Women have been front and center in the world of horror for about as long as horror has been in the popular conscious. Mary Shelley first published her novel about a mad doctor and his terrifying scientific creation in 1818. Frankenstein has since gone on to inform and inspire ever aspect of the horror genre since it’s release two hundred and two years ago. Likewise, people whose existence defies the socially accepted concept of binary gender are naturally drawn to the genre that’s made itself a haven for those who walk off the beaten path.
But for as good as women and non-binary folks have been to horror, the genre hasn’t always been quite as good back. Despite their many contributions, female and gender non-conforming filmmakers are still all too often disparaged, discredited, or disregarded altogether. It’s nothing new, even Shelley’s name didn’t appear on the cover of Frankenstein until 5 years after it was first published. But Final Girls Berlin is doing their part to change all that.
The German film festival is set to take place February 6th-9th at City Kino Wedding in Berlin. Festival co-director Eli Lewy said it’s the “most expansive and international” edition yet, boasting “a wide array of films by visionary filmmakers that represent the diversity and originality that can be found in the current horror landscape.” On top of an impressive list of feature films and shorts, the festival will also host a horror inspired self-defense course, horror themed drag performances, an art exhibition, and specialist panels on topics such as horror martyrs, made-for-tv horror, and “female monsters and bad mothers” in the genre. I’d say diverse and original is a rather apt description.
“Horror is a very elastic term,” Eli’s fellow co-director Sara Neidorf explains, “and we’re excited to discover films that make us question and expand our conception of what horror can be.” The festival will host 9 feature films including Charlie Says, Slumber Party Massacre, The Father’s Shadow, and a personal favorite Hail Satan?. It will also feature eight curated blocks of shorts exploring themes such as Queer Horror, True Crime, Blood Ties, and #METOO.
The full library is listed below and you can visit finalgirlsberlin.com for more info. If you’re around Berlin, you’re not going to want to miss this. If not, lookout for these movies on the festival circuit, and maybe we can all take some time to think about what we can do to help recognize the women and gender non-conforming folks in our community.
FINAL GIRLS BERLIN
CHARLIE SAYS (Dir. Mary Harron, USA, 2019), THE FATHER’S SHADOW (Dir. Gabriela Amaral Almeida, Brazil, 2018), THE DEEPER YOU DIG (Dirs. Toby Poster & John Adams, USA, 2019), DARK WHISPERS (Various directors, Australia, 2019), SWALLOW (Dir. Carlo Mirabel, Produced by Mollye Asher, Mynette Louie, Carole Baraton, Frederic Fiore, USA, 2019), SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (Dir. Amy Holden Jones, Written by Rita Mae Brown, USA, 1982), I WAS A TEENAGE KILLER (Dir. Sarah Jacobson, USA, 1993), TITO (Dir. Grace Glowicki, Canada, 2019), ROCK PAPER SCISSORS (Dir. Macarena García Lenzi & Martín Blousson, Argentina, 2019), HAIL SATAN? (Dir. Penny Lane, USA, 2019)
SHORT FILM BLOCKS:
