I am a feminist and I love horror movies. These two truths about me are often at war with one another, in that I frequently have to make a decision when it comes to the films I watch. Sometimes I choose to silence the feminist within in order to enjoy a brilliantly bloody slasher that's dripping with male gaze and doesn't present a single woman I can relate to among a cast of babes. Sometimes I have to abandon a film that's by all accounts terrifying and gory because I can tell five minutes in that it's going to make me feel bad about myself simply by watching it.
The best horror films don't present this dilemma. The best horror films - like any film, like any narrative in any medium - can be shocking and devastating and honest, and still speak to an audience larger than that of white males aged 18-34. The best stories are universal, and a film that can scare across demographics is a hell of a lot more effective than one that only freaks out a small percentage of the population.
And the reason this dilemma exists in the first place is simple: most horror movies are made by men. Not bad men, not necessarily sexist men, just men who have one point of view, and that point of view is often exclusive. That's not to say men aren't capable of making kickass horror films that reach outside of gender norms and speak to me as a feminist: Inside, Slither, The Descent, Teeth, Silence of the Lambs, Alien, You're Next - these movies were all written and directed by men. But they're notable because they're the exception.
There's an easy solution to this problem of a singular point of view in horror films: bring in more points of view.
We need more women working in horror.
Hell, let's make this personal. I need more women working in horror. I need to see myself represented in my favorite genre. I need to recognize something within when I watch a slasher or a monster movie or a psych-horror trip. I need to be able to scare myself silly without turning off the part of my brain that cries, "This wasn't made for you. This has nothing to do with you. Your enjoyment of this film is an unintended byproduct of the studio and filmmakers' objective." I guess one solution is jumping in the ring myself, but I'm not a filmmaker. I know there are countless, brilliant women out there who are filmmakers, who have something to say that I want to hear. I'm calling on those women.
We launched The Search for the 26th Director of ABCs of Death 2 seven weeks ago, and we've received 78 entries to date. So far, only seven of our competitors are women. I want more.
We have some amazing directors on the roster already (Kristina Buozyte, Jen and Sylvia Soska), but I want more.
This contest is an incredible opportunity to gain an audience - whether or not you're one of our finalists, your short will get eyeballs, because the ABCs of Death 2 website is widely seen across the globe. If you are a finalist, your short will be heavily promoted on Badass Digest, Alamo Drafthouse, Fantastic Fest and Drafthouse Films channels. If you're our winner, your film will be shown on theater screens, in festivals and in living rooms all over the world. One of last year's competitors - not the winner, mind you - is one of the directors for this year's sequel. We created this contest because we wanted to give a real chance to struggling filmmakers out there.
I can only imagine how tough it is being a woman working in the horror film industry. How deep-seated and institutionalized inequality hinders your opportunities at every turn. Here's your chance. Here's a real opportunity to break free of those hindrances. Do it for me, and for every woman like me, feminists and horror fans who are tired of making a choice between our values and our entertainment. We need you. But most of all, do it for yourself - because you could really win this thing.
Go here to enter The Search for the 26th Director. There are four weeks left in the competition.