Women in Horror Month Interview with The Ghouls Next Door’s Gabe and Kat

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.” Two of the women, who were kind enough to answer our questions, were the fantastic podcasters Gabe and Kat. Lets see what they said about being a “Woman in Horror”…

-PH: When did you first become a horror fan?

-Gabe: I became a horror fan at a very young age! I come from a family of horror lovers who enjoyed teasing me as the youngest because I was afraid of everything. I watched Child’s Play when I was only 2 years old. One night when I was only 9 years old, I decided to stay up late and finish a horror movie by myself, it was Stephen King’s Rose Red and it scared me so much that I honestly got a thrill that I carry with me forever. 

-Kat: I became a horror fan through questionable parenting. I was allowed to watch rated R movies with my Dad and Grandpa like Terminator, or the Sixth Sense. I was genuinely afraid of these films but grew to enjoy them, and it always made me feel kinda cool that I had seen them. Did this have me convinced that robots would at one point destroy humanity? Absolutely, but it also helped me learn about scary things in a safe environment. It was a way that I bonded with family and friends in mutual fun scares. 

-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?

-Gabe: I work for the local public access station in Philadelphia. We have a radio show called the Black Tribbles that asks its participants to talk about what they truly geek-out about and I discovered just how much I loved horror by participating. This encouraged me to start the podcast, Ghouls Next Door with my fellow horror lover and historian, Kat Kushin! We became contributors to the genre through that by offering in-depth media analysis about the films we watch but also the societal and historical influences of the films we cover! We also create fun short horror-comedies as well.

-PH: Since you’ve become a horror fan and woman in horror, have you always had the support of friends and family or did you have some explaining to do?

-Gabe: My family are big horror lovers and so they were very accepting of my horror appreciation. I have received a few worried thoughts regarding my mental health and if I am desensitized but I always use that as an opportunity to educate on the power of horror as a tool for empathy!

-Kat: There are plenty of people in my life who don’t “get” horror, and my love of it. My partner is not a horror fan, but they are supportive of my love of horror, and the podcast/YouTube show. They sit through a lot of films they probably wouldn’t otherwise see, but it’s fun.

-PH: What does having a “Women in Horror” month mean to you?

-Gabe: Horror has a complicated relationship with women. It has been one of the only genres that feature women heroes at the forefront but it also features gratuitous and graphic violence against women quite often. I think it’s an amazing opportunity to highlight the positives and negatives about the genre as it pertains to women during this time. We have so many phenomenal women directors, actors and more involved in this community and we are often overlooked. 

-PH: Is there a woman in horror who you consider a role model? How have they affected your life in and outside of horror?

-Gabe: This is a great question. I wouldn’t say there is one specific woman in horror that is a role model but rather all the women who are pioneers and creators in this field! I am eternally inspired by the women around me and in the horror genre. I am very thankful for their unique voices and appreciate the representation.

-PH: How do you think the role of women in horror has changed since you got involved in horror? Have you personally noticed a change from when you started?

-Gabe: I have connected with other horror lovers both women and BIPOC creators that relate to the same struggles I’ve experienced as a horror creator. I truly appreciate these creators and enjoy being able to talk about the challenges and ways to combat them. I have seen more women directors in horror in recent times even considering this year’s Sundance Film Festival! 

-PH: Is there a recent movie, performance, book, work of art, SFX effects, etc by a woman that really stands out to you? Maybe something that’s a good example of how women have changed the genre for the better?

-Gabe: There is a podcast titled, Black Women Are Scary that I am super appreciative of! It is an audio-drama podcast that features horror and science fiction work created by and performed by black women. I have worked on sound design a few times and really love the stories and diverse voices that highlight black women in horror!

-PH: What do you think the future holds for women in horror? 

-Gabe: My hope and dream is to see more Women and even, non-binary voices in the genre! Both behind and in front of the camera. I hope that we can continue to create more empowering narratives that value women and their strength outside of excessive violence and trauma. 

-Kat: I hope to see better representation for women in horror, and agree it’d be great to see more LGBTQIA+ folx included on the scene. I also hope t

-PH: And how about the state of horror? Not only have women been changing horror, but so have people from different races, ethnicities, genders, etc… What do you think this means for horror now, and in the future?

-Gabe: I have seen more diverse horror in the last few years than ever before. We are finally greenlighting and seeing scripts that have been waiting to be shared with the world. I am so excited to see more BIPOC voices and films made by creators outside of heteronormativity as well. We have a long way to go but horror can honestly be a great tool to share our experiences to promote empathy and understanding. We should use this tool more!

-Kat: I think there have been a lot of great steps towards better representation in horror, and hearing stories that previously weren’t being told. Obviously there’s a lot of room to improve and grow, and it’s been refreshing to have movement towards a more inclusive genre. 

-PH: If you could serve a role in horror that you’ve never done, what would it be?

-Gabe: Though I have acted in my own personal horror-comedy films, I think it would be really fun to act in a serious horror film one day. Also, since my show is educational, I think it would be a great experience to teach a class on social horror!

-Kat: I agree with Gabe that it’d be amazing to expand our role in the horror sphere to teaching. I think we’ll also find space in writing, acting and directing too. 

-PH: Who is your favorite final girl, and favorite female villain?

-Gabe: Favorite Final Girl is Ripley from Alien. Such a powerful, by-the-book, no-nonsense and incredibly intelligent and resilient character! Conversely, my favorite female villain is the Queen Xenomorph who was just trying to live and protect her babies!

-PH: Being that this is PromoteHorror.com, please feel free to plug your current/next horror project.

Gabe and Kat are co-hosts of the podcast, and youtube show, The Ghouls Next Door. We are a media analysis show that looks at media from a horror lens and dissects that media to show how it represents deep-rooted historical, and cultural fears. We discuss film, and other media while tying it back to the historical and psychological real-life horrors the media represents. 

We’ve been recording episodes, short films, and exploring the horror genre for the past three years. Below are some links to our show.

Simulated Reality, The Matrix Trilogy, and Capitalism

Social Horror: The Invisible Man

Horror While Black: Candyman

Social Horror: Assassination Nation

The Ghouls Next Door

Ghosted by Gabe (She/They) & Kat (She/Her)

Web: www.theghoulsnextdoor.com

Facebook: /ghoulsnextdoor

Twitter: @ghoulsnxtdoor

Instagram: @theghoulsnextdoor

We would like to thank Gabe and Kat for taking the time to answer our questions, but more importantly for their contribution to horror!

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