Ghastly Grinning Spotlight: Bee Bass
To continue our support and encouragement of Women in Horror Month, Ghastly Grinning has turned the spotlight inwards on our own roster of writers and contributors. Today we highlight graphic designer, slasher expert and contributing writer Bee Bass!
Ghastly Grinning: What was your introduction to horror?
Bee Bass: In many ways I feel as if horror has always been intertwined into my life. As a child of the 90’s most of the children’s cartoons and movies I was interested in were what genre fans call “Gateway Horror”. In fact, I was so obsessed with Scooby-Doo that “Scoob” became a childhood nickname of mine. Movies like Gremlins and The Witches helped give me a taste for the genre and as I got older I just kept testing my limits of what I could handle without getting too scared. I can recall watching Halloween at age 8, it scared me but that’s what I liked about it. I found at a young age, I enjoyed being scared and from there the love just grew.
GG: Do you have a favorite film or sub-genre of horror? How about outside of it?
BB: Very much so. I love horror in general but my heart belongs to slashers. Something I appreciate about slashers, that doesn’t usually work well in other sub-genres of horror, is the heart and the comedy. Slashers have always felt like a melting pot of genres to me, when done well pulling from the best coming of age dramas, buddy comedies and horrific true crime. I also love a good monster movie and honestly can’t get enough of this home invasions trend. Outside of horror, I really just love all film. From dramas to musicals to westerns, if it’s a good film the genre really does not matter to me.
GG: How do you feel like female representation stands in the genre?
BB: This is a tough question. I feel like on a surface level, representation is quite good. Horror is one of the few genres that really champions telling female led stories. I recently read an article that Horror is the only genre where on average women get as much dialogue as men in film. Part of me thinks that is insane, and the bigger part of me sees how that is true. On the back end, there is still so much work to be done to get more female voices behind the scene heard. I wasn’t encouraged as a young female filmmaker, I was told my voice didn’t want to be heard. That needs to stop, we need to make sure we are telling companies we want to see movies from these female directors and writers and producers. We will get there, and I finally see progress being made, which is encouraging. The more unique voices telling stories, the more interesting and diverse films we will get, and I am all for that.
GG: Do you feel that being a female in the industry or fandom is different than for other fans and if so, how would you like to see that change?
BB: I have always felt the need to defend my interest and even more so, my knowledge, in horror. I’ve always been interested in the industry and even attended the Cal Arts Summer school for the arts to study film the summer after my freshman year in high school. Through that experience, I found that as much as I loved film, I wasn’t sure I had the kind of drive and tenacity it took to survive in the industry. At 15 I was already defending myself to my peers because somehow loving Cabin Fever made my talent less valuable. I shifted to graphic design, which is what I now have my degree in. To the general population, when they look at me and I tell them I love slashers, or that Halloween is one of my favorite movies, nobody believes me. I don’t have the “look” of a horror fan, (whatever that is supposed to mean). I have always felt that horror and its community has been kind of this exclusive boys club that I wasn’t worthy of. I’m not worthy because I don’t dress a certain way or listen to a certain type of music that falls in line or I haven’t seen enough films or I’m too young. A million reasons why my young female voice isn’t taken seriously in a male dominated genre. I’m not a fanboy, so where do I belong in a niche community such as horror? It wasn’t until recently when I found the Shock Waves podcast and in consequence the Facebook book group associated with it that I felt I had a voice. Although, the group itself is male dominated there are plenty of female voices in there speaking with me. But more importantly for the first time when I discussed horror and my opinions, I didn’t feel dismissed. This helped me finally get the courage to start the podcast on slasher films my best friend and I had always talked about. I finally felt like my voice, my opinions, my insight on the genre needed to be shared. I started contributing to Ghastly Grinning and being proud to share my words instead of nervous I would be dismissed. I want to see more of that. I want more women to feel empowered to share their knowledge, talent and insight even in male dominated industries such as film and horror.
GG: Do you have any role models or inspirations in horror?
BB: Every final girl ever? No, but in all seriousness I do really look to the actresses who have embraced horror and let their passion for the genre show in the films they choose. It is wonderful to have modern genre actresses like Katherine Isabelle & Danielle Harris who embrace horror and the community. The stigma of being in horror movies is something that has always frustrated me, and I feel like that is starting to change. I will forever be grateful for the work of Jamie Lee Curtis and her unashamed love for her scream queen title and how that did not stop her from taking on diverse roles in her career, while still returning to the genre.
GG: What do you do outside your work with genre films?
BB: I work as a graphic designer which luckily coincides with my genre work on occasion. I work a 9-5 type design job in Downtown Sacramento. When I am not there I take on freelance work and have been pushing that towards horror as well. In the most contrast with my work as a writer and designer in horror is I also design wedding invitations and paper goods for my company Pixels & Paper!
GG; If you have anything you would like to plug or anyone you would like to thank, plug and thank away! And thank you so much for your time.
BB: I encourage anyone who is a fan of slashers to check out my podcast Keep Screaming. I co-host with my best friend (and editor in chief of this very website) Ryan Larson. Every two weeks we take a slasher film and dissect it. We go over everything from the history, the kill by kill, the position of the film in the horror landscape and then we rank them on our website, keepscreaming.com. It is a lot of fun, we really try and highlight what works with the film and showcase the hard work that goes into making these films even if we didn’t enjoy the outcome.