As you may know, February is “Women in Horror” month. To celebrate, PromoteHorror.com asked women from different professions if they would like to answer some questions about being a “Woman in Horror.” One of the women, who was kind enough to answer our questions, was haunted house operator Kitty Barnes. Lets see what she said about being a “Woman in Horror”…
-PH: When did you first become a horror fan?
-Kitty: I have been an undercover horror fan for as long as I can remember, always drawn to the quirky and macabre. I didn’t choose the spooky life, the spooky life chose me.
-PH: Was there a specific moment when you realized that you wanted to go from being a fan of horror to a woman who contributes to the genre, or did it just kind of happen naturally?
-Kitty: There is definitely an internal drive to always do more. After years writing a humor blog dedicated to apocalyptic fashion(no… really), I decided to create my own complimenting accessories for the end-of -days and in doing so, it exposed me to a world of horror fans and opportunities. Next logical step was to join a horror book club, run events for a traveling troupe of scare actors (the incredible RED VEIN ARMY), and then help open a professional haunted attraction (RED VEIN Haunted House). You never know where life will lead you. In my case: bigger, better and scarier!
-PH: What does having a “Women in Horror” month mean to you?
-Kitty: Women in Horror Month is like an opportunity to say “thank you” to all the awesome women who make the industry incredible. Support year round but take a moment to appreciate and share. It’s an excuse to bring people together, to talk about the successes, and be real about the opportunities.
-PH: Is there a woman in horror who you consider a role model?
-Kitty: Every. Single. Fearless woman I have met in Richmond! These ladies are unstoppable! I can not thank them enough for being brilliant and masterful at their craft. I adore passionate people that actually DO, that create, that have ideas and follow through. All my “Wicked Women”… I love you!
-PH: How do you think the role of women in horror has changed over the years?
-Kitty: I think more women are embracing their ability to be scary. There is a public perception that if women wear a costume, it has to be sexy. It’s okay to dress as a nurse, or a nun, or a cheeseburger and not wear a miniskirt. Sometimes being gross and bloody and filthy IS beautiful! And it can be downright frightening. Women can do and be more than eye candy in a haunted house; they build sets, design scares, create props, train actors, do the goriest make-up, they sweat, they bleed, they crawl in the mud, and sometimes they wear sexy nurse costumes… when it fits the story! I don’t have a problem with being cute victims in tight clothing IF it makes sense. Is it improving the final product? Believable? Or is it all for the sake of a stereotype? We work to be the most terrifying attraction we can be and that means constantly pushing boundaries and letting our characters be the unexpected. In some cases I feel like women are just getting noticed for all they contribute. We have always been here but now we want to talk about it more. Unfortunately, I think we still need more women working to change the conversation.
-PH: What do you think the future holds for women in horror?
-Kitty: Less women are content to follow the cookie-cutter roles of where they are suppose to fit in the industry. I think we will see a shift to women doing exactly what they want and bringing some of the best horror to the market!
-PH: Being that this is PromoteHorror.com, please feel free to plug your current/next horror project?
-Kitty: Although we work year round to prepare RED VEIN Haunted House for October, we have quite a few events throughout the year to keep the scares going. Currently we are working on our own Women in Horror Month celebration, Wicked Women of Richmond, which includes a live podcast recording with our panel of regional witchy women working to improve horror in our community. But it wouldn’t be RED VEIN without a few scares so we will be bringing a themed photo booth and some creatures from inside RED VEIN Haunt to entertain those in attendance. More info is available here –> https://goo.gl/JWDU1t
Photo of Sybil and Gerdie in Red Cloaks (The order of RED VEIN) courtesy of Ryan Sligh (owner at RED VEIN Haunt)
All additional photos courtesy of Rich Bailey. All photos are female actors.
We would like to thank Kitty Barnes for taking the time to answer our questions, but more importantly for her contribution to horror!