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,” and more. One of those women, who was kind enough to answer our questions, was actress, and award-winning filmmaker England Simpson. Lets see what she said about being a “Woman in Horror”…
-PH: When did you first become a horror fan?
-England: I had a very strict, Southern Pentecostal, upbringing. More often than not, I’d have to bargain with my mother to watch television shows like, “Are you afraid of the dark,” and “Goosebumps.” I fondly remember coming home from church one afternoon and catching Troma’s The Toxic Avenger on cable television. I LOVED the absurdity of the entire film. A few months later, my best friend further indulged my new obsession by sneaking a copy of Demon Knight into my home, and I was sold. I became a horror fan at the age of 11.
-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?
-England: It somewhat happened naturally. The main thing that changed my role from fan to contributor was the lack of work coming my way. As an established film/TV actress, it broke my heart that because I was black and plus-sized, I could not gain work within the genre that I loved… I wasn’t what a “final girl” or “scream queen” typically looked like. It wasn’t until I saw Raimi’s, The Evil Dead that I knew that filmmaking was an obtainable goal. My first attempt at making my own film was a disaster. I’d just started filming a reality show for a cable network, and right after the first season aired I tried filming my first short. I overextended myself, I didn’t even notice when the cinematographer stole all of my footage. I was too discouraged to try again. A few years later I made, Prelude: A Love Story.
-PH: What does having a “Women in Horror” month mean to you?
-England: It is that magical time of year when everyone who is passionate about the genre has the opportunity to pay attention and appreciate OUR contribution to the genre. It’s the possibility that someone will have the chance to discover new talent or new projects where women have a role above-the-line.
-PH: Is there a woman in horror who you consider a role model?
-England: I will say this until my face turns blue. Representation matters. My role models are filmmakers who are unashamed to feature WoC in important roles in their films. ☺
-PH: How do you think the role of women in horror has changed over the years?
-England: Over the years, women have proven that we are so much more than busty blondes getting butchered on screen. We are the storytellers, the influencers, the creators… We are producing and directing some of the greatest films in the genre. Hopefully we will continue in that trend and include all women who are eager to tell a compelling story.
-PH: Who are your favorite final girl, and favorite female villain?
-England: Me, lol! Jada Pinkett in Demon Knight, Sharni Vinson in You’re Next, Eihi Shiina in Audition, Naomie Harris in 28 days later, Kathy Bates in Misery, Halle Berry in Gothika , Jurnee Smollet in Eve’s Bayou.
-PH: Being that this is PromoteHorror.com, please feel free to plug your current/next horror project.
-England: My short film PRELUDE: A LOVE STORY, is currently streaming on Amazon Prime, ShortIndies and Digital Ticket: https://www.amazon.com/Prelude-Love-Story-England-Simpson/dp/B07M7FBXWQ
FAT HENRY, my latest bizarre tale, will be finished this year and screening at festivals at the end of 2019.
I will be a guest at ConCarolinas 2019 in Charlotte, NC from May 31st-Jun 2nd. I will be sitting on a few panels, talking shop, y’all come and see me. ☺
We would like to thank England Simpson for taking the time to answer our questions, but more importantly for her contribution to horror!