Bad Romance: SOMETIMES, I THINK ABOUT DYING (Dir. Stephanie Abel Horowitz, USA, 2019), ATTACHMENT (Dir. Katarzyna Babicz, Poland, 2019), CRUST (Dir. Isabella Avery, UK, 2019), SPORTS DAY (Dir. Lin Tu, China, 2019), IT’S EASIER TO RAISE CATTLE (Dir. Amanda Nell Eu, Malaysia, 2017), FOYER (Dir. Sophie B. Jacques, Canada, 2019), DEEP TISSUE (Dir. Meredith Alloway, USA, 2019)
Social Ills: RE-HOME (Dir. Izzy Lee, USA, 2019), WHITE GIRL (Dir. Nadia Latif, UK, 2019), EXAM (Dir. Sonia K. Hadad, Iran, 2019), SNOWFLAKES (Dir. Faye Jackson, UK, 2019), TORCHING THE DUSTIES (Dir. Marlene Goldman, Canada, 2019), REFORMED (Dir. Samantha Timms, Australia, 2019), TINGLE MONSTERS (Dir. Alexandra Serio, USA, 2019)
Graveyard Shift: NEUROTICA EPISODE 1: EUREKA! (Dir. Laura Moss, USA, 2019), PLAYTIME’S OVER (Dir. Tony Reames, Written by Haley Reams, USA, 2019), THE VAMPIRE OF SOHO (Dir. Andy Edwards, Produced by Patricia Rybarczyk & Tansi Inayat, UK, 2019), ALTITUDE (Dir. Nicole Scherer, Austria, 2019), PEPPER (Dir. Kate Felix, Canada, 2019), ZOMBIOSIS (Dir. Cris Gambín, Spain, 2018), SEVEN LEVELS DEEP (Dir. Pina Brutal, Germany, 2019), INFERNAL REQUIEM (Dir. Barbara Como, Italy, 2019), GIRL IN THE SHED (Dir. Sophie Ansell, UK, 2019), REVENGE ANGELS (Dir. Maren Moreno, USA, 2019), MOTHER’S GUT (Dir. Matty Mancey, UK, 2019)
#METOO: WOMAN IN STALL (Dir. Madeleine Sims-Fewer & Dusty Mancinell, Canada/UK, 2018), LILI (Dir. Yfke van Berckelaer, The Netherlands, 2019), THE RAT (Dir. Carlen May-Mann, USA, 2019), SAFE SPACE (Dir. Annabelle Attanasio, USA, 2019), THE FOLLOWER (Dir. Stepahnie Szerlip, USA, 2019), GASLIGHT (Dir. Louisa Weichmann, Australia, 2019), RAPE CARD (Dir. Madeleine Sims-Fewer & Nathan Hughes-Berry, USA, 2017)
Queer Horror: SKIN (Dir. Audrey Rosenberg, USA, 2019), TEA PARTIES FOR BABIES (Dir. Teja LoBreglio, USA, 2019), LABRYS (Dir. BJ Colangelo, USA, 2019), BLOOD ORANGE (Dir. Aliya Haq, USA, 2018), LOVE LETTER (Dir. Zeddy Chevron, Canada, 2019), DESTRUCTION MAKES THE WORLD BURN BRIGHTER (Dir. Kalen Artinian, Produced by Claire Allore, Brendon Whelton & Alexandria Benoit, Canada, 2019), LONE WOLF (Dir. January Jones, Australia, 2019)
True Crime: LAST SEEN (Dir. Drew Van Steenburgen, Written by Annie Powers & Drew Van Steenburgen, USA, 2019), SOUTH SHORE (Dir. Xavier Hamel, Produced by Nellie Carrier, Audrey D. Laroche & Xavier Hamel, Canada, 2018), PHOTOTAXIS (Dir. Melissa Ferrari, USA, 2017), WATCHING KARLA HOMOLKA (Dir. Jordan Steinhauer, Canada, 2019), KAYA (Dir. Catherine Fordham, USA, 2019), CHILDREN OF SATAN (Dir. Thea Hvistendahl, Sweden, 2019)
Blood Ties: NOT A BABY (Dir. Shannon Hanmer, Canada, 2019), FIRE GIRLS (Dir. Chell Stephen, USA, 2019), MAKR (Dir. Hana Kazim, UAE, 2019), WATER HORSE (Dir. Sarah Wisner & Sean Temple, USA, 2019), ELIXIR (Dir. Virginia Powers Hendry, USA, 2018), MAGGIE MAY (Dir. Mia’Kate Russell, Australia, 2018), CHANGELING (Dir. Faye Jackson, UK, 2019)
Folk Tales: DRUM WAVE (Dir. Natalie Erika James, Australia, 2018), BOOGEYWOMAN (Dir. Erica Scoggins, USA, 2019), THE DOULA (Dir. Sarah Elliot, USA, 2019), ALWAYS GOING NEVER GONE (Wanda Nolan, Canada, 2019), HUNTING SEASON (Dir. Shannon Kohli, USA, 2019), XIOMARA (Dir. Loelle Monsanto, Suriname, 2019), VINEGAR BATHS (Dir. Amanda Nell Eu, Malaysia, 2018)