The Horror Honeys: To Know Horror Fans is to Love Them...

To Know Horror Fans is to Love Them...

This week, it came to our attention that an article written with outdated source material and some broad stroke generalizations about horror fans had been written that labels all of us as something akin to soulless creatures devoid of empathy...oh, and we're usually men.
"The students who sought out horror movies were more likely than others to say they would like to watch an autopsy being performed, would attend gladiator fights if they could travel back in time, and would slow down to watch a car accident." 
In light of an article such as this, presented as hard fact and in direct opposition to everything we stand for as women, and as female horror fans, there was no way that we could stay silent. The immense irony of this article is also summed up in two points. The film used as the apex point of the article, The Babadook, was written and directed by a woman, and centres on a female character. The author of the article is also a woman, and I truly hope that she reads what we have to say.

Art by Jessica Harrison (also not a man)
The Head Honey's Response

Everyone turns to horror for a different reason. Some to escape reality, some to find strength, and some to find kindred spirits who are as haunted as they are. When I started the Horror Honeys, I wanted to find other women who felt the way that I did about horror, and to let them know that they aren't alone. In a sea of male voices who are louder and more recognized and (somehow) deemed more credible, finding a group of like-minded women who felt the same way I did and reacted the same way I did to these powerful pieces of performance art was nothing short of a miracle. This miracle allowed me to develop my own love of the genre, explore pieces of my psyche that I hadn't known I could explore and above all else, it reignited my passion for life and art in general. Horror films are about more than blood, guts, and tits. Horror puts us in touch with reality, but more importantly, more in touch with our mortality. It encourages us to think beyond what's being fed to us by Fox News and the mainstream media every day. Horror challenges us to be subversive, daring, shocking, thought-provoking, and above all, smart.

Horror cinema has been a part of popular culture since the dawn of celluloid, and has been a part of human culture since mankind was telling stories around campfires and in marble halls. As someone with an Anthropology degree, I choose see horror as a form of mythology, and mythology in its earliest forms sought to explain the unknowable, to make it accessible and understandable to the mere mortals experiencing it. Early horror did just that, it sought to make the terrifyingly strange and unknowable understandable by giving it a human face, or by showing that it, like ignorance, could be defeated.

Good horror, is about education. Through education, we break through those walls of ignorance and prove that we are better than or unworthy of the stereotypes thrust upon us. However, education of people like Ms. Robb who pass judgement without knowing or even attempting to understand in any realistic form exactly what they are judging is difficult. Those who paint with the broad brush of ignorance tend to all start sounding the same - different is wrong, different is bad, different is evil. As a woman who represents passionate, hard working, talented, brilliant, educated women who also happen to love horror movies, it's difficult not to take an article like this personally. I'd like to know how Mr. Robb plans to address female genre fans, and where she would suggest that we turn our passions. I'm sure they will somehow mirror her own interests, and for me, that's true horror.

The Revenge Honey's Response

As the Revenge Honey, it could be argued that I often see the "worst" of what horror has to offer. Women who have been raped, beaten, degraded, and left for dead, or men who are callous, violent, misogynist brutes without an ounce of pity: these are my bread and butter. The brutality in revenge horror can sometimes be too much to bear, and films such as The Last House on the Left and Irréversible and Ms. 45 force you to confront images that you could probably go your whole life without seeing. So why do I watch? Is it because I'm devoid of empathy or a "frightened woman" clinging to the big strong man at my side, as Alice Robb and her antiquated statistics would have people believe?

Of course not (and pardon my language, but fuck you very much for assuming only men enjoy horror when REAL statistics prove more than HALF of horror fans are women). I turned to revenge horror for relief when I didn't feel strong enough to confront the terrors in my real life. I turned to revenge horror to find women who were brave enough to fight back against their victimizers, when I was too young and too afraid to do so myself. I turned to revenge horror not because I lacked empathy for the survivors in these films, but because I was so filled with empathy for them, I would sometimes sob uncontrollably in movie theaters.

Ms. Robb and her decades old bullshit statistics achieve nothing but to further misconceptions about the kind of people who love horror. But as anyone reading this knows, there is no one kind of horror fan. Since becoming a Horror Honey, and joining Twitter, and going to conventions, I have met some of the dearest, most wonderful people I have ever known in my life. My Horror Honey sisters are the kindest, funniest, sweetest, most fiercely loyal women I have ever had the pleasure to know. And most of the men I have met are considerate, protective, gentle, and artistic, whether they're watching or making films about serial killers.

So, Alice Robb, I have no problem saying that all you've done with your misinformed article on horror fans is prove YOU are the one lacking empathy. And you have succeeded in disparaging a fandom that is both loyal to the work, and one another. And that is a bloody shame.

The Sci-Fi Honey 2.0's Response 

Dear Alice Robb,

The title of your recent piece published on The New Republic website is “What It Says About You If You Enjoy Horror Movies,” and I’m going to go ahead and tell you right now what that says about me: that I enjoy horror movies. It says nothing more about who I am as an individual, and to assume otherwise is a dangerously narrow-minded stance.

As my colleagues at the, numerous people on the comments section of the article and other fans of the genre have already stated in various places on the internet, there are so many absurdities, inconsistencies, and blunders in basic logic littering your piece that it barely merits a dignified response. It must be addressed, however, because the “facts” you assert in your article continue to unjustly reinforce an ignorant prejudice against the horror-loving community.

As a devout fan of horror media and fiction, I feel as though I am part of a group that is routinely demonized and misunderstood. Without citing the myriad studies that refute the decades-old statistics you published in your piece, I can tell you from my own experience, with unequivocal certainty, that the community of horror fans I associate with on a daily basis through the website I contribute to and through social media, are some of the kindest, most humorous, compassionate, and lighthearted individuals I’ve had the pleasure to converse with. We are fiercely diverse (yes, we can even be female), and yes, we are deeply empathetic. Our interest in the genre has no relationship to how we conduct ourselves as human beings.

If you consider yourself to have even an iota of journalistic integrity, I urge you to look at the many sides of an issue before you cite imbalanced, problematic, and outdated studies as factual evidence which only serves to denigrate an already oft-maligned group of people.

Better yet, try actually taking to a horror fan, and decide for yourself. We don’t bite… contrary to what you would like to believe.


Sci-Fi Honey 2.0