Childhood reflection is merely a collection of moments. It’s the brain’s way of scrap booking. As you get older, you’re more likely to sustain a long-term memory of both joyful experiences and the embarrassingly painful ones; hitting every, minute detail branch on the way down. I think it’s rare that little eyes in a big world hold that kind of memory overload.
The Dream Master made me believe women and girls had societal value; it helped me make the connections to what some of us now know as the horror film trope, the final girl. In short, it branded my feminist tendencies. The intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality I found to be challenged, negotiated, and repackaged in these films. In college, I re-imagined the these films in theoretical work. The hundreds of pages I drank just for a degree in the humanities helped me understand the value media texts had on our personhood and society. I nerded this stuff up so much, I went on to get another degree because I couldn’t stop talking about horror in academia inside of a classroom. I watched many, many horror titles and wanted to continue to give horror films the validity they deserved discussing them with peers and superiors that remained apprehensive at best. With some success, one of my more open-minded film studies professors lauded my efforts (she was sick of reading papers on Family Guy and The Simpsons) and a letter of recommendation noting how I helped her re-consider horror films through my writing assignments from a professorial convert who was my Captain Doreen Lewis.
The genuine extension of camaraderie was overwhelming. What I took from that brief exchange was a proposal of a cultural shift I wanted to see happen. There is no doubt that Black folks love some horror movies, but I became deeply curious about the Black women who were treading the terrain of horror filmmaking, critical writing, journalism, cosplaying, blogging, and fan convention hopping. The geeks or nerds if you will; the Black women who go beyond casually seeing the mainstream theatrical released thriller on opening night.
The Black Girl (Horror) Nerds series that will transpire on this site throughout the month of October, a highlight of a few of the underrepresented Black women who have made a space for themselves in the horror community, is my first widely paraded baby. And my clarion call. For the sisters and brothers who walk the carpets of Monster Mania’s, Horrorhound’s, and Days of the Dead’s, it’s inevitable I quote MJ:
You are not alone…
Zena, The Real Queen of Horror: http://www.realqueenofhorror.com/
Ashlee is currently the Sponsorship Director for Women in Horror Month and the administrative badass behind the Viscera Organization. She’s also the “horror academic nerd” co-host for the Women in Horror Month podcast and runs an annual horror film screening event in her native land of Philadelphia. She also digs vegan desserts and the idea of teaching a class about horror movies. More of her musings can be found at www.quirksandsplatters.com