.

First posted: Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009.

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