Months back I published a writing on my companion Horror media site SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET regarding how I feel the ‘final Girl’ syndrome is long over due to be replaced. I submit it is a marketing ploy that has become the lazy way for some film makers to tell their stories. With the recent events in the UK regarding the murder of Sarah Everhard and the resulting unfortunate Police difficulties that are happening now, the treatment of women is the horror genre is due for a change. This is not ‘ lets join cancel culture’ attempt to do a cosmetic change.
At this writing film companies such as Severin films and Spectravision have cut ties with film maker Richard Stanley after stories began of poor treatment of women. The cries of all the ‘ freedom encroached’ people that they are simply stories and innocent until proven guilty ring hollow. When a company removed backing from an artist or performer it not because they believe guilty, it is financial business decision that has been done since capitalism was born. The companies are taking a stand and if someone has a problem with a stance than they can take their purchasing power elsewhere. The real fact is that most of these ‘freedom screaming’ people done purchase enough to keep companies going plus they love the sound of their own voices even if they have no idea what real loss can be like. The internet becomes their soapbox to find site of like minded people which is their choice.
If a change or an awareness in attitude particularly in the young who are significant part of the horror audience can be done and should be done in film, books and related media. The majority of victims in the film are women, young women although that is changing somewhat to include all people. The worst offenders are the ‘slasher genre’ that tends to perpetuate the idea that young woman are to be preyed upon by the ‘wronged male’ This is not new information for those that have knowledge of genre history.
What can be done I am happy to say that a recent crop of independent film still has female participation beyond the point of victim window dressing. The writers , producers have fashioned interesting stories beyond the tank topped, sweat stained running gal.
One the best examples is the recent film is FAR FROM THE APPLE TREE (2020) and SACRILEDGE (2019) both that I suggest people see. These are tow examples that may not be genre benders or get landmarks but to me it is a symptom of a change that can happen in Horror film. Today everyone thinks they can make a film and some do a good job of it. The technology is readily available to those able to find the resources. Let us not forget that film is a story and ideas that should keep pace .
Progessive genre film festivals have been implimenting an “F” RATING on submitted work. The higher the rating the positive impact of the female presence is shown along with amount behind the camera.
Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan said The ‘medium is the message’ which has been construed as a concept that ‘packages ‘ a story. I believe it is that genre people forget the nuts and bolts of ideas and are more enamoured with the act of film making than the content. Some people are more in love with the act of texting and posting than the content.
Today is great time to take a step forward in a genre that prides itself on adapting to society. Film as an Art from desperately need to change. To not play ‘Lip service’ through award nominations for females both white and non white. We speak we want to change yet nothing happens. Great Art forms take stands.