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Girls on Film: 4 female filmmakers who pioneered horror movies

Despite popular misconceptions, women have been on the cutting edge of the genre since its earliest days

Girls Horror

If you’re looking for a good new horror movie, there are plenty of directors whose works fit the bill. Leigh Janiak kicked things off last month with a limited release of her film Honeymoon. “Twisted Twins” Jen and Sylvia Soska debuted their latest feature, See No Evil 2, on DVD last week. Sundance selection A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night — cinema’s “first Iranian vampire western,” directed by Ana Lily Amirpour — is hitting theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Nov. 21. Jennifer Kent’s critical smash The Babadook, which won Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay, and Feature at the festival, will hit screens on Nov. 28.

These female-directed films have been framed as work that challenges the “status quo.” But it’s misguided to frame women’s contributions to horror as something unusual. It ignores the fact that most of these women have made horror films before, and that they are just the latest generation working in a genre that has always included influential women.

Indeed, one of cinema’s most rampant fallacies is the idea that women and horror don’t mix.

Movies like Twilight have led critics to note the power of YA fandom — but not how much it has continued a long tradition of girls’ interests in horror. Before Stephenie Meyer, there was L.J. Smith, and before her, Lois Duncan. YA offers bridges to women like Anne Rice, one of the most iconic names in horror lit, and V.C. Andrews, whose Flowers in the Attic was so popular that a ghostwriter was hired to continue her legacy after her death.

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Dan Gilroy Director/Writer of Nightcrawler – DP/30

His familiar work as a screenwriter goes all the way back to Freejack in 1992. More recently, Reel Steel and The Bourne Legacy. But now he’s put on the writer/director hat with the remarkable Nightcrawler, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a true creature of darkness, created by business as usual in L.A. Gilroy spoke to David Poland about the film and the soul.

Dan-Gilroy

 

How to Build a Fictional World – TED-Ed

Why is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy so compelling? How about The Matrix or Harry Potter? What makes these disparate worlds come alive are clear, consistent rules for how people, societies — and even the laws of physics — function in these fictional universes. Author Kate Messner offers a few tricks for you, too, to create a world worth exploring in your own words.

World-Building

Director Lynn Shelton on “Laggies”

Every January the slopes of Park City, Utah, fill with posh skiers, and the streets, bars, and screening rooms fill with Hollywood’s top actors, producers, and directors. Vanity Fair West Coast senior editor Krista Smith sat down to talk with the stars of the Sundance Film Festival, and learned all about the movies that will thrill us in 2014. Via GoIntoTheStory

Lynn-Shelton

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