I am not the only one. But a community is needed.

Another great moment brought to you by me and Elm Street’s First Lady, Heather Langenkamp!

Giving myself the task of concluding this series was a hassle. A hassle I was sick of having. Practicing the basic behaviors that note insanity, the repeating of the same actions expecting different results proved one beacon of difference in revelation: an opportunity to address the lack of a diversified presence in horror fandom.

When I tackled this issue with “Graveyard Shift Sisters: In Search of Black Women Horror Directors,” I knew my focus was narrow for purposes of a coherent essay. I didn’t quite imagine that digging through various online search engines and the limited combinations in the likeness of “black”, “women”, “horror”, “fans” would render me with such limited material as to just eventually and easily be referred to mostly, my own work.

Zena, bloggess at Real Queen of Horror addresses the frustration in the positioning of Black womanhood outside of horror fandom,much in the way that reminded me of how Aisha Tyler’s credibility in gaming culture was questioned and her tasteful response. It is absolutely absurd that Black women have to make public service announcements acknowledging the legitimacy of their “unlikely” interests. I feel compelled to say this here ad nauseum because this experience is a prevailing issue, and dare I gander, the reason this very website exists.

To carve into the niche I hold so dear, I fiddled with the idea of opening a space for Black women and other women of color to share their personal experiences and love for horror. To create another challenge to popular perceptions of nerdom, fandom, and most importantly Black female identity in regards to horror. Graveyard Shift Sisters: Purging The Black Female Horror Fan From The Margins is my attempt at digging a little deeper into the negotiations and individually Black women and other women of color stand firm on with their love for horror. The journalists, novelists, cosplayers, convention goers, movie fans, I want us to tell our stories and challenge horror fandom to be just as progressive and transformative as some of our favorite horror texts.

The term Graveyard Shift Sisters came on a witty whim from my prior essay. But thinking about it a bit more, I realized that the graveyard shift itself is that undesirable time to work and be. In a society of 9 to 5 visibility and for some, normalcy, the graveyard shift is held by those willing to take the slot no one really wants, and for some, not given a reasonable choice. It’s a space where the invisible dwell, the marginalized. Much akin to the criticism found in Black feminist thought about the feminist movement’s second wave, Graveyard Shift Sisters have always been in that slot.

B-movie bombshell business woman and hardcore horror enthusiast Monique Dupreeonce mentioned in an interview “how many young black women have come my way asking for help & advice“. What has been an important lesson for me on this Black Girl (Horror) Nerds journey is coming to a full realization that there is a multitude of women of color who see the value of their Black womanhood within the horror community. Feeling weird most of my life because at 12, I was clamoring for a Tales From The Darkside marathon for my Saturday afternoon’s, I dared to imagine other weirdos. The sisters who were shunned by peers, worried their parents, and wanted a Halloween costume drenched in blood. I feel overwhelmingly fortunate that you all exist and I dare further to be a part of making us visible here. Graveyard Shift Sisters is not owned by me, but by us all.

Ashlee is an overly critical media writer from Philadelphia. She works with Women in Horror Recognition Month,  Lil Filmmakers Inc., and is the founder of Philly Loves Women In Horror as well as Graveyard Shift Sisters. More of her musings and stalker information can be found at her personal blog, quirksandsplatters.com
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Ashlee consumes media and popular culture through a critical lens and an academic background in Liberal Arts. Her particular love for horror films has translated into panels and presentations at conferences throughout the US, curating film screenings, work with the Viscera Film Festival, Women in Horror Month, and published work in Paracinema magazine. Saddened by the lack of visible representation and celebration of women of color in her beloved genre, she created Graveyard Shift Sisters, a community blog/website that highlights Black women horror fans, filmmakers, writers, artists, and the actresses in these macabre cinema staples that often go unsung.