Examining WIHM Through the Ladies Of Horror Literature

For this article I’m literally examining WIHM through the Ladies Of Horror Literature.

Yes literature, you read that right!

It is so often as fans that we focus our horror love on the films that are created and those that create them. We acknowledge the actors, filmmakers and fundamental crew. However, more than many realize, some of our favorite horror films are born from the amazingly well crafted written word.

Many of these superb dark tales came from the minds of many brilliant women and I’m going to focus on just a few. This will include Mary Shelley, Anne Rice, Shirley Jackson, V.C Andrews, Susan Hill And Daphne Du Maurier.

First up I must start with the grandmother of horror literature herself, Mary Shelley. Shelley is most remembered for her movingly Gothic tale of morality known as Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus. Frankenstein shocked people in its era when released back 0n New Years Day in 1818.

Mary Shelley

The story dived into the ethical dilemmas and left the reader exploring the gruesome topics of body snatching, the reanimating of a corpse created from pieces of several cadavers, and the age old debate of playing God.

It is dark, lengthy, harrowing and over the last 201 years it has inspired so many adaptations, including stage plays, since 1823. It has been both on the big screen (such as Universals 1931 Boris Karloff venture, to the Kenneth Branagh and Robert DeNiro’s 1994 memorable adaptation) and the small screen with shows such as The Frankenstein Chronicles, And Penny Dreadful (which features Victor Frankenstein as a character). It has also had loose adaptations of  memorability such as the musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Young Frankenstein (a Mel Brooks parody film),and Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie.

Frankenstein

Like Shelley, Anne Rice is known for her main film adaptation of her most famous novel. This time round the tale was Interview With A Vampire, which is one book in a long running series of the Vampire Chronicles. Based in New Orleans, Rice has become an accomplished author and uses her city as a beautiful back drop for the saga of the Vampire Lestat. The longevity of Rices career focusing on writing about vampires to witches and much more from the darkest realms, has paved the way over the last four decades for the Vampire craze of the last decade in film and television.

Anne rice

Flying across the pond, British novelist Shirley Jackson is a name many won’t know for her brilliant novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle, but mention her classic spooky tale The Haunting Of Hill House and many are more familiar.  The Haunting Of Hill House has been adapted in various ways and several times as a film, focusing on the creepy happenings of Hill House and a party of people there to explore it. It’s lived on with horror fans since the 1963  film ( simply titled The Haunting like its 1999 remake) and has been an inspiration for both serious adaptations , such as a recent Netflix series to even farcical moments in films like Scary Movie 2.

Shirley Jackson

Like Rices Vampire Chronicles, When one mentions V.C Andrews no one can help but recall the twisted and macabre Dollanganger  family of her novel Flowers in the Attic and it’s subsequent novels that followed. Spanning 7 years the books focused on abuse, violence, incest and death and inspired 5 film adaptations over many years. Though the original ending of the 1987 adaptation varied from the novel, no one could dispute actress Louise Fletchers portrayal of the grandmother as one of the most vile villains in horror history. Fletcher herself has spoken time and again about consulting Andrews on the role, to deliver the best performance she could to the viewers and it showed.

V.c.andrews

 

Unlike Andrews English writer Susan Hill is best remembered for her 1983 story of The Woman in Black. Adapted for British Television as a film in 1989, this hauntingly eerie story of the macabre woman in black is sure to give anyone the creeps like it did to me when I watched it at the age of 8. It has since had a remake in 2012 starring Daniel Radcliffe (yes Harry Potter) for Hammer films. That remake has since had a rather foolish sequel that just didn’t work as well following it in 2015 called The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, that was prior made into a novelization in 2013. I implore fans to seek out the book rather than the sequels film. The Woman in Black has also been a successful stage play since 1987 and continues running at theatres globally to this day.

Susan Hill

Finally to round out our literally scream queens I present Daphne Du Maurier. Du Maurier is a name very well known with most horror fans for her popular works of story story fiction have been turned into screen gold time and time again by horror alumni such as Alfred Hitchcock – who adapted her stories Rebecca, Jamaica Inn,And  The Birds. She also had a very successful adaptation of her story Don’t Look Now (AKA Not After Midnight) by Filmmaker Nicholas Roeg. Though the film differs very slightly to the book, Du Maurier was happy with this 1973  adaptation starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland And any viewer watching it would easily be as immersed as they were in the book.

Daphne Du maurier

I hope this article helps some horror fans seek out more literature from the horror realm and explore the ladies behind the words of some of your favorite films. The written word is a dying art form and many could do well to examine where our filmmakers get their inspiration.

Posted by Michelle MIDI Peifer

Hailing from Sydney Australia and injecting a dose of Aussie Flavour to her reviews, Midi began her horror love in Birmingham England at a very young age and is always trying to find the next local or indie horror talent to share with the world.

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