WiHM

Monster Interviews: Tori Danielle Romero- Women In Horror Month

Monster Interviews: Tori Danielle Romero- Women In Horror Month

It’s that time of the year again when we thank and recognize the Women who kick butt In horror. When it comes to true independent Women In Horror, there’s none more deserving than that of Tori Danielle Romero. If you don’t know who she is by now, you should.

I recently had the honor of asking her a few questions about Women In Horror Month, and about the surge her super popular website, PopHorror.com. It’s currently on the rise and has gathered quite a sizable following as of late. It’s definitely a quality source for horror news and all things that encompass the genre.

Tori Danielle Romero is a writer and film producer. She was born and raised on horror at a very young age. She broke into the industry around four years prior, when a friend and fellow writer of hers, approached her about joining the website CrypticRock.com. Not long after, she joined PopHorror.com as a co-owner, where she began making connections and things began to blossom from there.

Tori is an advocate for Women In Horror and indie horror in general. She’s a firm believer in people receiving the recognition they deserve for the work they put in. She began writing as a way to highlight those responsible and deserving, and takes inspiration from the women around her who kick ass on a daily basis.

 

  • DS: Do you recall when you first fell in love with horror? Can you remember how old you were and what it was that captured and sparked your imagination and interest in the genre?

 

 

  • TDR: I know that I fell in love watching the NOES films. I’ve always been a Freddy Girl and although the films have never scared me… they’ve held a special place in my heart. I can’t remember my exact age, but I know I was pretty young probably around 5 or 6 when I knew horror was a genre that I loved. It was thrilling and always had fun characters. I don’t get scared easily though. Zelda from Pet Sematary is about the only thing that’s ever gave me nightmares, lol.

 

 

  • DS:. As most fans of the genre might know already, you own and operate your own horror based website. What made you decide to create the website, and can you elaborate on how it all eventually came about?

 

 

  • TDR: So, in the very beginning it wasn’t actually my site. This is something that not a lot of people know about. It was initially created by someone else and they approached me to run and be a co-owner. I also knew I didn’t want to run the site by myself, so I talked with my bestie Tracy Allen and she agreed. It all began in 2016 and it’s been quite the journey. A lot of sweat, tears and time have gone into this site, but we couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve accomplished in such a short period of time.

 

 

  • DS: You’re website’s named PopHorror.com. How did you come up with that name and what does it mean to you specifically? Does it have any hidden meaning or connotations pertaining to you or the fans of your site?

 

 

  • TDR: As I mentioned previously, I didn’t originally create the site, but the name is just a fun play on words and let’s us branch out a bit. We can cover more than just horror because of it. Dark comedies, thrillers, crimes, etc. I like to think of it nice and healthy balance of pop culture and horror. The name has grown on me quite a bit over the last couple years.

 

 

  • DS: A lot of times, fans of horror tend to receive bad reputations. What are your thoughts on the horror fan base and how vital are they to the success or failure of our beloved genre?

 

 

  • TDR: I think the horror fan base is one of the best fan bases out there. They’re extremely loyal and passionate. They support old and new horror and love connecting with other people who love the genre. Of course, there’s some bad eggs out there that try to ruin it for all, but for the most part the fans are exceptional. I interviewed Barbara Crampton last Summer and she stated “I feel like horror fans are more dedicated and loyal than any other group.”

    Barbara Crampton

 

 

 

  • I couldn’t agree more with that statement. The fans are crucial to the success of our beloved genre because without the support from them, from us, so many amazing stories would go untold and the bad reputation would continue to grow. I think over the years, horror has gained more respect and that’s not only because of the people who create the films but the people who back them. Horror still has a long way to come before it’s viewed the way we see it by the “norm” but oh well who gives a fuck. We love it and we know it rocks.

 

 

  • DS: As a female working in the genre, what does Women In Horror Month mean to you and how important do you think it is to continue to acknowledge and support the amazing women representing the genre?

 

 

  • TDR: Women in Horror Month is incredibly important to me. If it were a perfect world and everyone was treated equally, we wouldn’t need a month like this, but the truth is women and minorities don’t get the recognition and praise they deserve. With WIHM, we get a chance to highlight all these amazing women and bring awareness to their projects. I’m so glad that the community comes together to celebrate this month and that it’s become a pretty big deal. I know some people think it’s silly, but I find it incredibly inspiring to see my news feed packed full of stories and pictures about talented women in the horror industry. Just doing their thang and killing it.

 

 

  • DS: Going forward, what do you come to expect from Women In Horror Month, and is there anything in particular you’d like to see branch out of WIHM?

