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Les Diaboliques Show:

Horror Directors 1980-1999

Curatorship: BEATRIZ SALDANHA
20 films from 1980 to 1999 • 14 different directors

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The show includes twenty horror feature films directed by pioneering women of the genre in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s.

Although in recent years film research and critics have focused on the trajectories of several filmmakers erased by official history, horror filmmakers are generally left out of these efforts and remain hidden, known and recognized only in small niches. The trajectory of horror film directors is not so different from what is told in the history of cinema as a whole, with a certain effervescence of female participation in the early years and waning soon after, when cinema becomes a very profitable and becomes almost completely male-dominated. It takes decades for women to regain control of narratives, with a few exceptions in the meantime.

In the 1940s, filmmaker Maya Deren experimented with elements of the unusual in her short films; meanwhile, in the context of Hollywood, independent filmmaker Ida Lupino transitioned through the genre in the 1950s. It was not until the mid-1960s, amidst the growth of exploration films, that many women found opportunities to direct. Independent producers like Roger Corman were keen to finance a large amount of cheap, fast and appealing titles to have a guaranteed financial return, so they bet on the infallible combination of horror and sex. In this scheme Corman launched the careers of several filmmakers, among them Stephanie Rothman (a unique talent that is not included in this show just because it doesn't fit into the time frame), Katt Shea, Amy Jones, Barbara Peeters, Deborah Brock and Sally Mattison.

From the niche of independently produced erotic films came the talented Maria Lease and the prolific Roberta Findlay, damned and controversial filmmaker with the largest number of films in this show (five in all), among which is one of the most unpleasant scenes I have ever witnessed. in a horror movie. It is important to keep in mind that the fact that these films were directed by women does not mean that they are feminist films. In addition to, of course, ideology being an individual trait, most of these women were embedded in a commercial, non-authorial context and swam with the tide. Even so, many of them did not have the opportunity to continue their careers, relegated to ostracism. The special selection of Mostra Les Diaboliques: Horror directors 1980-1999 proposes the rescue of this cinematography to celebrate the work of these pioneers so that we can continue on this journey in our own way, but recognizing where we came from.

Beatriz Saldanha (curator)

Playlist with all trailers for the show