women of color

Ladies of Horror: Gothika and Gaslight

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Written by Cat Wilson of catwilson.com
Today’s pick is the supernatural psychological horror Gothika. Critics lumped a lot of hate on this movie… saying it wasn’t scary, it didn’t make sense, etc. We ladies think they are wrong, there is a lot going on in this film. Halle Berry’s character Miranda is a psychiatrist at a woman's penitentiary. One a stormy night she serves her car to avoid a injured girl on the road. Trying to help the girl Miranda blacks out and wakes up in the other side of the bars having apparently killed her husband.

Spoiler Warning

It turns out that the girl was a ghost that possessed Miranda to act out her revenge on Miranda’s husband who is a serial rapist and murderer. It isn’t until Miranda finds irrefutable physical proof that she is believed, by even the men that care about her. What interested us at Lady was the parallels between this story, the Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas hearings and women historically being disbelieved when reporting rape.
There are two phrases repeated in the film. “Not Alone” which at first Miranda thinks it means she is not alone but learns to her horror that it means the rapist didn’t act alone. One could say there are many perpetrators and actors in rape culture.
The second is first said by Penelope Cruz’s character Chloe “How can you trust someone when they think you are crazy.” How can we? If men think women are crazy, not rational creatures how can we trust them. As Jenna Sauers, of Jezebel says

“Reflexively calling women “crazy” is a habit young men need to learn to break. As a term, “crazy” is entirely of a piece with the long and nasty tradition of pathologizing female emotion (and particularly sexuality). 

For women of color this has been doubly true. As Judith Worell and Pamela Remer say in Feminist Perspectives in Therapy

"African American women were sexually exploited during slavery" and because of stereotypes originating from slavery such as the Jezebel, black women "are not viewed as credible complainants, and are stereotyped (e.g., as promiscuous) in ways that blame them for their rapes."

When slavery ended these evil stereotypes lived on justifying the rape of African American Women.

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There is a term for manipulating a victims reality so that the doubt themselves, Gaslighting. We would argue that gaslighting is the one of the most terrifying forms of metal and emotional abuse. A true horror story for women. In the two films called Gaslight a trusted husband purposefully attempts to drive is wife insane by moving and hiding objects in order to undermine her reality. A man hurls crazy at a woman like a weapon devaluing everything she is in one swift stroke, which brings us back to Gothika. Gaslighting works when the woman or society trusts the abuser, so how can we “Trust someone when they think you are crazy.”

Ladies of Horror: Breaking In and Women of Color in Horror


Written by Cat Wilson of catthewilson.com
Today’s pick is actually going to be a longer post about women of color in horror movies. We looked hard for movies with women of color in lead roles that where in empowering. Unfortunately, there was very little to choose from. Breaking In had a great premise, a black mother protecting her kids but the plot and dialog was clumsy. Even though Gabrielle Union gave a fantastic performance it was frustrating that the rest of the movie didn’t match her. But why are there so few movies horror and otherwise with women of color? Where is the Get Out for black women?
Unfortunately, when looking back for strong women of color characters in past films, they are often in the role of the “other": such as Lisa Bonet as the Voodoo Succubus/Victim in Angel Heart or Aaliyah in Queen of the Damned.

While films have been slowly more inclusive starting with Rachel True in The Craft, Naomie Harris’ fantastic role in 28 Days Later (a movie that also passes the Bechdel Test. Just saying.), recently Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez in Annihilation and Li Bingbing in The Meg. Often women of color are co-stars to a white actors.

When there is a black woman lead film it tends to be torn apart by critics. Just look at Rotten Tomatoes: Breaking In 20%, Alexa Woods in Alien vs. Predator 20%, and Gothika 14%. There is an notable exception of Sennia Nanua playing Melanie in The Girl with All the Gifts, however she is a girl and not a woman.

We had a theory and to test it we watched Gothika, which will be our review for tomorrow. Because spoiler alert, it’s not a bad movie. It’s not Get Out but it’s on par with What Lies Beneath which has a 46% Rotten Tomato rating. Even Roger Ebert gave Gothika 3 out of 4 stars and amazon.com rates it as 4.3 out of 5. So why all the hate on Rotten Tomatoes… because the majority of the reviewers are either white or male. BlackHorrorMovies.com gave this film a 2.7 out of 5 but although the reviewer isn’t named they opened their review with “Halle Berry is hot. And at one point in my life, that would’ve been enough. (I actually bought Swordfish for about 20 seconds’ worth of boob.)” So yeah there might be some male bias here.

To close, we are on the hunt for a fantastic art house film that have black women in the lead and received accolades at Sundance… Does anyone know where we can watch Hair Wolf??