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Bloody Women - Interview With Horror Fan Rachel Allen
By James Whittington, Friday 18th March 2011

Rachel Allen PicRachel Allen is a thirty-six year old who lives with her Bengal cat, Hobbs. A huge horror fan (Rachel, not Hobbs) she is also AA Home Cook Of The Year and writes for her own blog. As part of our connection with the recent Bloody Women event at the Birds Eye View 2011 Film Festival we chat to her about how horror has played such an important role in her life and her honest opinion of women in horror cinema.

HC: Do you recall the first horror movie you saw and was it this one that stirred your interest in the genre?

RA: The first horror movie I rented out (underage and in secret) was Killer Klowns From Outer Space I was thirteen and it was a demented comedy horror complete with humans being turned into cotton candy and being sucked to death by evil alien klowns (sp). It had a great black sense of humour which I related to, and definitely helped form my early interest in anything with bizarre deaths...it also gave me a lifelong (sensible) fear of clowns.

HC: Does the rest of your family share your enthusiasm for horror?

RA: My family are very against horror movies, and would never have let me watch half of the movies I did if they had known! My sister and I, however are united in our love of the gore, and will often be the only people in the theatre laughing during on-screen death-throes.

HC: When you tell people about your love of horror how do they react?

RA: Some people suddenly seem to smell something bad, and mutter that wouldn't I prefer to watch Mamma Mia instead. Other people seem to think it’s quite novel, and expect me to dress up as a vampire! (Which I don’t by the way)

HC: What do you think it is about the horror genre that makes you such a fan?

RA: I enjoy the mix of dark humour and envelope pushing ideas that is the backbone of the horror genre. Additionally, I like to watch annoying teenagers die on-screen in imaginative ways.

HC: Why do you think this genre appeals to more women more than ever before?

RA: The internet has helped create a world de-sensitised to sex and violence, we are privy to more real and imagined horrors than ever before. Watching films that depict gore and violence help us construct ‘what-if’ scenarios through escapism.

HC: Do you think that horror movies now give a fair representation of females as few have the clichéd “female victim” character unless of course they’re being ironic a la Scream movies and the like?

RA: I think the rise of Sarah Connor-esque characters is fantastic. When I was growing up, there were no ‘kick-ass’ heroines, only princesses. The movies today do give a much more balanced representation of women, than the scream queen victim of old. The remake of I Spit On Your Grave was a good example of this. Although the original was leery titillation, this anti-sexual version focused on the innate strength of a women brutalised by ‘normal’ men.

HC: Are there any horror films that you thought went to far with their content or themes?

RA: I am a firm believer that as an adult if you do not wish to view something you should walk out, rather than submit yourself to something you feel goes ‘too far’. Or suggest ‘banning’ or ‘harsh censorship’. I walked out halfway through Martyrs as I felt it pretended to use a ‘high-brow’ concept to sell ‘low-brow’ imagery and acting. I considered my time better spent at the bar!

HC: Would you like to see more women writing and directing horror movies?

RA: Most definitely! There are far too few women directing in the horror industry and I think a feisty, imaginative female perspective would add style to a genre that is fast becoming eaten up by ‘torture porn’.

HC: What’s your favourite horror movie and why?

RA: One of my favourite films is Society which combines some genuinely horrific flesh melting orgies, commentary on society and bawdy humour. It goes done very well with pizza and beer!

HC: Rachel Allen, thank you very much.


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