Abstract >>

In the dead linen in cupboards,
I seek the supernatural
– Gaston Bachelard1

For a female filmmaker to forge space in a male dominated filmmaking industry and make a horror film on her own terms she has to be tenacious and possessed with the belief that she can go head to head with the boys and stay the distance. In spite of her own track records and business acumen, the female filmmaker needs to be a strong agent of determination, and willing to advocate for other women in the same situation. To champion her own vision she has to employ a survival mode – she has to be the last one standing.

In recent years the international film industry’s attention has turned to highlighting the lack of gender equality in filmmaking. There has been much discussion on ways to increase production led by female filmmakers, and continuing pressure applied to various film festivals to exhibit their finished works. Whether or not this will be successful will be determined in the next five years – if and when we begin to see new films emerge produced by female teams. At the most recent Toronto International Film festival in 2016, Telefilm Canada (Canada’s main film financier) “announced they have formed a joint working group to secure a more ‘representative and diversified’ feature film portfolio with the goal to better reflect gender and diversity by 2020.”2 In Australia, this disunion has already been noticed and some Australian funding bodies are now compliant; Screen Australia’s recent “Gender Matters: Brilliant Stories” initiative received 334 submissions3 and funded 58 projects. Screen NSW has also pledged to achieve 50:50 gender equity in key creative roles by the year 2020.4 It is an exciting time to be a female filmmaker in Australia and beyond, but judgment needs to be reserved until these noble intentions morph into a finished screen production that benefits the female filmmaking team that have birthed it, coupled with many more female stories represented on screen.

Prying open spaces to tell female stories should be easy; one might argue that in 2016 this shouldn’t need to be addressed. However, many female filmmakers feel that their voices are not heard and female characters are not truthfully represented on screen and because of this the female audience cannot relate to some of the screen stories told. A study in 2014 commissioned by the US-based Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film documented underrepresentation of female lead characters, the prevalence of gender stereotypes and scant work opportunities.5

So why are female led films the exception rather than the rule? Why are there only a handful of A-listed actresses that are entrusted to open films that wear the mantel of ‘women’s film or chick-flick”? In horror film circles the same problems arise: apart from the strong Final Girl archetype which will be addressed later in this article, a female character is often sidelined to be a girlfriend or victim that is at the mercy of the stronger male characters, or worse, an insane harridan whose film is categorised under the slightly degrading (but very inviting) gendered ‘psycho biddy’ subgenre in films such as Whatever Happened to Baby Jane ? (Robert Aldrich, 1962) and What ‘s the Matter with Helen? (Curtis Harrington, 1971). However, through the sheer tenacity of female writers and directors, and emergent Women in Horror networks, the roles are slowly changing. The day will come when the screen reflects the female experience in all its multi-faceted glories and deceits, and with it, usher in a new audience ready to embrace this particular cinematic experience.

An interesting development to create new work was an innovative but short-lived venture from the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) entitled FilmLab. Not providing gender parity in its selection, but nevertheless providing an opportunity that was not discriminatory to female filmmakers, FilmLab was a $4.2 million development initiative by SAFC, funded by the South Australian government and “provided a professional and career development opportunity for South Australian filmmakers through an intensive and bespoke development program, culminating in the production of award-winning low budget feature films.”6

Over three years from 2011 this state government body ran a low budget production venture wherein nine teams could apply for, and be granted, $350,000 to make a low budget feature film. In 2013 the last round of eight films produced two offerings from female filmmakers – Sophie Hyde’s 52 Tuesdays (2013) and Ursula Dabrowsky’s Inner Demon (2014). Ursula Dabrowsky, a Canadian filmmaker who has lived in Adelaide since the 1990’s, had already branded herself a horror director and was the only female recipient of that round working in genre.

With FilmLab taking a gamble on the horror genre, Dabrowsky was presented with an opportunity to make a film with a real (albeit small) budget. Her last effort was a micro budget feature film, Family Demons (2009), which was self-funded for the meager amount of $6500. Although an independent release, Family Demons went on to play at several international film festivals, garnering numerous awards and worldwide distribution.

Inner Demon

Inner Demon

Family Demons (Ursula Dabrowsky, 2009)

At the time of writing, Dabrowsky’s FilmLab funded Inner Demon has had a successful run on the international genre circuit7. While Inner Demon may only make a modest return on its small budget, it provides a valuable contribution to Australian genre cinema, presenting a riff on the Final Girl model and a comparative use of interior and exterior space in the horror film. With these aspects inextricably linked, Inner Demon offers a powerful and thought provoking case-study of a female written and directed serial killer film.

