Horror For The Boys 2: The Campaign For Real Fear

Observatory, Reading & Writing, The Arts

Our nascent horror movement is beginning to grow, as the press is now starting to pick up on the issue of horror’s narrow focus of young white males thanks to the efforts of writer Maura McHugh, whose blog can be found here. We’re hoping to change the outmoded habits of the past, aiming for some positive discrimination leading to fresh new strands of writing that will benefit readers and publishers alike. The Campaign for Real Fear starts here.

My picture shows a scene from ‘Sexy Killer’, in which the serial killer is an empowered version of a stereotypical victim. It says a lot that the only IMDb review anyone has bothered to post starts with this line; ‘It’s a nice change to have a woman being in the lead role in a movie like this, but in the end even that joke has worn off.’

On the subject of diversity – and its lack – I was talking to a film director mate of mine who is making a film with a largely black cast, who was told ‘Well, you’ve just lost a third of the world’s sales.’
Now you start to see what we’re up against.

11 comments on “Horror For The Boys 2: The Campaign For Real Fear”

  1. Maura McHugh says:


    Best of luck with the Campaign for Real Fear! Thanks for the mention.

    One of the best films I saw last year was the Swedish film, _Millennium: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo_, based on the fabulous book. A terrific female lead, and an complex story. Oh, more cinema like this please!

    I was just chatting to a friend of mine recently who had one of his minor characters (older woman) recast against his wishes as a cute young woman, which completely changed the dynamic of the scene in his film, and he felt effectively ruined it. It was the producer who interfered.

    Producers are often antagonistic to any non-male non-white characters in films because they believe that mythical “middle America” audience will not go. And this mentality is prevalent in Irish/UK films since everyone is chasing the American market. Since the producers have the money, or get the money, they call the shots.

    What these people seem to fail to understand is that a good story puts bums in seats. If producers spent more time developing good quality writing, rather than trying to second-guess their markets, they might have more successes.

    We can only chip away with our passion and hope to bring change.

    Courage! as the French say.


  2. Steve says:

    Wanted to mention a favorite author of mine, Tananarive Due. Simply a fantastic writer in the horror genre. Her books do produce Real Fear. “Joplin’s Ghost” (yes, Scott Joplin) and “The Good House” spring immediately to mind. I don’t hear or read a lot about her, which is unfortunate. Those of you who haven’t wouldn’t be doing yourselves a disservice by checking out her work. Her characters are simply drawn and totally believable. Her style is what I might call “minimalist” but tremendously effective.
    She needs more notice!

  3. I don’t even want to think what kind of mush Millennium will get turned into during the inevitable English-language remake. (What about the fact we speak English as our first language makes us automatically assumed to be so much less demanding…?)

  4. Ditto the rec on Tananarive Due, who is also an excellent convention guest and usually comes with an awesome Steven Barnes as a bonus. (For the benefit of people organizing horror-themed events…)

  5. Just thought I’d let you know that I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the Campaign for Real Fear.

    As a relative newcomer to horror, one of my first introductions to how blinkered the genre could be was a discussion on the Shocklines discussion board about how an African-American had said that he thought the genre didn’t cater to him. Most of the posters there decided that that person was a racist because they had noticed that there weren’t many characters or authors like him, rather than being ‘colour-blind’, like them…

    No. I’m not joking. (The thread, including the arguments that black people don’t write horror because they are too actually afraid of ghosts, can be found here: http://shocklinesforum.yuku.com/topic/13372?page=8)

    A movement for excellence and diversity in horror is overdue, and seems to me to be an excellent idea.

    I write and direct the In The Gloaming podcasts which, although, pulpish audio dramas do try to satirise and address some of the horrors of our modern world. So far we’ve found horror in body fascism, lads’ mags, and, erm, baby monitors. The one we’ve just finished recording is less overtly political.

    (Incidentally, looking back the protagonists of all of our plays have been women (although not all of them have been very nice women), as is this month’s. For anyone who’s interested they can be found here: http://inthegloamingpodcasts.wordpress.com/podcast-archive/

    Good luck with the campaign!

  6. (Although the number of women main characters we use could well be a result of the fact that I know so many excellent female comic actors, and write parts specifically for them, rather than anything else…)

  7. Jenny says:

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me.

Comments are closed.