To coincide with International Women’s Day we’re celebrating just some of the brilliant women who make horror what it is today.
Melissa returns to act in our genre with admirable regularity and always does a very fine job indeed. After a ‘blink and you’ll miss her’ turn as Camilla Rhodes in Mulholland Drive she went on to appear in The Amityville Horror remake, Paradise Lost, 30 Days of Night, Chris Smith’s superb Triangle, the really rather good Brit thriller A Lonely Place to Die and most recently the TV version of Bag of Bones.
JOHN LLEWELLYN PROBERT
Thana Niveau’s debut collection, From Hell To Eternity, was one of the best I read last year. Every single story proved that not only is she an amazing writer, but also that she knows how to haunt the reader. One of her most ominous offerings, ‘The Pier’ was published in The Mammoth Book Of Best New Horror 22, and deservedly so. Niveau is a beautiful storyteller, and certainly one to watch out for in the future.
Carole Johnstone is a writer who’s work I’ve been following for quite some time. There’s a gritty edge – and a sense of realism and immediacy – to her prose that makes her work stand out from the pack. She has a debut collection coming out this year from Gray Friar Press, and I recommend it highly.
Sarah Langan is a short story and novel writer whose first novel, The Keeper, met with favourable comparisons to Stephen King. For once the hyperbole was justified as her work shares well-rounded characters, a grounding in the everyday and a strong sense of place with the work of King. Further novels, Virus and Audrey’s Door, have built on this reputation. (Virus is titled The Missing in the US and won the 2007 stoker for best novel.)
Mary Harron for doing the best job anyone probably could have of bringing Bret Easton Ellis’s slick soulless slasher American Psycho to the screen and imbuing with something approaching a sense of humour. Her episode ‘Community’ was also one of the few highlights of the Mick Garris TV anthology show Fear Itself.
JOHN LLEWELLYN PROBERT
For writing and directing American Mary, a genuinely transgressive, slick, gorgeous looking (in so many ways…), crazy, funny, brilliant, innovative, stylish European/Japanese crossover horror movie made in Canada! It totally unleashed my inner fetishist.
Roberta Lannes, who’s been writing and publishing since the late 1970s, is an author who deserves far greater recognition than she’s often accorded. Her first published tale ‘Goodbye, Dark Love’ was one of the stand-out contributions to Dennis Etchison’s seminal Cutting Edge anthology: an uncompromising and unflinching tale that spoke what few dared to utter back then, much imitated since but rarely surpassed. Stories like ‘Precious’ and ‘Apostate in Denim’ continued to mark her out as a rich and powerful voice within the genre. Her more recent work may have become more subtle, but the power is undimmed; the patchy Silver Salamander book The Mirror of Night aside, Lannes’ work still awaits a major collection; in the meantime it’s worth seeking out the dozens of anthologies it’s appeared in.