Mychael Elaine

‘The Faculty’: Gender, Dialogue, and Naked Alien Space Monsters

The Faculty

How did these male filmmakers make a movie marketed to men full of female characters who actually get the majority of the dialogue? I’m about to crack the code and share the secret — are you ready to become enlightened? Here’s how they did it: They included female characters and gave them lines. WHAT. Yes, it’s that simple.

‘Splice’: Womb Horror and the Mother Scientist


‘Splice’ explores gendered body horror at the locus of the womb, reveling in the horror of procreation. It touches on themes of bestiality, incest, and rape. It’s also a movie about being a mom.

‘American Mary’: In Praise of the Amoral Final Girl


Directed by the Soska sisters, ‘American Mary’ features a complicated female protagonist who starts out as a likable badass but ends up as an amoral psycho. The film celebrates the power of bodily autonomy and depicts the horror of taking it away.

‘At the Devil’s Door’: There’s More Than One Way to Mother a Demon


Many reviewers of ‘At the Devil’s Door’ compare it to ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ and rightfully so: both films are masterpieces of pregnancy terror and the horror of unholy motherhood. But the women in these two stories have vastly different experiences accepting their roles as mothers of demonic spawn.

‘Mr. Jones’: Beautiful Nightmares and Bothersome Storytelling

ESCAPE YOUR NIGHTMARES — unless your nightmares are about confusing movies, in which case ENTER YOUR NIGHTMARES

There is so much potential within ‘Mr. Jones,’ and yet so little awesomeness, resulting in a convoluted found footage misfire, another tired story about a Male Protagonist and his Girlfriend.

‘Mockingbird’: A Unique Approach to Horror, But a Trite Approach to Gender


For filmmakers, the easiest way to make an audience like a character despite the fact that he’s a lazy failure of a human being is to steep that character in privilege. We’re always expected to root for young straight white cis men, whether their laziness makes them waste away their lives, or their ambition makes them endanger their entire family.

‘The Taking of Deborah Logan’: Alzheimer’s, Possession, and Mother/Daughter Love

Evil Lives Within You, But Your Daughter Lives With You And She Will Kick Evil's Ass

‘The Taking of Deborah Logan’ is a story about the horror of evil afflicting a deteriorating mind, but it’s also a tale of the strength of a mother and daughter’s love. Deborah is driven by female characters, and while not a perfect film, it serves up the scares and aces the Bechdel test.

‘Haunter’: Where Ghost Power Meets Girl Power

“We can send this bastard to hell, but we have to do it together.”

In ‘Haunter,’ Abigail Breslin plays a teenager who galvanizes a team of young women to challenge their evil oppressor together! Oh, and they’re all dead.

‘Sinister’: Or as I Like to Call It, “Don’t Move Your Family into a Murder House”


‘Sinister’ is a film in which the viewer is expected to root for a man whose personal dreams trump his entire family’s sense of safety in their own home – which is fucked up and frustrating and detracts from a film with some incredibly freaky moments.

Why This Bitch Loves the B—

June and Chloe and Pie

I avoided ‘Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23’ for quite a while; at a cursory Netflix glance it looked like anti-feminist tripe featuring catty women pitted against each other in a false dichotomy of “nice” and “bitch.” Then I watched it.

I could not have been more wrong.

Horror Week 2012: ‘Paranormal Activity’: The Horror of Waiting, of Watching, of Things Unseen

This guest review by Mychael Blinde previously appeared at Vagina Dentwata and is cross-posted with permission. Please don’t film the demons! I’m partial to the Paranormal Activity trilogy for three reasons: the clever camera work, the pitch perfect execution of tension building and release, and the films’ focus on women’s stories and histories. (The first […]

Horror Week 2012: ‘The Strangers’: The Horror of Home Invasion and the Power of the Final Girl

  Guest post written by Mychael Blinde. Originally published at Vagina Dentwata. Cross-posted with permission. The home invasion horror film The Strangers received bad reviews. Like, really bad. Critics wrote things like: “What a waste of a perfectly good first act! And what a maddening, nihilistic, infuriating ending!” and: “Kind of like what The Shining […]