Fresh off the not-yet-released zombie comedy Little Monsters (pictured above), director Abe Forsythe and star Lupita Nyong’o (Us) are re-teaming for another genre comedy, Deadline reports today. This one is a sci-fi comedy, pitched under the title Miss Universe.
EXCLUSIVE: Get your crucifix and be ready to recite a bunch of Hail Marys because New Line’s The Nun is coming back and screenwriter Akela Cooper has been tapped to write the script for the next installment of the series which will take us deeper into the hellishly sacred world of The Conjuring universe.
A swell of well drawn, whole, and complicated Black female characters in widely accessible horror cinema has been the charge of Graveyard Shift Sisters since the beginning. With a firmly established celebration of the past, it is now thankfully a time where we can look towards a future of care and visibility for fresh, new images that’ll have us talking for decades to come. There are shorts and features, both independent and mainstream that are making an 2019 appearance to celebrate and support. Here are a few that will prosper the discussion and scholarship surrounding the black women’s horror aesthetic.
“‘Are you OK?’ is going to be on my tombstone, with an etching of me looking concerned,” Rachel True tells me with bone-dry sarcasm. She’s elaborating on her point in director Xavier Burgin’s buzzy new documentary, Horror Noire, in which she states that black actresses in horror films like herself often play characters whose only job is to make sure the white female lead is OK. Tropes like this, and the one about black people being the first to die in the genre, are exactly what the insightful new film confronts as it reflects on the last several decades of horror and its portrayals of blackness.
This year was one of the first that I truly began “working” in the horror field. Between the panels, starting this blog, my podcast, or hosting my own horror movie live show, 2018 was a big year for me and my career trajectory. One of the other major things was my discovery of just how many other black women are out in the world trying to carve out a niche in the big, bad world of horror. Everyone knows that most of the industry is white dudes (I’m not even going to pretend to be PC about this), who make very little room for anyone who isn’t another white dude. But there are women out here who are really working to expand the definition of what we know as a “horror fan”.
Black horror. An entity of its own, mattering the pulse of the film industry specific for this conversation, is undeniably revolutionary. Its launching pad for the world, where more eyes are fixated on it now more than ever is Get Out (2017). A film that has shattered records financially, critically, and further, in prestigious recognition and beyond, writer Dianca London reminds us that writer/director Jordan Peele created a film that flawlessly “tears the veil between the reality of blackness and how it is imagined through the gaze of whiteness.” Get Out, a black horror film is a worldwide success that refuses the white gaze by not only centering its Black protagonist Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), but canonizing him as an example of black survival in confronting a white supremacist society.
Dianca’s exemplary analysis makes her an exciting, sobering voice in pop culture criticism. This Bucks County, Pennsylvania dropout now Brooklyn inhabitor has made her way through The New School, Arcadia University, even Christian formal school and out as a scribe for the Village Voice and many more recognizable publications if you spend a lot of time on the internet learning new things. Her candid expressions are an opus of honest declarations that she backs with oodles of historical receipts. With equal enthusiasm, she is also the online editor for Well-Read Black Girl, a book club that celebrates the literary acheivements of women throughout the African diaspora. Her forthcoming memoir, Planning for the Apocalypse: Meditations on Faith and Being the Only Black Girl at Your Party has officially moved to number one of my must-read’s for 2018.
Before her presentation/lecture, Black Horror: The Revolutionary Act of Subverting the White Gaze for the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies in Brooklyn, New York, Dianca mapped the path of her reverence for the genre, starting as a tender-aged fan covering her eyes during most of Beetlejuice (1988), towards the genre book and television options in the next decade. “As a child of the ‘90s, I was really lucky to come of age at a moment where pop culture was filled with so many horror narratives. The Nightmare Before Christmas was also a milestone for me. After my dad took me to see it in theatres, all I wanted was to watch more movies like it. Thankfully, I had Goosebumps books to binge read and snuck episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, which gave me nightmares, but I refused to stop watching.
Meet Melody Cooper, multiple ScreenCraft Finalist. She placed in the 2018 ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship, the 2017 Fall ScreenCraft Film Fund and 2016 ScreenCraft Horror Screenplay Competition.
She recently won the 2018 Urbanworld Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay for her thriller screenplay Northern Cross. She was one of 10 Women Horror Directors listed in a 2018 A.V. Club article on who producer Jason Blum should consider. In March 2018, she was selected for a month-long writer’s residency in the south of France by La Napoule Arts Foundation to develop her horror TV pilot Sundown, which is set in LA in 1938 and features folklore monsters. Sundown was also a semi-finalist for 2018 Sundance Episodic Lab and Showtime’s Tony Cox Television Pilot Competition at the Nantucket Film Festival.
Her supernatural thriller The Sound of Darkness is a 2018 Athena List Finalist and was also selected for AMC Networks Shudder Labs, NY Stage & Film Filmmaking Workshop (mentored by It Follows producer Joshua Astrachan), the Writer’s Lab, and the Tangerine Entertainment Fellowship at Stowe Story Lab.
Beyond being a finalist in multiple ScreenCraft competitions, Melody’s work has placed in top 10% of the Nicholl competition, won the Woods Hole Film Festival, and has been a Finalist for Creative World Awards, Shriekfest and the International Sci-fi and Horror Film Festival. Her screenplay Monstrous was Winner of the Women in Cinema International Screenplay Competition, and took Third Place at Slamdance.
With a grant from AMC Shudder Labs, Melody directed a short based on The Sound of Darkness. She also directed a short documentary Detained, that won a 2018 Award of Excellence at Docs without Borders. Born in NY, Melody is also a produced playwright who won the Jane Chambers Award and was nominated for an Off Broadway Alliance Award. Her play Sweet Mercy was developed by NY Stage & Film (starring Danai Gurira). Currently, she’s writing a horror film with director Sebastian Silva, and developing a genre film project with producer Adi Shankar.
We had a chance to sit down with Melody and discuss the craft of genre screenwriting and what it’s like to be an up-and-coming writer/director.
“Little Woods” director and writer Nia DaCosta has been tapped to helm “Candyman,” a new retelling of the classic horror pic with Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld, and MGM producing.
The film, a “spiritual sequel” to the original, returns to the neighborhood where the legend began: the now-gentrified section of Chicago where the Cabrini-Green housing projects once stood. Production is expected to begin next spring. Universal Pictures will release the movie theatrically on June 12, 2020.
“We cannot wait for the world to see what the mind-blowing combination of Jordan, Win, and Nia bring to the legend of Candyman. They have created a story that will not only pay reverence to Clive Barker’s haunting and brilliant source material, but is also thoroughly modern and will bring in a whole new generation of fans,” said MGM Motion Picture Group president Jonathan Glickman.
In Scott’s words, “Beloved disrupts horror’s narrative impetus, visual regime, and phenomenological economy to create a different iconography of fear, one that exceeds spookiness and thrill and sheds light on the representation of cinematic horror’s social, historical and cinematic repressed.”