 

 

  • TDR: I would love to see more women get hired for projects they deserve and are perfect for. I want to see more women directors not only in the indie world but on the big screen. I want to see people praising those women like they do men. Everyone talks about John Carpenter’s Halloween but rarely do they talk about Debra Hill. Pet Sematary is one of the most beloved horror films of all time yet rarely do you see people praise Mary Lambert for it. They mostly talk about Stephen King (which he’s fucking great) but you see what I’m saying?

    Mary Lambert

 

  • In the end, though, I would love to see a day come in the future that we don’t need a Women in Horror Month. I want women to be appreciated equally by the masses and for more opportunities to be open up because they’re great fucking filmmakers, actresses, and so on. I want them to be loved for what they have to offer and not judged or turned away, doubted, or paid less because of their sex.

 

DS: What can we expect to see from PopHorror this year and do you have any exciting announcements or new additions to the website that you’d like to mention or promote?

 

  • TDR: We plan on hustling and grinding as per usual. We have a lot of things in the works and are trying to expand and reach out to more people. Perhaps a podcast as well… but that’s still a MAYBE.

 

  • DS: Is there anything you’re really fond of when it comes to your website? Are there any particular segments or special content that you really enjoy and look forward to publishing?

 

  • TDR: I really enjoy interviews and editorials. Both are personal and enlightening. With interviews, whether it’s me or one of my writers, I love that we get to talk with people we admire and learn about their lives. With editorials, it’s like a writer is giving a piece of themselves to the world. It’s personal and I enjoy reading someone’s thoughts on a subject versus reading a review. Don’t get me wrong. I love reading and writing reviews. But you can read a review about the same movie a million times. Editorials are unique and specific to the person writing it. Sometimes that’s a breath of fresh air.

 

  • DS: As a writer and producer, do you have any upcoming projects you’re anticipating that you’d like to let your fans know about?
  • TDR: I have a couple of writing ideas that I’m wanting to do but nothing set in stone – so I’ll announce that a bit later. As far as producing, one of my biggest projects I’m involved with is 13 Fanboy and I’m co-producing. So many amazing people are involved with this Deborah Voorhees, Kane Hodder, Dee Wallace, Corey Feldman, and many more. It’s also getting a theatrical run!

 

 

 

  • Some of my other producing projects are the third and last installment of Volumes of Blood aka Volumes of Blood: Devil’s Knight. P.J. Starks is a wonderful dude and friend and I’m proud to be apart of it. There’s a killer cast with this one as well.

 

 

  • I’m also helping with Brooklyn Ewing’s upcoming anthology Tales from the Creep, which is super exciting because I love horror anthologies. Plus, Brooklyn is my fucking hero. She’s amazing at everything she does, and I adore her.

    Brooklyn Ewing

 

 

  • And then Anthony Raus’ short that I’m involved with ABSTRACTION landed a distribution deal recently so that’s pretty awesome as well.

 

 

  • DS: Aside from PopHorror.com, where can people follow you and stay up to date with your work? Are there any social media platforms you’re currently active on?

 

  • TDR: First, I want to say that I’ve written several other sites both big and small. I’ve left most of them as to focus my time on things and sites that actually matter to me. On that note, beyond PopHorror, I do also write for Shannon McGrew’s Nightmarish Conjurings and James H. Carter II’s Creepy Kingdom. I’m always open to writing for other sites as well as long as they’re good people whose actions reflect their words. Too many people say one thing and do another. And I’m not about drama. I’m a simple girl who loves all things nerdy and horror and supporting other people. That’s it. Haha… sorry I got a bit sidetracked with that response.

 

 

  • DS To wrap up, we like to ask one final question. If you could pick one, and only one, what would you say is your all-time favorite horror film?

 

  • TDR: As a horror fan yourself, you know this is damn near fucking impossible. I suppose if I had to chose one and only one it would be A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. I love everything about that film, and it has some of the best and creative kills in a horror movie ever!

 

  • Second runner up would probably be Trick R Treat. I mean, I have a huge obsession with Sam and I just LOVE horror anthologies.
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Examining WIHM Through the Ladies Of Horror Literature

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.

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Danielle Harris : Women in Horror Scream Queen

Danielle Harris : Women in Horror Scream Queen

Danielle Andrea Harris, possibly the littlest of the scream queens, but one to be reckoned with as her résumé speaks for itself.

There are so many overly talented women in the horror industry, that it seems nearly impossible to pick one for me to spotlight. I always try to focus on and bring light to those behind the scenes , the writers, director, make up artist’s, and i usually  also to pick a new up and comer  from the independent film circuit. I thought long and hard about it, and realized I wanted to give credit to where credit is due as well.

My personal pick for Women in Horror Month(WIHM) this year, Danielle Harris. Born in Long Island New York in 1977 the talented young lady is so much more than meets the eye. With over 90 acting titles , she has also directed two films, ( Among Friends (2012) / Prank (2008) and is associate producer to Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet (2009). Harris has also made numerous appearances on many t.v. shows as well as doing voice overs The Rugrats cartoons.

