Monday, 14 February 2011

Women Horror Month: Old Girls Gone Wild

As Women in Horror Month rolls on I continue to be ludicrously excited, even more excited than the time I was in a café tucking into an all-day breakfast and The Chuckle Brothers and seven dwarfs came in for teacakes. Excited? I nearly wet myself. For this week’s contemplation of the awesomeness of womankind I thought we’d cast a little joy onto one of the less fun parts of being a girl; the ageing process. So, come on ladies, let’s chuck away the Oil of Olay (or whatever it’s calling itself these days) and revel in the bits of us that aren’t as perky as once they might have been.

As I’m knocking on a bit (or, as it feels to me, galloping towards menopause with a speed and momentum that is quite frankly terrifying, and also patently ridiculous as I didn’t agree to anything past 30 and certainly didn’t sign anything so somebody somewhere has clearly got the wrong memo) I find myself increasingly required to imagine what style of old lady I’m going to be. While I’m reluctantly aware (though currently choosing to ignore) that as you get older certain allowances ought to be made; maybe less garish hair dye, subtler make up, possibly outfits that are more grown up in nature, I still wonder how us Gen-Xers are going adapt to becoming the punk rock elderly. Ideally I’m dimly hoping that I’ll just remain the same, I’ll keep stuffing myself into leather pants, wear all the old band shirts, swathe myself in leopard print and burst through fishnet like a hellish Play Doh factory experiment. But will the inevitable pressures of society’s expectations force me to look for an alternative model of acceptable elderly? And if so who will I be? Just in case, I decided, as any sane person would, to look to some of the magnificent mature ladies of horror cinema for inspiration.

Pamela Voorhees : Friday the 13th

My husband and I recently rewatched Friday the 13th, strangely for the first time together, and he commented that the film it meant more to him now knowing my family because he knew if anything happened to Kurt (my brother) and he became a crazy freaky loser and someone hurt him I’d go all Ma Voorhees on someone’s ass. I took offence at this and pointed out that I don’t pick favourites and if anything happened to Jay (my sister) I go just as psychotic killer crazy, thank you very much indeed, matey skip. He said, no, Jay was too sensible and well balanced to ever be a crazy freaky loser. I don’t know who this says more about, my husband, my brother or me. Anyway, point is I can relate to Ma V; you hurt one of mine now this is happening to you, bitch! I’m also partial to knitwear so I reckon that Mama Voorhees could be a pretty good option for me in my twilight years.

Mrs Ganush: Drag Me To Hell

I admire Mrs. G. for the sheer force of will and complete vicious bloody-mindedness that it takes to not only continue to make someone’s life an absolute hellish misery but also to damn well ensure that they are, in fact, dragged to hell after her own death. This deserves some god damn respect.

Shrivelled, toothless, half blind, perpetually oozing and so old it’s ridiculous, Mrs Ganush’s exterior my not necessarily be the first choice of model to follow as old age creeps up, but bloody hell she’s got some pretty darn tempting crazy ole Romanian cursing powers. Also, I think there’s something liberating and admirable, not to mention decidedly punk rock and antiestablishment, about popping your teeth out on a banker’s desk. Mrs. Ganush isn’t going to be walked upon, she’s defying the system really, really old school and she so vengefully obstinate that even death isn’t going stop her. She also comes with her own free Lamia demon for the personal cursing of your enemies so that’s a pretty good deal. Yes, there are a lot of upsides to ageing the Ganush way.

Baby Jane Hudson: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Now this is probably my level of crazy. Deluded, drunk, daddy fixated, inappropriately dressed, tantrum throwing, stuck in a self mythologised past, filled with misguided self importance and with a fantastically alarming inability to accept the natural order of things and face the mirror’s ugly truth. Yup, I can work with that, (as discussed before I’d never hurt my sister, if I did then I’d be forced to go all psychotic killer crazy on myself and that would just be a mess).

Baby Jane can never be accused of letting herself go when it comes to the ageing process, she’s still working the make up and the outfits and still planning her big comeback. When it comes to domestic crazy and growing old disgracefully Baby Jane Hudson shows us kids how it’s done.

