Horror films can be slash-fests that linger over torture of female victims. Or they can be feminist and subversive. Mathilda Gregory reviews the Bloody Women strand at this year’s Bird’s Eye View Film Festival
This year the Bird’s Eye View Film Festival turned its gaze towards horror movies (and puns) with its ‘Bloody Women’ strand: a mini-season of horror films by female directors.
It was a fabulous choice of theme. Sometimes, horror is seen as a genre that excludes and exploits women, but feminist horror fans know better. Those who dig a little deeper know that horror is a genre that might wear boy-drag these days, but beneath the surface its links to women and femininity are clear.
In Victorian times, horror – in the form of the Penny Dreadful – was seen as a ‘women’s genre’ like romance, with its domestic settings and preoccupations with emotions.
That’s just one of the things I learned at the Bloody Women panel debate, where a slew of horror movie insiders debated the genre and the position of women within it. The debate opened with each panel member introducing clips from some of their personal favourite horror films, ranging from grand staples like The Haunting to offbeat gems like Amer.
No horrified faces at Birds Eye View’s Bloody Women debate