Landing her first role, and a good-sized role it was as Jamie Loyd in  Halloween 4 : The Return of Micheal Myers (1988),and the very next year in Halloween 5: The Curse of Micheal Myers(1989)  Harris was only 11 years old and well on her way to make a name for herself. Funny, one of her smaller roles, Urban Legend, she played goth college room-mate Tosh Guaneri, is actually in fact one role that I always remember her for.

      

 

Harris has kept herself busy, but it was in 2007, when Rob Zombie’s Halloween was released and Harris was back home, this time as Annie Brackett. As fate would have it, two years later she follows up her role with Halloween II. Her performances in both were strong characters, and I think that’s why I liked them so much, and Harris nailed it.

While not playing the lead role, hers while even a short woman in height , made up for in it attitude and strength. Even while being thrown around the house like a small toy doll being butchered by the likes of Micheal Myers, she always had fight in her, and she portrayed it quite well!

From return roles in Hatchet 2 & 3 , to playing pregnant in StakelandSee No Evil 2, Havenhurst, Chrome-skull:laid to Rest 2 just to name a few the past few years have been very busy for Danielle Harris.

Having been fortunate enough to had met Danielle Harris about 12 years ago in Orlando at Spooky Empire Horror convention, I can first handedly  say that yes….she is all her 4’11, but is a giant at heart. Harris is a very down to earth woman who sincerely appreciates her fans.

And am I the only one that shows Harris love, no, most certainly not! Danielle Harris has not only been nominated for her work, her acting has also won her awards for Best Actress in 2012 at The Burbank International Film Festival for Shiver, as well as Best Actress at the Fear NYC 2017 for Inoperable. And my favorite, Fangoria Chainsaw Awards for the Fangoria Horror Hall of Fame ! All in my eye, well deserved.

So to you , Danielle Harris, congratulations as you have inspired me to nominate you, a true Horror Icon,  as a proud Women in Horror.

 

Keep it Evil

 

Posted by John Roisland in Categories, EDITORIALS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 1 comment
WiHM: Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

WiHM: Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

Cassandra Peterson as Elvira / Fair use doctrine.On September 17, 1951, the world was gifted with The Mistress of the Dark. Born in Manhattan Kansas, Cassandra Peterson a.k.a. Elvira started her life with a mishap that led to her success. As a toddler, she had accidentally pulled a pot of boiling water down onto her. This burnt about a third of her body and left permanent scarring. After moving to Colorado Springs, CO, at age 7, she endured the harassment of other school children and was extremely shy due to the scarring. She would later use this experience, a place she quoted as “all the freaks come from” to help inspire her Elvira persona.

Growing up, Cassandra’s mother ran a costume shop and she loved playing model for her. She told Biography.com:

I would pick out whatever was the hot costume that year — Ginger from Gilligan’s Island, I Dream of Jeanie, Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke — and my mom would make one in my size, so I would wear costumes to school all the time. Everyone thought I was a total freak. But I knew I would grow up and wear a costume one day, and that’s exactly what happened.

Cassandra Peterson as Elvira / Fair use doctrine.At 17, she became the youngest showgirl in Las Vegas in a show titled Vive Les Girls. After stints overseas as a singer and dancer, she came back to the United States as a star of her comedy show. This led to years of her being part of the best improv groups in LA, The Groundlings, working with famous comedians such as Paul Reubens and Phil Hartman. But, in 1981, the true star was born. She auditioned for a role as a horror movie hostess for a local LA TV station. The show was called Movie Macabre and her hostess name was Elvira, the Mistress of the Dark. She became a household name in no time.

Everyone loved the wickedly vampish hostess and her quirky commentary for the B movies she showed. She was never cruel or mean, just enough of a jab to make it hilarious. She also never took herself too seriously. She loved the persona of Elvira and helped it come to life not just on TV but with successful movies and home videos as well. 1985 brought us her home video series known as Thriller Video. The feature-length film Elvira, Mistress of the Dark was released in 1988. Cassandra co-wrote, produced and starred in it. Next came Elvira’s Haunted Hills in 2001, which she also co-wrote and produced. She is a lady of many talents and quickly became an icon in the horror/Halloween world.

Funko Pop Elvira / Fair use doctrine.Now, over three decades later, Elvira is still adored by millions. You can find Cassandra on the convention circuit where she loves meeting fans. Her licensed image can be found on shirts, purses, pinball machines, Pop dolls and more. A recent photobook Peterson released celebrates 35 years of beauty with over 350 images of the Queen of Halloween. And I suspect that she will hold that title forever.

Your adoring fan forever,
ZombieGurl
Cassandra Peterson as Elvira / Fair use doctrine.