Mother of Sighs (Mater Suspiriorum): Suspira

Mater Suspiriorum is formidable force of dark power and malevolence (I’m thinking of having that printed onto business cards) who has walked the earth for centuries amassing untold power and wealth. Clearly already onto a winner here. Despite being on form to rule the world in 1895 this mother decides to become Helena Markos and for some reason settles in Germany and founds a dance academy. This all goes swimmingly until the fear she inspires in the locals (again, winner!) forces her to fake her death and to continue her evil deeds and bloody murders in secret apparently largely from a nice comfy bed. Really not seeing anything wrong this.

There’s a lot to aspire to in Mater Suspiriorum, if you’re going to get old and grey and impossibly withered you might as well do it in style with all the wealth and all the power and the irrepressible desire to commit acts of pure, unadulterated evil, these are the things that keep you young.

Minnie Castevet: Rosemary’s Baby

There’s a lot that’s enviable about the life of Minnie Casevet; she’s happily married, has led an interesting and exotic life, lives in a fabulous apartment in glamourous New York, has many friends and is well connected amongst the rich and powerful. Of course there’s the small matter of being part of a satanic cult hellbent on delivering the Anti-Christ into the world to lead us into a new age, but nobody’s perfect.

Interfering, devil worshipping, mousse spiking busybody Minnie is irrepressible, single-minded and completely unhindered by the subtle niceties of polite society. She’s a woman without boundaries, the advancing years have given her the enviable freedom to ask the questions that need asking and say precisely what’s on her mind irrespective of how intrusive or rude these things might be.

Between bouts of herb peddling and devil pimping, the manipulative, overbearing Minnie also has a penchant for snazzy hats and rouge that can be seen from space. With her make up that could only have been applied in the dark and outfits fabulous in a way only the late 60s could ever have fathomed, Mrs C. is a glorious vision of unabashed eccentricity that I can wholeheartedly aspire to.

Honourable Non-Horror Mention

Mrs. Slocambe, Are You Being Served?

Mad about hair dye, a slave to her pussy (can’t believe I just wrote that), spends her days rummaging amongst ladies’ lingerie, Mrs. S. is unquestionably one of my style icons.

Yes, this has definitely given me a lot to think about, and something to look forward to as my ovaries shrivel and my face begins to resemble a relief map of Tibet. The horror ladies growing old disgracefully show us that we don’t have to pull up a rocking chair and start knitting after 40 and that bad behaviour isn’t just the privilege of the young. Depraved, deranged, murderous and downright mental as they may be, I love the old girls gone wild and salute them.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Women in Horror Month: There is Nothing Like a Dame

Oh, yes, Women in Horror Month is in full swing, and I remain as excited as a small child high on sugar the night before Christmas. I’ve been loving wandering around the internet this week as reading all the marvellous posts celebrating a whole host of horror’s greatest gals. For my part, today, I would like to take a pictorial amble through a gallery of some of those fabulous ladies who make our hearts beat a little bit faster, for a multitude of reasons.  

For Doctor Cyclops

For The Mike, and me.

For Matthew

Thank you, ladies!
That was just a small selection of the ladies who have my heart, the ones who came to mind in five minutes as, if I'd given myself any longer, we'd have been here all day, it would have been ridiculous. Please though, if you have any other amazing women to add do drop them in the comments box, or, even better, celebrate them on your blog and add the link. 
I really can't stop staring at Ingrid Pitt now.


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Women in Horror Month: Bad Girls of Horror

Heck yeah, it’s Women in Horror Month! I love women and I love horror so this month I’m going to be more excited than the time I thought I saw Charlie from Casualty in Sainsburys. And, to make things even more exciting, gentleman hero, The Mike, a fellow champion of the ladies, particularly the ladies who make horror great, is rallying his Midnight Warriors to share their Women in Horror Month posts and celebrations at his den of coolness From Midnight, With Love.

Yup, this is a good month, and to kick off the festivities here I’d like to pay tribute to a group of ladies I feel a special affinity for; those devilishly delectable dames we all know and love, The Bad Girls of Horror.

Baby Firefly, (Sheri Moon Zombie), House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and The Devil's Rejects (2005)

With her blonde hair and angelic face you may be forgiven for thinking that butter wouldn’t melt in this baby’s mouth, but you’d briefly live long enough to regret that abysmally bad call. Beneath that candy sweet exterior beats the heart of a cold, unrelenting killer who will giggle maniacally as she performs unspeakable acts of torture. She kills with the gleeful innocence of a child experimenting with the limits of her favourite Barbie’s plastic limbs and never for a second do thoughts of mercy or remorse occur to her. Demented, childishly psychotic and divinely white trash this hillbilly hellraiser is a brutal, beautiful addition to the bad girls of horror.

Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) Bride of Chucky (1998) and Seed of Chucky (2004)

*Whether in doll or human form don’t mess with Tiffany because Tiffany will take you down. Obsessive, single-minded, completely crazy, nothing is going to stop Tiffany getting what she wants. The lady may look blonde, curvy, sultry and cute, but under that immaculate made up façade Tiffany is taking no prisoners. As a woman I’m always supportive of women determinedly striving to get what they want, whether it’s education, a career or the love of a serial killer trapped in a doll’s body. Tiffany not only keeps up with Chucky every bloody step of the way, she also dresses better, is more creative, is unquestionably smarter than her male counterpart and has the voice of an angel.

*My abject apologies for shamefully just blatantly copying this bit from a recent post I did for The Mike for his '12 Days of Christmas' feature. It’s ghastly and lazy and I’m very sorry, but I love Tiff and wanted her in again and it seemed silly to rehash it. Please forgive me I’m horrid.

Julie Walker (Melinda Clarke) Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)

Like all the best stories Julie’s real bad girl story begins after she dies. Attempting to initiate sex on the back of a moving motorcycle is a bloody stupid thing to do and young Julie finds this out quite abruptly when she hits a tree at speed and dies on a grass verge. But, luckily for Julie her boyfriend Curt has access to Trioxin gas and is able to use it to re-animate her. Unfortunately it isn’t too long before Julie begins exhibiting the symptoms of her newly zombified state. As the pain of rigor mortis kicks in and the agonising desire for human flesh becomes apparent, Julie tackles the situation by becoming punk rock to the max. She discovers that the only way she can assuage her hunger is by scarifying her flesh and while Curt sleeps sweet Julie indulges in some DIY body modification carving up and piercing her flesh with glass, nails, blades and needles. It also turns out that driving a shard of glass through your hand and threading a leather strap weighted down by rock through the other can be very useful as it provides you with instant weaponry for hand to hand combat.

Julie Walker (deceased) is a hardcore ass kicking babe; she’s also a gorgeous redhead which definitely qualifies her for a place as one of horror’s baddest girls in my book.

Julia Cotton (Clare Higgins), Hellraiser (1987) and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

Although initially seemingly seduced and manipulated by Frank, Julia was always her own woman and her bloody journey sees her progress from beautiful dissatisfied housewife to vicious predator and ultimately queen of hell (not a hundred percent sure how that last bit happened though, admin error maybe).

In order to resurrect her foolhardy lover Frank, Julia embarks on a mission of seduction and murder luring lonely middle aged men with the promise of wild, uncomplicated sex only to beat their brains in with a hammer. Seriously not a lady to cross, or try and have sex with. Julia Cotton is one bad, bad girl, and later even skinless and sticky fresh from hell her sexual charms are still as potent

Like any self-respecting bad girl Julia Cotton is a slave to her id, her desire for forbidden physical pleasure sees her become a cold blooded killer and her lust for revenge sustains through hell and sees her rebirthed through the same bloody mattress that began the whole mess to begin with. Beautiful, deranged and deadly Julia Cotton is one hell of a killer dame.

Lady Sylvia Marsh (Amanda Donohoe) Lair of the White Worm (1988)

Mysterious, seductive and beautiful, Lady Sylvia Marsh is a skull stealing, Boy Scout bothering, snake worshipping, virgin sacrificing ball of hot, fanged bad assery.

When she’s not stalking about her rambling mansion sporting an array of fabulous outfits and exotic lingerie, smart, sassy noblewoman Lady S. is otherwise occupied in being the reincarnation of ancient snake god, Dionin’s high priestess, and plotting to bring about Dionin’s return by sacrificing Catherine Oxenberg of of Dynasty.

This lady is enigmatic, eccentric, sensuous, and a resplendent vision in thigh high boots, the fact that she’s also reptilian and can spit venom ten plus feet just adds to her bad charm.

Oh, yes, ladies, you are some wicked, wonderful, wild women who play by no one's rules but your own and I love you for that, however deranged and mental you may be.


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