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 screenwriter/author Jenna Wright. Lets see what she said about being a “Woman in Horror”…
-PH: When did you first become a horror fan?
-Jenna: I started reading Stephen King at a very young age. Like, early elementary school. From there, I dug into Michael Crichton, Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson, and the list goes on. I was hooked (and terrified).
-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?
-Jenna: It happened naturally when I began screenwriting. What’s funny is that my first script was a romantic comedy. It was me dipping my toe into the medium and figuring out what kind of writer I wanted to be. Turns out, I wanted to explore the darker side of things. My second script, co-written by John Rocco, was a contained thriller called THE SOUND, which eventually morphed into AMBITION and got picked up by Bob Shaye at Unique Features. Creating tension and fear felt like coming home. I’m not sure why I didn’t turn to horror in the first place, but I’ve always done things in kind of a roundabout way. Every script since has been a horror /thriller, and I’d be happy to write in that genre for the rest of my life.
-PH: What does having a “Women in Horror” month mean to you?
-Jenna: It means that we’ve made progress, but we still have a long way to go. Women in Horror month is a huge step forward and a wonderful way to spotlight contributions to the genre from those who might otherwise be overlooked, but I’m truly looking forward to the day when it’s just a bonus because we’ve achieved equality with our male counterparts.
-PH: Is there a woman in horror who you consider a role model?
-Jenna: I’m not sure about role models, as growing up I feel like most of the horror I consumed was created by men. But I do have a number of inspirations. Mary Shelley, for starters. Kathryn Bigelow (NEAR DARK is classic). More recently, I love Kelly Link’s writing (her short story collection PRETTY MONSTERS is wonderful). And Leigh Janiak, who directed and co-wrote HONEYMOON, is someone I think is killing it right now.
-PH: How do you think the role of women in horror has changed over the years?
-Jenna: I think women have realized they don’t have to tell someone else’s stories. For a long time, women were relegated to being the victim, the scream queen, or the final girl. Now let me say that acting takes incredible skill, and I admire anyone who can get in front of a camera and be vulnerable. It takes a courage that I don’t possess. But because of things like Women in Horror month, we’ve realized we can tell our stories, and we can be as brutal, or gory, or creepy, or darkly humorous as we want to. We’re not alone. There are others out there like us, and they’re getting it done. We can direct, act, shoot, sound design, color correct, write, stunt coordinate… women can be and do anything, they just needed to see it. Part of that, the #femalefilmmakerfriday hashtag on Twitter, is incredibly inspiring.
-PH: What do you think the future holds for women in horror?
-Jenna: Everything. There are so many stories to be told. I think the movement will amplify and grow. The dominoes have started to fall, and there’s no stopping it now.
-PH: Being that this is PromoteHorror.com, please feel free to plug your current/next horror project.
-Jenna: I’m currently writing an urban fantasy series featuring a demonic assassin, kind of a supernatural female John Wick, which can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Jenna-Lyn-Wright/e/B078GFRKZW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1517757663&sr=8-1
I’m also hard at work on writing my feature directorial debut, which is going to be a good old-fashioned bloody fun horror movie. I hope to have more details on that soon!
We would like to thank Jenna Wright for taking the time to answer our questions, but more importantly for her contribution to horror!