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 illustrator Daniella Batsheva. Lets see what she said about being a “Woman in Horror”…
-PH: When did you first become a horror fan?
-Daniella: I can’t say for sure because I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t one! I was raised in a household that was very open minded in regards to the arts and had taken a liking to horror very early on. My mother would always point out the special effects in films and show me how they were made, so I came into horror from a creative perspective.
-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?
-Daniella: That moment dawned on me when I was 13. I remember standing in a used record store and checking out old videos and album covers and realizing that someone had to be hired to make that! I always wanted to be an illustrator, but no one ever suggested that working in horror or music was a possible career option. Horror was entirely off the table as a career option because there simply wasn’t a market for horror art where I grew up. I could never picture myself doing anything else and couldn’t really live without it.
-PH: What does having a “Women in Horror” month mean to you?
-Daniella: Choosing a career in the arts, specifically in horror, is difficult enough. I’m so grateful to have a Women in Horror month because it gives a platform to all the creative women in the field that are so often overlooked or overshadowed. We still have a great deal to overcome in terms of being respected as equals, but giving women the spotlight for once really helps. We’re still frequently judged by our appearance first, instead of our body of work, and I’ve found that women are judged more harshly and are rarely given second chances. I’m psyched that through Women in Horror month I get to meet women who are passionate and talented, that I otherwise may not have heard of! I think this is a wonderful opportunity to make new friends and build the solid support system that we all need.
-PH: Is there a woman in horror who you consider a role model?
-Daniella: Totally cliche answer, but here we go. Maila Nurmi stole my heart when I was 14, unfortunately, all I had to learn from were old articles and the few clips that existed from 1954. What I appreciate about her is that ‘Vampira’ wasn’t just a character, she LIVED that. Vampira was more monster than sex symbol; she was unfriendly, she was bold, and she was fearless! To stand out to that extent and hold your head up high while living as a witchy woman in the 50’s takes a shit-ton of guts. Maila still gets a never-ending amount of shoutouts and she deserves every single one of them.
-PH: How do you think the role of women in horror has changed over the years?
-Daniella: I think the “sexy helpless victim” shtick is dying out in a big way. For years women were frequently represented as a sentient pair of tits, but now we get to be the heroes, we get to be monsters. Hell, more importantly, now we get to CREATE. We’re in a position where it’s possible to be behind the scenes, at the drawing board, producing, or directing. The old guard has held on to those positions for so long that, up until recently, the environment hasn’t been inviting to women. Sure, there are always hurdles to overcome, but being a woman in the horror scene has become less of a novelty.
-PH: What do you think the future holds for women in horror?
-Daniella: I can definitely see a future where women aren’t immediately sexualized and are instead judged by their talent and dedication. I don’t know how long that will take, unfortunately, but I think that’s the direction we’re headed in. We’re building a strong community now, which will act as a platform for future generations of women that would like to contribute to the arts. I like to think the future will be friendlier.
-PH: Being that this is PromoteHorror.com, please feel free to plug your current/next horror project.
-Daniella: Right now I’m brainstorming with Angelica Ulloa on products, so there will be some fresh designs to be released for the 2018 Screamfest Horror Film Festival. Atomic Cotton just released one of my t-shirt designs, a Junji Ito-inspired Soska Sisters design, which is on sale at their website right now. (atomiccotton.com)
I also have ongoing projects with director Mary C. Russell, I frequently illustrate posters for her. Her film “Carved” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime. (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/video/detail/B078RVSBPH)
I’m also working on some large projects with Bobby Alt of Street Drum Corps, more will be announced shortly, but keep an eye out for info on “Scared in NJ,” a haunt based by the Pine Barrens in New Jersey.
You can follow me on instagram @daniellabatsheva or find me on facebook. You can check out some more of my work at my website – daniellabatsheva.com, but it’s not updated as frequently as my social media, so check those pages for the latest pieces.
We would like to thank Daniella Batsheva for taking the time to answer our questions, but more importantly for her contribution to horror!