LONDON – When Ruth Paxton was 14 years old, her father sneaked her to a cinema in Scotland to watch a celebratory rerun of “”The ExorcistThe classic 1973 film about a girl possessed by a demon.
“He was really excited about us seeing it,” Paxton said recently, pointing out that the film was once banned. from UK video publisher. “But when we walked out, I said, ‘That’s trash!'”
Maybe it doesn’t have enough blood for her hobby, she added, laughing.
Now, Paxton, 38, is trying to confuse audiences with his own story of possession. Her feature debut,”A party, ” About a girl who refuses to eat, to go to the US cinema and on-demand services on Friday. Writing in The New York Times, Lena Wilson praising the film’s “slow recording magic” and make it Critics’ Choice.
“A Banquet” is the latest in a series of recently popular British and Irish horror films directed by women for the first time. It follows Rose Glass’s 2021 film “Saint Maud“And” by Romola Garai “Amulet“From 2020, as well as” by Prano Bailey-Bond “Censorship“The story of a strict film classification official who ended in a bloodbath at the set.
Much more is being rolled out, including “You are not my mother,“March 25, about a young girl in Ireland whose mother begins to act strange, and” by Charlotte ColbertShe willIn it a woman travels to Scotland to recover from a mastectomy and ends up transmitting the spirits of local witches.
Alan Jones, co-founder of FrightFest, Britain’s most prominent horror film festival, says female directors have worked in the genre since its inception, but over the past five years their numbers in the UK and Ireland have increased. They brought “a female perspective to the old clichés,” says Jones.
One reason for the boom, he said, is that horror films are more likely to debut with female directors than other genres. “You don’t need stars, or even that much money,” Jones said. “You just need a really good idea.”
Last week, four of those early filmmakers, all in their 30s — Paxton, Bailey-Bond, Dolan and Colbert — gathered on a video call to discuss what drew the eye. how they come to this genre, what they bring as women and horror movies. can bring about social change.
These are edited excerpts from their conversation.
This is not the first wave of female horror directors. Why do you think another one is on the rise now, in the UK and Ireland?
PRNO BAILEY-BONDS It’s not just women who terrify: We have Rob Savage and Remi Weekes and Mark Jenkin. But the conversations around diversity in this industry are now allowing all the women who’ve wanted to be in horror for years to finally make movies.
KATE DOLAN All the female directors that I admired growing up, like Kathryn Bigelow and Claire Denis and Mary Harron, almost all of them have done at least one horror movie. It is not necessary that women are now attracted to horror; they just have a chance.
In the 1980s, England had a list of horror movies – so-called “new video” – has been effectively banned from home viewing, as shown in “Moderators”. Some horror fans talk about making their way through that list as a way to get into the genre. What is your route?
DOLAN When I was growing up, I watched a lot of horror movies and I think that was really interesting for me at the time, because that’s the kind of genre where female protagonists survive and win – “she last girl”. Being a teenage girl is truly empowering.
BAILEY-BONDS Similarly, I am completely drawn to this genre, to the extreme things that take place in the film. I think at first it’s part of the thrill – understanding that when you’re done watching, then you have to go upstairs to bed and you think something is going to grab your ankle.
But I never thought of becoming a horror director until someone watched my show shoot and said I was one. I remember starting the call, “Am I right?” But if people want to pigeonhole you, that can sometimes help, because there are so many filmmakers out there, so how do you make yourself stand out?
CHARLOTTE COLBERT I love how there is a great artistic freedom in the horror genre that is perhaps not available in other genres. Obviously, in a TV series, you can’t have a worm growing out of someone’s nostril, or something so bold or artistic. But real horror has incredible freedom in terms of images and characters, and what is acceptable and believable.
PAXTON Growing up, I watched a lot of horror movies, but mainly because they had a lot of light porn and I wanted to watch horror movies!
But I think I’ve always liked to look at the dark side of things, and that’s partly down to my own experience. The scariest experiences I’ve ever had in my head.
Even with the boom in the UK across all genders, what do you feel women, specifically, are bringing about in terror?
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PAXTON With “A Banquet,” my route was the experiences of messy eating, and then the effect that had on the family around me, and especially the dynamics with my mother, who want me to eat when I’m not.
I really don’t know what I bring, except for my own preferences. I’ve had a strange realization of death since I was a kid – I wrote my last will and will when I was 8 – but I don’t know if it had anything to do with his sexuality. me or not.
DOLAN You can only bring your own life experience to what you create. As a woman full of horror, it makes sense to bring those experiences to life as well.
My next project is hopefully about women’s body autonomy in Ireland, because we’ve got a fight for reproductive rights this. I want to make a movie about my experiences and struggles.
Is horror better than other genres to explore those issues?
COLBERT Personally, I think it’s a great and creative way to solve social problems. And what’s interesting is that teen boys are often the biggest audience, so it’s a great way to convey a feminist image to people who don’t necessarily care. It can really have a lasting impact on the next generation.
DOLAN It’s interesting when you say it, because there’s a great book called “Men, Women, and Chainsaws” by one scholar, Carol J. Girl,” basically. Therefore, the audience must feel her fear of being chased by the killer, which makes them think of the female character more.
We’re also seeing a wave of worldwide acclaimed horror movies, including Movies by Jordan Peele from the US; French director Julia Ducournau won the top prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival with “Titane. “Is there anything that makes British and Irish horror different?
BAILEY-BONDS Of course, Britain is really good at folk horror – “The Wicker Man”. I don’t necessarily think that’s where we need to stay, but there does seem to be something in our culture and history that caters to that younger generation. And it feels like it belongs in this land a little bit.
The same goes for the story of the Gothic haunted house. We’re good at that, and if you think about England and its architecture, a big spooky house with a maid really fits.
COLBERT Well, somehow the landscapes here, especially in the misty Scotland, feel very attached to stories and myths. Even in the UK, sometimes I feel like you can shoot any landscape and creatures of the past will appear.
BAILEY-BONDS That reminds me of American horror movies like “Poltergeist” which explores heritage sites with Native American burial sites. It’s a similar relationship with your past and your fear of that land, or guilt about that land, and how the land holds its memories. With horror, you can exploit all of that.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/18/movies/female-horror.html ‘A woman full of horror’: Female directors discuss their profession