Posted by ZombieGurl in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
WiHM Interview: The Inimitable Barbie Wilde

WiHM Interview: The Inimitable Barbie Wilde

Woofer here, Souls, and it’s my great pleasure to introduce this interview. When discussing Women in Horror Month with my assistant editor Spencer, we decided that as fans of Hellraiser – both as the Books of Blood and the film franchise – we would be completely remiss if we didn’t reach out to Barbie Wilde. Being both talented and gracious, she consented to be interviewed and is our final focus for Women in Horror Month.

Barbie Wilde - Female Cenobite Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

Well, that’s enough of my yammering. You’re all here to find out more about the lovely, talented, and kind Barbie Wilde, so keep on reading.
House of Tortured Souls: Did you ever think you would become a horror icon?
Barbie Wilde: I never did… And it’s a bit ironic that I nearly didn’t go to the audition for Hellbound Hellraiser II, because I found the first Hellraiser film so disturbing. (Although I did love the character of Julia. I’m a sucker for obsession! And the Cenobites were such original and unusual monsters.)
However, I’ve very glad that I did go, obviously. Being in Hellbound was a great experience and, speaking as a short blonde person, I’m truly thrilled that I’ve managed to scare so many people over the years.
HoTS: What is your favorite memory from working on Hellraiser II?
BW: Meeting Ken (Dr. Channard) Cranham for the first time. I walked up to him in full Female Cenobite makeup and costume, when he was in full Channard Cenobite makeup and costume — and on the phone to his wife as well! For some reason known only to the infernal powers below, I said: “Hi Ken, I’m Barbie. Do you want to get married and have babies called Pepper and Skipper?”
Why I thought that this was an appropriate way to introduce myself for the first time to such a venerable actor as Ken, I don’t know. Especially since he was English and had no idea that there were these famous American dolls called Barbie, Ken, Pepper and Skipper. (In Britain, the Barbie Doll equivalent is called Cindy.) In my defense, I do say this line to every “Ken” I meet, because for some strange reason, I think it’s hilarious.
Anyway, Ken was gobsmacked and whispered to his wife, “Darling, an actress is talking to me… I’ve got to go.” I apologized profusely and we’ve been good friends ever since.

The Lovely Barbie Wilde

HoTS: What was it like working with Tik and Tok?
BW: The years with Shock in the early 80s were fantastic. It was the most fun that I’ve ever had as a performer. Working with Tik and Tok was wonderful, as well as performing with Robert Pereno, LA Richards, and Carole Caplin. The high point for us was supporting Gary Numan at Wembley Arena, but we also toured with Depeche Mode and supported Ultravox as well.
HoTS: Who are some of your greatest influences?
BW: As a writer: Rod Serling, Patricia Highsmith, Clive Barker, Hemingway, Raymond Chandler, Colin Wilson.
Directors I admire are: Guillermo Del Toro, Hitchcock, Ridley Scott, the Soska Sisters, Ann Biller, Katherine Bigalow, Mary Harron, Agnieszka Smoczynska, Patty Jenkins.

Barbie Wilde's Blue Eyes - A Film By Chris Alexander

HoTS: How do you prepare for a role? Is it different for each?
BW: I approach each role in a new way. I don’t use any particular “method”. I’m very intuitive and I take a lot from the text…
HoTS: Why horror? What drew you to it?
BW: To be honest, I didn’t choose horror, horror chose me! I had moved from acting into presenting, writing and hosting TV shows when I was cast in Hellbound. It was my first horror movie. (Although I suppose being in Grizzly II: The Concert (1983) was my first appearance in a horror movie, but it was never released.)
It’s interesting, because until Paul Kane asked me to write a story for the Hellbound Hearts anthology, I was more interested in exploring the criminal mind in writing novel like my diary-of-a-serial-killer novel, The Venus Complex (published by Comet Press), than writing horror. But I had so much fun writing my Female Cenobite origin story (“Sister Cilice”) for Hellbound Hearts, that I continued writing horror, contributing short stories to various horror anthologies over the years, culminating in my illustrated, full color, short horror story collection, Voices of the Damned (published by SST Publications).

The Venus Complex (2012) by Barbie Wilde

Saying that though, I’ve always watched horror movies, ever since I was a kid, especially Sci-fi horror. Those films really shaped my twisted imagination! And TV shows like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits also made a big impression on me.
HoTS: What are your favorite horror films?
BW: I love the old black and white horrors like: The Thing From Another World (1951), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Innocents (1961), The Haunting (1963) and Night of the Demon AKA Curse of the Demon (1957). I also like visceral horror such as Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and Alien (1979). Other favorites are: American Mary (2012), Sinister (2012), Audition (1999), The Lure (2015), Cronos (1993), Mimic (1997), Crimson Peak (2015), etc. (I’m really looking forward to seeing The Shape of Water and the Soska Sisters’ reimagining of Cronenberg’s Rabid.)
HoTS: What drew you to writing? Do you prefer it to acting?
BW: I’ll always love acting, but now I prefer creating my own worlds, my own characters and my own mythologies.
HoTS: When did you realize that you wanted to dive into the arts?
BW: I was a very shy kid, but when I was cast in a school play when I was 12, I was hooked forever. People were laughing with me, rather than at me. I loved it.

