Saturday, 19 January 2013

Top 6: Toughest Heroines

Every February the starlets and sirens of horror are celebrated with Women in Horror Month.

WiHM is an event that not only seeks to show affection to the finest females of frightening film, but also assist those who are underrepresented, educate about discrimination and assist in achieving gender equality.

It's a fantastic organisation, straight from the pulsing brain of Hannah Forman aka Hannah Neurotica.

In celebration of the event here is The Fright Writer Top 6: Toughest Heroines.

6. Clarice Starling - Silence of the Lambs
Special Agent Starling is little more than a student when she and the infamous Dr. Lector cross paths. A lesser character would have been swallowed up by Hannibal, in every sense of the phrase. Not Clarice though. Sure, Starling has her weaknesses, but it's overcoming them that proves just how strong she is.
Voted the 6th Greatest Protagonist by AFI, she was the highest ranking heroine.

5. Alice - Resident Evil
The Resident Evil films are far from great, but it does have a couple of great female characters. Michelle Rodriguez's Rain Ocampo is tougher than any of her male colleagues and boast an attitude and edge to match.
Without doubt though it is Milla Jovovich's Alice that is the force to reckoned with as she picks off zombies with ease ans looks pretty damn good at the same time. Forget damsels in distress, this is all about ass kicking in that dress and Alice is queen.

4. Nancy Thompson - Nightmare on Elm Street
Nancy is just a school girl when the first Nightmare on Elm Street picks up. That doesn't hold Nancy back however and as people started to die in their sleep Nancy is the only match for razor-fingered, sharp-tongued, paedophilic, 'bastard son of 100 maniacs,' Freddy Krueger.

3. Rae Ingram - Dead Calm
Nicole Kidman looks young enough to be Sam Neill's daughter in this film. Don't let those innocent looks fool you, this Aussie girl is as hard as Ayers Rock as she battles to save her husband's life in a role reversal to usual cinematic norm. Take that sexism.

2. Sarah - The Descent
There are a number of powerful women in The Descent who could have made this list had the list been longer. However, with just 6 places up for grabs it's Shauna McDonald's Sarah that makes it.
As if losing your family in a traffic accident isn't enough to deal with Sarah takes on pot-holing, "crawlers" and her own psyche with insurmountable mental strength. Does she make it? Well that depends in if your ending is from the US or UK.

1. Ellen Ripley - Alien
The can only be one winner of my toughest heroine list. Sigourney Weaver's Ripley was the woman who dared to take centre stage in the sci-fi/horror genre. She wasn't a scream queen or final girl, she was something all of her own. She was gutsy, glitzy and glorious. She was the the tough heroine before tough heroines were committed to screen.
Ripley is a role model that girls could really look up to. She wasn't a princess sitting in a castle, looking pretty an waiting to be rescued, she was surviving for herself. No need to be a powder-puff princess when you can be a gun totting Goddess.
Ripley is top of the list because without her, there would be no list.

That's my Top 6 let me know yours below.

For more information on Women in Horror Month go to:

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Sometimes They Come Back... for More

In horror, somethings never die. From immortal vampires to the unstoppable Jason Vorhees, even when you think they have come to a timely end, they get back up and keep doing what they do best.

Sometimes, it's not just images on celluloid that defy torturous, barbaric deaths though. Hammer's revival from beyond the production grave is as incredible as any work of fiction.

Many of the stereotypes of horror are implanted in popular culture because of Hammer's influence. The darkened woodlands, the creepy castle, evil gentry and, of course, beautiful, busty starlets racing around to flash their fangs and cleavage to one and all.

For many years Hammer was at the forefront of the British film industry. Whether it was creating classics or churning out trash, Hammer was much loved and often adored. It created stars of the highest calibre, Christoper Lee, Peter Cushing, Ingrid Pitt, the list goes on and on and on (though Lee undoubtedly tops it).

However, when British culture, society and cinema took a fall so did Hammer. The company ceased to produce films for almost three decades.

Now Hammer has risen from the ashes, a new, stronger beast.

The busty babes are gone, the frightful castles a memory and the woodlands have been cutdown and paved over. This is still Hammer's heart thudding away inside, however. Hammer may not have seen much action in a long time, but it has kept up with the times.

Take a look at 'The Resident.' Woodlands are replaced by sprawling urban cityscapes and upper classes by landlords, but the terror and horror is unmistakable, as of course is the incomparible Christopher Lee.

Hammer's rebirth is much like those another of it's new offerings, 'Wakewood.' It's essence is the same, but it is newer, more sinister and something you definitely should not take your eyes off for a second.

Hammer may have officially returned in 2007, but in 2012 it has made it's stay. So, welcome back Hammer. You have been sorely missed.