What’s the state of the horror genre as you perceive it now? ^ I have a couple of different feelings about that. I’m happy to see all those big “Hollywood” horror movies out there now, even though I don’t particularly like a lot of them. It’s just nice to see horror getting out there again . . . and people actually going to see horror again. As far as the low budget thing goes, there’s a lot of “not-so-good” horror that’s not very good for the low budget genre.
How do you feel about the evolution of the role of women in the genre? ^ I’m actually liking the direction women’s roles in horror are going in. It used to be, pretty much throughout the silent era and into the early horror movies to the modern era, women were mainly victims. Recently, we’ve seen women often as the “monster” or in stronger roles instead of just the victim who falls down and hurts herself when the monster comes to kill her. I’m real happy with roles that women have gotten lately. They’re not as “fluffy” as they used to be.
Do you think that female fans of horror are attracted to the genre for different reasons than male fans? ^ I don’t know. Maybe not for different reasons, but maybe different gradations of the same reasons . . . Being on Pretty-Scary we’re learning about why women are attracted to it. A lot of women like the blood and gore and the men do too. Maybe, psychologically, they like to see men get killed a little more! (laughs) I’m seeing a lot more posts like that recently. I do think women like the more psychologically scary movies as opposed to the out and out slasher movies. It touches something in the psyche, I guess, rather than just this senseless violence.
Have you seen anything recently, either big-budget or “B” grade, that has really blown you away? ^ I’m probably going to get pilloried for this, but I was a big fan of The Grudge. I was really terrified by that movie. There’s something about a little kid that freaks me out to begin with. Seeing that little kid just run around and make those weird noises . . .
It seems like the Japanese started filling the gap left when the Italians stopped making good horror movies. ^ Yeah. Exactly. I really did enjoy “The Grudge.”
How did the Pretty-Scary website come about? ^ I still honestly have no clue! We were just talking about that not too long ago. I remember Jen Whildin (Pretty-Scary co-founder) was talking one day about wanting to do something for women and she said, “Who wants to go in on it with me?” and of course Heidi Martinuzzi (infamous indie horror journalist) and I are big joiners and said, “We do!” Honestly, that’s how it came about. Jen found me at a “Buffy” convention I went to. She was surfing around and I guess my name was on there somewhere and we got to talking. I honestly have no idea how Heidi and I met up, but she was there too and we started Pretty-Scary from there.
Is Pretty-Scary meeting your expectations or your vision of what you want it to be? ^ So far, yes. Right now, it’s pretty much a meeting place where women who like horror can come and feel safer than they would at other horror movie sites. I know from experience that a lot of horror movie sites I’ve gone on and joined the forums that as soon as you let them know you’re a woman, you start getting private messages like “What do you look like?” and “Are you married?” It’s really annoying and you can’t have a decent conversation without it turning to sexual connotations. We steer clear of that on Pretty-Scary. Women can come there and not be hit on immediately and not be afraid to speak their minds without being told that they’re “a good little girl” which is another problem we’ve had.
Do you think that kind of behavior is saying something about men who are into the genre or the internet or is it just an issue between men and women in general? ^ I think it’s something about men and women in general. If you get men and women together at a bar there’s going to be sexual tension there. So, it’s pretty much the same on the internet. Except on the internet you have to have that anonymity that also gives you a lot more “gumption,” I guess, to pick on somebody without having to back it up. So, you have the bullies on there who are sitting there lonely and miserable so they decide to pick on everybody else. So, if a woman comes on they can hit on her or try to make her feel bad about being a woman and I think that’s a problem with the internet all a round.
Now, Pretty-Scary has a calendar for sale of scantily clad female horror celebrities. Without necessarily going so far as to say Pretty-Scary is a feminist site, how do you justify that in the context of a site that considers itself a “safe place for women?” ^ I’m a big fan of the idea that nobody can exploit you but yourself. Julie Strain has become one of my favorite people. She does her stuff on her own terms. If she wants to just stay in her backyard and film something, she says, “I’ll be totally nude, but it has to be right here, you have to give me this much, you have to do this, you have to do that . . .” and it’s all on her terms. As long as you’re happy with the way you look and you have no problem doing it, I have no problem with you being completely naked or whatever you want to do. I think that is more woman empowerment than running around saying that we’re not allowed to be naked because why should we be ashamed of it? Even though it’s mostly for titillation, and I do realize that, but if you’re doing it for you and for your own reasons you should be allowed to.
Get the rest of the interview in part three of AMY LYNN BEST: INSIDE THE WORLD OF OUTSIDER ART>>>