Voices of the Damned (2016) by Barbie Wilde

HoTS: What is something outside of art that you’re passionate about?
BW: Wine… Margaritas… Martinis… you see a pattern here? Actually, those are just hobbies! Seriously, I’m fascinated by archeology (it was my Minor at University) and I love what’s happening in the world of science with all the innovations that are happening, medical discoveries, etc. And I’m a tech geek. I never would have guessed that I’d love gadgets so much. I suppose it’s the Star Trek fan in me!

Barbie’s books and other works:

Out now:

Voices of the Damned, an illustrated short horror story collection published by SST Publications. (Publishers Weekly: “…sensual in its brutality.” “…a delight for the darker senses.”) Each story is illustrated in full color by top artists in the horror genre, such as Clive Barker, Nick Percival, Daniele Serra, Vincent Sammy, Tara Bush, Steve McGinnis, Ben Bradford and Eric Gross.

Barbie Wilde - Female Cenobite with knife in Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

The Venus Complex, Barbie’s debut dark crime, diary-of-a-serial-killer novel, published by Comet Press. (Fangoria: “Wilde is one of the finest purveyors of erotically charged horror fiction around.”)

In pre-production:

A feature length horror film called Blue Eyes, based on a short story by Barbie. It’s co-written with Chris Alexander (Blood for Irina, Queen of Blood, Female Werewolf, Blood Dynasty, Space Vampire) and will be directed by Chris. Starring Nivek Ogre of Skinny Puppy.

Work-in-progress:

Film Script: “Zulu Zombies”.
New real life horror novel, working title: The Anatomy of Ghosts.

Plans for the future:

To find a publisher for graphic novels based on Barbie’s short stories “Sister Cilice” and “Zulu Zombies”.

The Offer (2017) - Barbie Wilde

In 2017, Barbie returned to acting after 17 years in The Offer, the first episode of the horror series, Dark Ditties, produced by Cult Film Screenings.

Barbie Wilde Social Media:

Barbie Wilde - Classic Beauty

Posted by Alan Smithee in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
WiHM: Interview with Rakefet Abergel of Jax in Love (2017)

WiHM: Interview with Rakefet Abergel of Jax in Love (2017)

