What better time than Halloween to look at the status of women in horror films?
While a large percentage of the on-screen screams come from women who are getting sliced and diced, not many are behind the camera or writing the scripts.
I recently spoke with Kailey Marsh, who tracks the industry's top horror writers and runs Hollywood's Blood List, an annual collection that debuts every Halloween of the top horror screenplays circulating around Hollywood.
The slightly good news? This year three women made the top 13, up from just one woman last year.
"I think there have always been women writing in the dark genre, but lately there has for sure been an increase," Marsh tells me.
I asked her if there were any women paving the way in the space.
"I wouldn't say there are many women 'paving the way' as much as the industry making a push to have more women and diversity roles in front of and behind camera," she says. "Gale Anne Hurd, who has mostly worked in the dark genre space, now has 'Walking Dead' on the air for multiple seasons. Kathryn Bigelow continues to be badass; Sarah Polley, Sofia Coppola, Marjane Satrapi, who just directed the extremely dark comedy 'The Voices.' Whether these women work in horror or not, they are working on projects that are breaking the mold in the directing space."
Still, for all the progress, I've actually encountered quite a few executives who will casually mention that women don't want to "sell out" to make horror or thriller films. These execs believe most of them would rather make personal, character-driven pieces that don't do well theatrically.
"I think everyone tends to think that women don't want to write or work in the dark genre space," says Marsh. "That's completely inaccurate. I'd say more women enjoy horror than men."
If there's a line to stand in to sell out, please point the way. I think many women in Hollywood would gladly take a number.
Check out the women who topped the Blood List.