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 artist S. M. Shuford. Lets see what she said about being a “Woman in Horror”…
-PH: When did you first become a horror fan?
-S.M.: That’s hard to say. I suppose I’ve always been naturally drawn to horror. It’ll sound odd, but I often feel like strange nightmares I’ve had hold far more reality than waking life does. I have a lot of them, and usually remember disturbing dreams with more clarity than any actual events. I think of them as more fascinating than scary, and use them a lot in my work.
I would gravitate towards the creepier books as a kid, too, like Goosebumps or Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and from there began to really delve into the genre.
-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?
-S.M.: I’m not sure exactly when, but there was a point where I had seen enough horror art and films to think that’s what I really wanted to do. When I first discovered surreal horror and ero-guro art, I think it triggered something incredibly chaotic that made me obsessed with creating my own. Also, I did think if I began to work in those sub-genres, it might along the way inspire more women to try those styles of art as well.
-PH: What does having a “Women in Horror” month mean to you?
-S.M.: Quite a lot! It’s absolutely a beautiful idea – it squashes the tired, awful and outright untrue stereotype that horror is not for women, or that no women work in horror. As if! I like that it brings awareness to the work of all sorts of women in the genre as well, both established creators and newcomers.
-PH: Is there a woman in horror you consider a role model?
-S.M.: I would have to say Kelly Link and Kei Fujiwara. I’ve always found Kelly Link’s horror stories to be mesmerizing, and she is just unbelievably talented at creating a disturbing and tense atmosphere. Kei Fujiwara I admire because she makes films that are completely unafraid to be deranged and graphic or whatever she wants them to be, and the fact that a female director can make such surreal horror films and them get recognition as artwork really is inspiring to me.
-PH: How do you think the role of women in horror has changed over the years?
-S.M: Definitely for the better. I feel like it’s more accessible for women now, and you don’t face much judgment for being a horror creator as you might’ve say, 80 years ago. As far as women as horror characters, I like that there seems to be a surge in the past few years of strong female characters in horror, both villains and heroines. Even if they are the victim of the story, they still have a depth and intensity to their personality, and are not just a side character or throwaway character for a death scene.
-PH: What do you think the future holds for women in horror?
-S.M.:Whole worlds of untapped nightmare lurking in wait to be unleashed.
-PH: Being that this is PromoteHorror.com, please feel free to plug your current/next horror project.
-S.M.: I am currently in the process of publishing some mini eBooks of horror poetry, some darker and more grotesque and some more along the lines of dark fantasy. The first, Cosmic Love, which is light horror, comes out this week and will be free on Smashwords.com.
We would like to thank S. M. Shuford for taking the time to answer our questions, but more importantly for her contribution to horror!