Hey horror fans, Horrormadam here with a Women in Horror interview with the amazing stand-up comedienne, actor (Superbad, Just Go With It, and My Best Friend’s Girl), director (Girls on Girls), and writer (Jax in Love, Live) Rakefet Abergel. We are here to discuss the wonderful short film Jax in Love.
First, let me give you the premise:
A mysterious and lonely young woman, Jax (Rakefet Abergel) is traveling through the expansive desert of the American West, in search of some tangible connection, a kindred spirit or like-minded soul with whom she can bond. When her car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, her journey takes a dangerous turn, and we learn this seemingly sweet woman may not be who she seems at all. How far will she go for love? Will she make it out of the desert alive?
—Written by Nick Laskin
I really loved this film and apparently, I am not alone. The awards that are already pouring in are illuminating.
  • Best Actress in a Short — Nightmares Film Festival
  • Best Horror Short — Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival
  • Award of Merit — Best Shorts Competition (Leading Actress)
  • Award of Merit — Best Shorts Competition (Women Filmmakers)
  • Award of Commendation — Canada Shorts Film Festival
  • Best Thriller Short Nominee — Women in Horror Film Festival
  • Best of Fest Nominee — Sick Chick Flicks Film Festival
  • Best Actress Nominee — Independent Horror Movie Awards
JAX IN LOVE was directed by Academy Award Nominee (Best Short Film, Live Action, Seraglio (2000)) Colin Campbell and produced by Jory Weitz, the executive producer of Napoleon Dynamite. It also stars John Gammon (Corey and Lucas for the Win, The Middle), Ben Kacsandi (Rio, Please Tell Me I’m Adopted), Devi Veysey (Breaking Fat), and Laura Wiggins (Rings, Shameless).
I certainly do not want to give too much away but one of my favorite things about the film is the role reversal over what we normally see in these kinds of thrillers. So well acted and engaging, this horror short grabs you from the beginning and leaves you wanting more. It is all-inclusive as a short but the action made me hope that not only would it become a feature but hopefully a series. We need more of the main character out there. So let’s get to it.
House of Tortured Souls: My first question for Rakefet, what was your motivation while writing Jax in Love?
Rakefet Abergel: The whole idea stemmed from the desire to write something for myself that was dark and dramatic versus the comedy roles I was used to booking. I also wanted to cast myself in a part I would never get cast in just because of my type. I want to change the way we look at what a “leading lady” is.
HoTS: Are you a big fan of horror and what made you want to do a horror film?
RA: I actually grew up hating horror films. Lol. Not because they’re bad but because they are so good at scaring the crap out of me. And I don’t like to be scared! Of course, that begs the question as to why I made one, for which the only answer I can give is that it wasn’t intended to be a horror film. I didn’t even know it would become one. But based on test audience reactions I quickly realized that I had the genre wrong. I still don’t necessarily consider it a horror film, it has so different tones to it. But attending all these horror festivals has allowed me to watch more horror films then I’ve seen in my entire life combined and I realized that I have a place in my heart for horror now. I kinda get it now. The allure. Especially with the quality of the genre really changing now more than ever.
HoTS: Do you have any favorite horror films?
RA: I actually do love some horror films. Identity was one of my favorite. And The Sixth Sense. Split. Teeth was really good too. I liked the message. Get Out was incredible. I really like psychological horror. Not so much into all of the blood. But a good mind-sc4.
HoTS: It is Women in Horror Month, who are some of your female real life/ fiction influences in horror or other?
RA: All of the women filmmakers I’ve met over the last few months are so inspiring to me! As far as influences, I don’t know. I suppose I’m influenced by everything I’ve ever seen!
HoTS: You have played a lot of diverse roles. Do you have a favorite?
RA: Jax is probably one of my favorites. If not the favorite. As far as comedy, I really enjoyed playing Jodi Flooger on iCarly. That was a fun role. And getting to work with Adam Sandler in Just Go With It and wear a prosthetic nose was pretty cool too.
HoTS: Have you faced any difficulties being a woman in film?
RA: Sometimes as a woman in our society it’s hard to be taken seriously. That’s been something I’ve come up against. That our stories maybe aren’t as important as the ones men want to tell. That we are too emotional or sappy or feminist or whatever. But I don’t generally care that much about what other people think. Or I try not to. I experienced an inappropriate comment on my own set by a crew member. That was shocking. I was his boss. Paying him. And he decided to make a comment about my body and considered it to be a compliment. Unfortunately, since I didn’t want to jeopardize my film and we were on location and I couldn’t lose a crew member, I couldn’t do anything about it. And that was very frustrating. Even when a woman is in power, she can still be harassed and have no real recourse. It’s very unfortunate.
HoTS: In the movie, can you tell me about the tattoo?
RA: Yes! It’s a heart with a set of car keys inside it. It symbolizes Jax’s love for the road and her quest for love and how she goes about it. We give out replicas at the screenings and people really love the idea, so that’s fun. It was designed by my former editor and forever friend Lindsay McKenna!
HoTS: Is this going to be made into a feature?
RA: Possibly. Or a series. I haven’t decided yet. But I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Jax.
HoTS: I love that a great stand up artist went so dark, any plans for more along the same lines?
RA: Thanks for the compliment! 🙂 Yes! I love dark. It’s why I wanted to act. I love the drama. Comedy is fun too, but this is a more satisfying genre for me. I’m writing two very, very dark screenplays at the moment that I hope to also star in, so I’m sure there will be more where Jax came from.
I really recommend that you check this film out. It was a lot of fun and I so enjoyed Rakefet’s performance in it. I want to thank her for taking the time to talk with me and to let her know the darker the better for us! And dear readers always keep this question in mind: How far would YOU go for love?

Rakefet Abergel's Jax in Love (2017)

Posted by Alan Smithee in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
WiHM: Celebrating Women In Horror Month with Katt Shea

WiHM: Celebrating Women In Horror Month with Katt Shea

With a career as long as your arm and a keen investment in varied genres, Katt Shea has been a popular female actress and filmmaker to film fans for nearly forty years.

Her first acting job on screen was as Rita in the TV movie The Asphalt Cowboy in 1980, and from then on, she acted in films like My Tutor, Scarface, Preppies, and Psycho III.

Stripped to Kill (1987) Written and directed by Katt SheaIn 1987, Shea then stepped behind the camera and became the writer (alongside Andy Reuben) and director on her first film Stripped To Kill (which got a sequel two years later with Stripped To Kill 2: Live Girls). Stripped To Kill was a dramatic crime horror focused on the investigation of the death of a girl in a strip club and one detective’s need to go undercover as a stripper to solve the crime. It has an oddly beautiful mix of stripping and crime solving for the fans of 80s films.