Heavily populating the vast catalogues of horror, the serial killer film is a familiar subgenre – one that follows the journey of the victim, the psychopath, and frequently the law. Films like M (Fritz Lang, 1931), Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960), Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991) and American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000) have demonstrated the popularity of this genre of filmmaking, and have paved the way for smaller, independent films to continue this trajectory. We enjoy the frequent serial killer film template as we know that in the end, no matter how far into the abyss the characters journey, the heinous crimes will be punished (by way of death somehow) and the natural order of things (the last victim will live, the investigating officer will be promoted or leave the force) will once again be restored. In the last decade however, some films have worked against this template, including Australian movies such as Wolf Creek (Greg McLean, 2005), The Loved Ones (Sean Byrne, 2009) and Snowtown (Justin Kurzel, 2011). They provide us with a glimpse of something dark and unforgiving, lurking just under the surface, and the natural order of things is restored in ways that we may not expect.

Through its opening sequence, which sets up an expectation of torture, Inner Demon follows the regular template in the main. The story’s main protagonist is Sam (Sarah Jeavons), a blonde haired teenage girl gets swept into the world of a serial killer couple while babysitting her seven-year-old sister, in a story loosely based on Western Australia’s Moorhouse Murders.8

Like her previous work Family Demons, Inner Demon is set in Adelaide, known in the popular Australian imagination as the “murder capital” of Australia.9 A spate of serial killers have left their mark on the psyche of the state, its residents, the family and friends of the victims, and visitors to the city and surrounds.. Some tourists may mistake it for a small city; the deserted night streets indicate a small population, but Adelaide residents know better. In writing on Dabrowsky’s first feature Family Demons, I noted in an earlier piece that “lurking in Adelaide is a dark encrypted ‘other’ – a silent but deadly twin” 10

The ghosts of ghastly crimes loom large in the imagination and will not leave, continuing to prey on the fears and minds of a population that walks in their shadow every day. When visiting Adelaide, a tourist may mistake a shudder through their body as the cold westerly wind that blows through those city parklands, but a resident recalls Adelaide’s reputation and tries to think of other, more pleasant things. The use of a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song about a serial killer – 1998’s “Red Right Hand” from the Murder Ballads album – in a tourism commercial for the Barossa Valley 11 even suggests that Adelaide and its surrounds rely on the dark and odious nature of their strange reputation to enhance tourism and does nothing to repudiate it.

In the first third of Dabrowsky’s film she acknowledges this sinister lineage in the form of a seemingly innocent road sign that points the way forward. To the left is Truro Lane, and to the right is Worrell Lane (a nod to the serial killer Christopher Worrell, who, with his accomplice James Miller, murdered seven women and dumped their bodies just north of the small town of Truro in a two month period over 1976 -1977). This road sign doesn’t represent a fork in the road offering a choice between different fates, but rather a split confrontation in direction. Whichever way Sam chooses there is no alternate ending, this explicit history will continue to repeat and thus her demise is not far away.

Another horror trope that Dabrowsky inverts is the role of her main female character. Sam, the archetypal teenage girl, dressed in the ubiquitous blue jeans and white singlet, resembles a plucky heroine but also shares some of the hallmarks found in the subgenre slasher film, the ‘Final Girl’.12. Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode in Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978) and Adrienne King’s Alice Hardy in Friday the 13th (Sean S. Cunningham, 1980) are examples of the Final Girl – female characters that are the last surviving member of the group and have to battle the monster by themselves.

Inner Demon

Adrienne King in Friday the 13th (Sean S. Cunningham, 1980)

Inner Demon

Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)

Conducting their 2013 research into Carol J. Clover’s Final Girl theory, Angela D Weaver, A. Dana Ménard, Christine Cabrera and Angela Taylor’s findings13 questioned whether “Final Girls demonstrate greater agency than other female behaviours”. Their concerns centred around whether this character was more likely to engage in fight or flight and used this template, which positions the Final Girl as an agent of action:

The primary character who out-lives all (or almost all) of the other primary characters, who survives one or more attack attempts by the killer, whose battle against the killer is the focus of the final act of the film, and who is ultimately instrumental in destroying (or seemingly destroying) the killer.14

In Inner Demon, Sam’s path proves different to the expected Final Girl blueprint. She looks like a Final Girl, in the beginning she acts like a Final Girl, but her course meanders from the expected path. From the opening scenes, Dabrowsky’s film doesn’t bother with introductory explorations, preferring to offer broad brush strokes of character suggestions. We see a teenage girl masquerading as a mother figure for her little sister, barely in primary school. They are in a nondescript house – perhaps it is the family home, perhaps not. All we know is that this house appears as a safety zone that holds all the trappings of comfort, down to the soft muted furnishings and the tranquil ambience of freshly laundered sheets. However, because we are about to get thrown off course, the house functions only as a holding area. Dabrowsky places the next piece of the puzzle rapidly; the antagonist couple smashes though this place of apparent safety. The wife, Denise (Kerry Reid), obstructs the front door with serial killer Karl (Andreas Sobik) already inside the house. Our main character is called into action, her life trajectory has erupted darkly, and the function she must endure is to save the younger sibling entrusted to her care.

The first five minutes of Inner Demon employs the familiar lone babysitter trope, but here the female lead is extremely isolated. There is no sign of anybody else apart from her younger sister; no sign of parental authority or other girlfriends and no boyfriend waiting around the corner for a night of uninterrupted sexual pleasure on the couch. There is a static moment of sisterly tenderness, a caring insight into how (some) siblings relate to each other as Sam vows to always look after her little sister Maddy (Scarlett Hocking), a pledge that will later become her undoing. The next character to appear is the killer wife; an inversion of a maternal older woman, she is apparently evil and totally compliant with her husband’s demands. It is still a male-free zone which begs the question: are these decisions based purely on story or is there something deeper and gender-based at work here? Dabrowsky, however, disagrees with this type of analysis:

I don’t think people enjoyed Family Demons because it was made by a woman. No one cares as long as it’s good. Inner Demon will not be a success because a woman made it. It will be a success because it’s a ripping good horror yarn. No other reason.15

Are these comments by Dabrowsky the symptoms of a wider malaise – the continual knocking on the film door which is repeatedly pushed open by male counterparts, but only infrequently pried ajar by women? Inhabiting a female space placed up front and centre within the horror film industry is a new frontier – this space has always privileged the male filmmaker and male viewer. Female characters in horror are usually set in a heteronormative space, and characters that rail against this are placed around the margins. In Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton, 1990), once the main female character is complicit in a killing, she is punished by being killed herself. A ground breaking but sensational entry in the serial killer oeuvre is Monster (Patty Jenkins, 2003) – where a female serial killer was played by a glamorous movie star (Charlize Theron) and directed by a woman – garnered many awards, including an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and healthy box office.

A female filmmaker making a serial killer movie with a main cast of female characters may be considered to potentially upset the balance of expectations. However, according to Amy Jane Vosper’s empirical analysis, that view has been dispelled:

The unexpected popularity of the serial killer film with female fans is a particularly interesting finding. Women are drawn to a compelling narrative and serial killer films depict mysteries that must be solved in order to stop the killers…Female viewers are more engaged with films, that required a deeper, psychological investment.16

Inner Demon

Charlize Theron in Monster (Patty Jenkins, 2003)

At this early point in Inner Demon, Dabrowsky opens her film up to experiences more traditionally aligned with historically assumed relationships between women and the domestic sphere. In Inner Demon, the plot engages with female characters in a homely setting – a view of Adelaide middle class life (before the rot sets in) some women know and can associate with.

For Vosper:

While to previous theorists, it may have appeared that the female spectator was merely disinterested in the horror genre, it is possible that her disinterest stemmed from an inability to find a relatable, onscreen representation of femininity. 17

Home invasions must rank highly on the list of female-skewed, inner fears – certainly films like Wait until Dark (Terence Young, 1967) and Inside (Julien Murray and Alexandre Bustillo, 2007) play on this anxiety. As soon as Dabrowsky lulls us into a false sense of security in this inner space, her characters are torn from it. The sisters are kidnapped and Sam is thrown into the boot of a car: the director’s first use of a confined, interior space. During a rough ride into a remote area of bush, we catch a glimpse of Sam’s impending agency; she finds a tool that can be used as a weapon later on, for the inevitable moment when the car stops and the boot is thrown open to her hostile future. This tool will be her only defense. Through a small bullet hole in the boot-cover – a small violent explosion through the metal – a single ray of light illuminates Sam’s eye. This is a visual flourish that begins a significant repetition: the now diminishing view of Sam’s world as she knew it.

As in the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, two children find a house in the woods. But where Hansel and Gretel find a happy ending, there is none for Sam and her sister. Sam, like Hansel, promises to protect her sister, but in both stories the woods offer confusion. In the fairy tale, the woods suggest danger and demise, (not dissimilar to Robert Eggers’ 2015 film The Witch), and the children try to find their way back to their own house. In Inner Demon the woods offer an extensive space to disappear, and for the children to disentangle themselves from the threat of annihilation. However, the woods are a metaphorical space, linked historically and geographically to the age of the earth, to loss of time and place, also, perhaps, offering transcendence. Gaston Bachelard describes the mystic and immersive presence of the wood thus:

We do not have to be long in the woods to experience the always rather anxious impression of ‘going deeper and deeper’ into a limitless world. Soon, if we do not know where we’re going, we no longer know where we are. 18

Eventually, Sam manages to escape from her captors’ car and runs deep into this limitless world. Separated from her sister, our gaze fixes on Bachelard’s “immediate immensity”19 and the depth of the wood, as does Sam’s. From this point, time has been stretched, and her only purpose now is to travel further and further into its complexity. This outside space mirrors the internal space of Sam’s mind: immeasurable, deep, and lost. However, the age and grandeur of the wood offer a different kind of emotional summoning for Sam; instead of calmness they provoke anxiety. Dabrowsky spends time with Sam here, pitting her against the immensity of nature. We hope that Sam will find a lifeline: a friendly face, a backpacker, a police car, something that represents a possible path back to her home, but that kind of resolution isn’t likely. The calmness of the woods hides a much more gruesome outcome, it hides the relentless and inevitable invitation of death. The serial killer is lurking, waiting.

If we follow the narrative template of Hansel and Gretel, the wicked witch becomes Karl, the serial killer, an ogre who wants to kill the children. As in the fairytale, Sam stumbles on a house in the middle of the wood. Unlike the alluring gingerbread house, Dabrowsky offers us a nondescript cabin. This house, sweet and full of the promise of safety from the outside, is rotten and treacherous on the inside, with the lingering stench of past death tainting the air. The aforementioned road sign has pointed the way.

When Sam enters this house, her fate is sealed. Still alive but soon to be dead, she has entered her own end zone, the site where bad things happen. This time an architectural interior mirrors her internal space; a wardrobe presents itself as a safety zone, but only momentarily, as the dark secrets within are about to be revealed. At this midpoint the safe, ‘female’ space of the setup has given way to an overtly male space, a mishmash of clutter, worn objects and functional furniture. This space, in stark contrast to the bedroom of the introduction, looks bereft of love.

Denise is compliant to Karl and offers no respite. The two women are diametrically opposed to each other – one an enabler, the other a victim. In this interior male space, there is no room for feminine loyalties. Each woman is in survival mode, but only for themselves. Sam tests her protective urges for others – after all, it was this primal impulse that delivered her into this space – but Denise is bereft of them. The only thing that Denise can do is protect herself.

Inner Demon

Inner Demon (Ursula Dabrowsky, 2014)

“Who’s been sleeping in my little house?” Karl asks, as if we are complicit in the construction of Sam’s hiding place, a space within a space within a space. But as silent witnesses to Sam’s ordeal we don’t betray her; our gaze is firmly fixed on Karl, willing him to back away from the wardrobe door that separates Sam from her end. In this context, the wardrobe has become an embodiment of Bachelard’s concept of the ‘ambiguous’ space, where: “the mind has lost its geometrical homeland and the spirit is drifting”. We perceive Sam to be both enclosed and entrapped in the wardrobe’s interior space. In a sense she is sitting outside her own life, watching the world she knew slowly disintegrate. The wardrobe door remains her keeper, the separation between life and her own death. For Bachelard,

To make inside concrete and outside vast is the first task… it would seem, of an anthropology of the imagination. But between concrete and vast, the opposition is not a true one. At the slightest touch, asymmetry appears. And it is always like that: inside and outside do not receive in the same way the qualifying epithets (nicknames, descriptions) that are the measure of our adherence.20

Once Sam takes refuge in the wardrobe she places herself in an otherworldly state: not in her life, but not out of it either. This limbo space – gazing through the keyhole to reality and her ‘past’ life, the life she has just left – places her at the mercy of a spiritual experience; not the spiritual experience of peace and comfort, but one that is otherworldly and ghostlike. She is unseen by the outside world and also undead; dead to her old world, yet still alive and on the brink of something that is yet to be offered. Through the keyhole she watches the architect of the destruction of her old life, something she will never get back even if she leaves this inside space, as this gatekeeper, the serial killer, has other plans. So in the wardrobe she stays, clinging to a trace of the life she once had while her spirit is drifting; mingling with other spirits that have taken the same journey. She is soon to join them within a third space, the supernatural. For the cupboard is a memorial; a graveyard of past victims who dwell in this new space and wait to be conjured into action.

Inner Demon

“Lewtonian space” in Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People (1942)

When J. P. Telotte looked to define “Lewtonian Space”, the effective deployment of locations in producer Val Lewton’s strangely unsettling films21 he looks to the architect Anthony Vidler. Vidler determined that the modern individual comes to inhabit a kind of “phobic” or “warped” space that can take many forms. One such form is a space that “is not empty” but full of “disturbing objects and forms” and projects “all the neuroses and phobias” of the modern world.22 Just as in a Lewton film – abundant with shadows and empty streets – Inner Demon explores and conscripts these spaces, zones of anxiety that expose the inner worlds of the characters who populate them.

At this point of the film we lose what we traditionally think of as our Final Girl. After staying strong for so long, Sam’s wound has diminished her life source and her agency has gone. Dabrowsky has subverted what we thought of as the Final Girl – she has killed her off. Her little sister, absent for most of the film, makes her last entrance into the house, having escaped from her offscreen holding space, only to be struck down. As a viewer, our disappointment at the trope inversion is paramount; the norms portrayed in slasher films have been turned on their head, the monster has won the battle. Dabrowsky’s take on the Final Girl highlights the artifice of this slightly moralistic narrative device. Sam fails as a Final Girl on three counts: she doesn’t survive, she is wracked with guilt about her failure to act (and is therefore lacking the purity one expects of a Final Girl) and, most significantly, she enters a supernatural realm populated by other ‘failed’ Final Girls.

When Sam finally leaves the wardrobe, she has already crossed over. Her old bodily form never leaves the wardrobe, but her new form – her ghost – enters the supernatural space of Karl’s previous victims. After joining these victims she is freed; not in terms of respite, but of the spaces her body was forced to inhabit. Another being has also been released: the inner demon of the title. Sam’s death has unleashed her own guilt of abandoning her younger sister, manifesting as a supernatural demon destined to roam beyond the confines of a limited space, but not before settling scores. If Sam cannot find the agency of the Final Girl to protect her sister in life, she will find it in death. This demon overcomes Karl, but unlike Hansel and Gretel who escape the forest, Sam’s destiny was forged back at the fork in the road.

Inner Demon’s strategy of melding genres and subverting tropes is a bold statement in tenacity and artistry. To take on a male dominated subgenre and incorporate feminist undertones is a brave undertaking that should be applauded. Films like this are made by and for women offer a fresh take on the genre and will not go away. Female filmmakers will keep knocking on the door and prying it further open. A spate of female written and directed horror films, supported by the industry, has the potential to ignite and broaden markets and find exciting new voices. Perhaps until we get more female-led distribution companies this possibility will remain essentially optimistic, but a new fork in the road is looming. If we reconfigure the conventional Final Girl scenario, this time casting the female genre director as heroine and the indifference of a male-dominated industry as the monster to be overcome, steadfast belief and inner strength may indeed see a growing triumph for female filmmakers.

This article has been peer-reviewed.

 

ABSTRACT:
In recent years the international film industry’s attention has turned to highlighting the lack of gender equality in filmmaking. There has been much discussion on ways to increase production led by female filmmakers, and continuing pressure applied to various film festivals to exhibit their finished works. In Australia, this disunion has already been noticed and some Australian funding bodies are now compliant. So why are female led films the exception rather than the rule? Why are there only a handful of A-listed actresses that are entrusted to open films that wear the mantel of ‘women’s film or chick-flick”? In horror film circles the same problems arise: apart from the strong Final Girl archetype, female characters are often side-lined to be a girlfriend or victim that is at the mercy of the stronger male characters, or worse, an insane harridan whose film is categorised under the ‘psycho biddy’ subgenre. This article closely considers Canadian filmmaker Ursula Dabrowsky, a filmmaker based in Adelaide, Australia, in both the context of gender representation in her film Inner Demon (2014) and in terms of her status as a woman making genre cinema in the context of the contemporary Australian film industry.

Endnotes

  1. Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space “Devil et luxe du Coeur”, ed. Rougerie, (Beacon Press, 1994), p. 80.
  2. Etan Vlessing, “Canadian Producers Plan to Finance More Diverse Films”, Hollywood Reporter, 8 September 2016, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/canadian-producers-plan-finance-more-926650.
  3. “Record applications for Gender Matters programs, assessors announced”, If Magazine, 13 April 2016, http://if.com.au/2016/04/13/article/Record-applications-for-Gender-Matters-programs-assessors-announced/WQESHVQYQH.html.
  4. “”Screen NSW Target to achieve gender equality in the Film and Television Industry in NSW”, Screen NSW http://www.screen.nsw.gov.au/news/screen-nsw-target-to-achieve-gender-equality-in-the-film-and-television-industry-in-nsw.
  5. Dr. Martha M. Lauzen, “It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: On-Screen Representations of Female Characters in the Top 100 Films of 2014”, The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film http://womenintvfilm.sdsu.edu/files/2014_Its_a_Mans_World_Report.pdf.
  6. South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) website: http://www.safilm.com.au/filmlab/program-overview/.
  7. Including Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival (2015), FrightFest London (2015), Los Angeles’s Etheria Film Night (2014), Sydney’s A Night of Horror Film festival (2014), and Melbourne’s MonsterFest (2014).
  8. In 1986 married couple David and Catherine Birnie murdered four women and attempted to murder a fifth, their victims ranging in age between 15 and 31, and all were slain within the Birnie’s home in Perth.
  9. Adelaide has been home to some grizzly unsolved murders and abductions such as The Family group of unsolved murders of young males between 1979-1983 and the three Beaumont Children who were abducted from a suburban beach in 1966
  10. Donna McRae “Family Demons: The Ghost as Domestic Inheritance” Colloquy, Issue 18 (December 2009) http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/assets/arts-files/colloquy/colloquy_issue_eighteen/mcrae.pdf
  11. The Barossa. Be Consumed. KWP! Agency, 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_n_piSyBD0.
  12. The Final Girl Theory was proposed by Carol J Clover in her book Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992), which refers to the last girl standing in horror films, particularly slasher films . Says Clover: “she’s the character whose story we follow from beginning to end, and the one from whose vantage, even through whose eyes, we see the action; and it is she who, at the end of the film, brings the killer down (though more often by chance than intention),” p. iii.
  13. See: “Embodying the Moral Code: Thirty Years of Final Girls in Slasher films” [Psychology of Popular Media Culture 4.1 (2015): p. 31.
  14. Angela D Weaver, A. Dana Ménard, Christine Cabrera, Angela Taylor, p. 6.
  15. Briony Kidd, “Scream Time: Women Take Power over Horror”, Metro Magazine 173.
  16. Amy Jane Vosper, “Film, Fear and the Female: An Empirical Study of the Female Horror Fan”, Offscreen 18:6/7 (Jun/Jul 2014): p. 5
  17. Vosper, p. 6.
  18. Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, (Beacon Press, 1994) p.185
  19. Ibid.
  20. Gaston Bachelard, p. 217
  21. Val Lewton produced many horror B-movies for RKO in the 1940s including Cat People (Jacques Tourneur,1942) and I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur, 1943).
  22. J. P. Telotte, “Lewtonian Space: Val Lewton’s Films and the New space of Horror”, Horror Studies, 1.2 (2010) p. 165-175, doi: 10.1386/host.1.2.167_1

About The Author

Donna McRae is a filmmaker that holds a PhD and is a Lecturer in Film & Television at Deakin University, Melbourne. Her first micro budget feature film, Johnny Ghost (2012) was selected into numerous film festivals locally and internationally, winning seven awards including Best Female Director, Best Feature and two Special Jury Prizes. Currently she is involved in a female horror anthology film, in post-production on a feature documentary about a chimpanzee called Cobby: The Dark Side of Cute and in development for her next feature film Kate Kelly, a western about Ned Kelly’s sister which was selected for Frontieres Co-Production Market in Montreal, Canada 2016. Donna is now in pre-production with her second feature film Lost Gully Road.