Magnet Releasing – the ‘genre arm’ of Magnolia Pictures – has announced the acquisition of its latest horror anthology, which will be produced by XYZ Films. Having seen huge success with The ABCs Of Death and V/H/S, among others, Magnet now turns its attention to XX – an anthology made up of short films that have female leads and female directors.
Now, if there’s one thing that draws out the anti-feminist crowd, it’s the subject of female representation in the horror film genre. The reason for their dramatic eye-rolling is fairly obvious at first glance – there are plenty of women in prominent roles onscreen in horror movies, so what’s the problem? Halloween, Scream, The Exorcist, The Conjuring, Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Mama, 2013’s Evil Dead, Drag Me To Hell, 2006’s The Hill Have Eyes – in horror, it seems, there are women everywhere you look. So, why does Magnet Releasing feel there is a call for a female-centric showcase?
Well, first of all, why not? Of course, there will be the inevitable comments of the outrageous injustice of excluding men, but can I just point out that V/H/S is effectively a showcase exclusively for male directors? As are its sequels. So, why shouldn’t we have one for women? The ABCs Of Death fares slightly better, with 2 of its 26 segments directed by actual women – but that can hardly be classed as a beacon of equality.
Secondly, while there may be a lot of women onscreen in the horror genre, female characters that are neither disposable nor one-dimensional victims are still relatively few and far between. Browsing the horror section of any movie streaming service reveals the unfortunate truth – pages and pages of images of women suffering terrible fates. Occasionally, there’s a man depicted, but mostly, it’s just the women.