She continued her directing career with another film about the world of strippers with the vampiric romp, Dance of the Damned and Streets (a film about runaways in Venice being hunted by a psychotic cop).

Dance of the Damned (1989) Written and directed by Katt SheaIn 1992, Shea would become an even bigger name worldwide, with the release of her popular sexual thriller Poison Ivy. The film starred Hollywood child darling Drew Barrymore (now nearly a young woman) alongside the likes of Tom Skerritt, Sara Gilbert, and Cheryl Ladd. The film focused on a sexually alluring femme fatale, her friendship with another confused young woman, and the lengths she will go to to have anything she desired.

Poison Ivy was so popular with audiences, it spawned three sequels with heavy female influences on either the script or direction each time.

Following the success of Poison Ivy, Shea’s next project was co-writing and directing the low budget Roger Corman produced made-for-television film Last Exit To Earth. This was a film, amidst their formidable friendship and filmmaking career and Corman has even stated in the past when interviewed regarding Shea:

She is a talented director. She’s particularly good with actors, having been an actress herself. She’s taught herself about the camera and has gotten better with each picture.

Streets (1990) Written and directed by Katt SheaThree years later, however, horror fans were treated to the fun and meaningful film Carrie 2: The Rage.

Shea directed this enjoyable teen follow up to De Palma’s 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie. The film even starred Amy Irving, who returned as Sue Snell for the second time and introduced the impressive Emily Bergl in her first film role.

Though Carrie 2: The Rage received mixed reviews, personally (as a fan of adaptations of King’s books) I can appreciate this film more than the 2002 remake with Angela Bettis.

Since beginning her career, Shea has always impressed others with her kindness and care. This has led to her career as an acting coach and has made a lucrative career as such by helping prepare new as well as established actors for roles within the industry. She has continued to sometimes make and act in films over the years and never regrets a moment of it.

The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999) / Kate Shea as the Deputy DA

I like every single film I’ve ever made , I really do. Other people call them exploitation films, but to me what I was doing was never exploitative. I always had a strong point of view about my intention; it was never just to make money or to titillate or to horrify. I always had my purpose and I made those movies myself. I can’t imagine sitting around and trying to piece together elements that I think other people want to see. That would be so boring!
—Katt Shea

Katt Shea

Posted by Michelle MIDI Peifer in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
WiHM: A Matter of Respect

WiHM: A Matter of Respect


February in my life is a pretty active month. Not only is it the shortest month of the year, we also get to celebrate my birthday, my sons birthday, and geographically this is supposed to be the month where we get the most snowfall and I happen to love snow! But this is also a very special time of year for horror fans as it is Women in Horror Month. As a writer for House of Tortured Souls, I could very easily pick one name of a well-deserved list of actresses and give you a couple of highlights of her career and a quick biography, but as the founder and CEO of House of Tortured Souls, I feel it is my responsibility – and my honor – to generalize the importance of the celebration of Women in Horror Month itself.

From the beginning of horror films women always played a much more important role that people actually give credit for. In the earlier days of horror cinema, the women usually portrayed poor and defenseless women who were attacked by a creature of the night. Usually helpless and seemingly brainless, they almost never spoke back or acted to defend themselves, reflecting society’s view of women at the time.

Through the years, however, the female role and presence on screen became larger as women’s roles in society changed. And as their roles changed, the characters (and even names of the actresses) became iconic, ultimately being being dubbed Screen Queens. At first, these roles were primarily in slasher films, where often attractive buxom young ladies let loose with glass shattering screams while being attacked and murdered – usually topless during a shower or bedroom scene. You always remembered the scene and the face.

As the popularity of the Scream Queens grew, so did the role of women in horror – on screen and off. Female leads became stronger on screen, and women who watched these films were inspired to go into horror. In fact, these immense changes in the way that women were portrayed in horror soon inspired women to branch into other areas of horror cinema. Women no longer went only for on screen roles but also for behind the scenes roles as writers, directors, producers, makeup artists, and virtually ever other aspect of horror filmmaking.

Now, in 2017, many Scream Queens who first started in the industry at a young age are being honored by lifetime achievement awards, and those who stay behind the camera are making groundbreaking films, shorts, and TV shows.

Scream Queens will always have a place in horror cinema, but there’s another change in the on screen female characters in the horror industry. Women have gone from solely being the victim to sometimes being the killer. Along with the other changes in the industry, horror films have again changed up the role of women characters. The tables have turned, and horror movies will never be the same. As for the women in the industry are concerned, from film to TV and all aspects involved, the female presence is very strong and very welcomed.

It’s nice to see these talented women getting their notoriety and respect.

As I sit back and reflect, many names cross my mind, names that helped lay the foundations for what has been built and for what is yet to come. Some of these names are:


These are but a few the iconic women in horror cinema! All of these women have, in one way or another, brought a part of them to the silver screen and made a huge impact on not only me, but also on the world of horror fans.

I'm very proud to be an avid horror fan, and I'm doubly proud to be a supporter of the Women in Horror Month.

You have a lot to be proud of, ladies! Much respect!!

Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in EDITORIALS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
WiHM: Pam Grier

WiHM: Pam Grier

Pam Grier, Women in Horror Month
When you first think of Women in Horror, you might not think of Pam Grier. Pam is more famous for her early career in exploitation cinema than in horror. However, she has had roles in several horror movies and is well known to most horror fans. February is not only Women in Horror Month, it is also Black History Month, so it seemed the perfect time shine a spotlight on Pam.
Pam's career started in the early 70s when she was cast by Jack Hill in two “women in prison” films. The 70s were the time of exploitation films, and the women in prison film was a sleazy and popular subgenre. These films lead to a long association with director Jack Hill and exploitation films, including two of her more famous early films, Coffy and Foxy Brown. It also lead to sharing the screen on multiple occasions with horror icon and all around great guy Sid Haig.
Pam Grier in Jackie Brown
Exploitation films of the era were controversial in about every way possible. The women in prison films were criticized for their portrayal of women and the violence against women. It's hard to argue that the films generally presented women characters in a good light. However with Pam Grier, the genre found a strong woman, cable of going toe to toe with men and even headline her own films. With Coffy in 1973 Pan became the first African American, female lead in an action film.
More films in the blackspolitation genre followed, they were all controversial at the time for perpetuating black stereotypes. While a lot, if not all of that is true, it also gave rise, and jobs to many black actors and directors who otherwise might not have found jobs. Still the criticism almost certainly hurt and limited Pam's career at the time. However today many look back more favorably on Pam's early career. They see her as a strong female, willing to do what it takes, and fully able of kicking ass on her own.
It was also in 1973 that Pam made her horror debut in Scream Blacula Scream. This was a sequel to the popular film Blacula, and part of the genre that has been dubbed Blackspolitaion horror. While still displaying some unfortunate black and gay stereotypes, Blacula was listed by it's lead William Marshall, and is considered one of the better films of the genre. In Scream Blacula Scream, the titular bloodsucker is revived and quickly falls in love with voodoo queen Pam Grier. I can't say I blame him.. Blacula and it's sequel have attained cult status, and Scream Blacula Scream put Pam squarely into the hearts of true horror fans.
Ms. Grier spends most of the rest of the 70s making exploitation films such as Foxy Brownand Friday Foster. In the 80s she delves again into the horror genre, with films like The Vindicator, (very) loosely based on the Frankenstein story, and an adaptation of Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. Exploitation cinema is rapidly winding down and Pam finds work in more mainstream film and television, including a recurring role on Miami Vice. Her roles, even though more mainstream, aren't as high profile.
The 90s saw a major revival for Pam, with roles in genre favorites Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, Mars Attacks, and John Carpenter's Escape from LA. While none of them are strictly horror films, they put her back in front of horror fans. In 2001, she teamed with Carpenter again for Ghosts of Mars, a sci fi/horror re-imagining of his classic Assault on Precinct 13. That same year she also appeared in the urban horror film Bonesalongside rapper Snoop Dogg and a young Katharine Isabelle.
Pam Grier is still active today although she hasn't appeared in a horror film since the early 2000s. She now holds two honorary PhDs and is still the strong beautiful woman her fans remember from the 70s. Those films – and Pam's characters – may be controversial, but she was a role model for all women and for black women especially. Horror and exploitation films have a history of treating women with little or no respect. More often than not they are consigned as the victim, or just to provide sex appeal by appearing nude on film. While Pam did do her share of nude scenes, she was never the helpless victim. She fought back, against men and women, many times along. Foxy Brown, Coffy, and Friday Fosterwere strong women who did what they had to do to survive and to protect their loved ones. But Pam was more than just someone who played a strong character on screen. In real life she was just as strong.
In 1988 Pam was diagnosed with Stage Four Cancer. She was reportedly given only 18 months to live, but like Coffy and Foxy, she didn't give up. She fought and survived and is now cancer free. She credits eastern medicines, but how much had to simply be her will to fight on?
In 2011 she released a memoir, Foxy: My Life in Three Acts. In it Pam reveals that she was raped as a child of six years old and again at age 18. She was assaulted a third time but managed to fight off her attacker. From being victimized as a child, she rose to become the epitome of a strong woman on screen because Pam Grier was a strong woman in real life. She survived rape, she survived cancer, and her career survived the downfall of the blacksploitation film craze. I am proud to call myself a Pam Grier fan and honored to do this humble spotlight on her for Women in Horror Month.
Posted by Allen Alberson in TRIBUTE, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments