Ghastly Grinning Spotlight: Michele Eggen
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 staff writer and queen of the deep dive, Michele Eggen!
Ghastly Grinning: What was your introduction to horror?
Michele Eggen: I didn't officially consider myself a horror fan until I was in high school, but when I look back, horror was always in my life. I used to read A LOT in my youth so I advanced fairly quickly, and at a pretty young age, some of my favorite books were those of the young adult horror variety. I devoured as many books as I could from authors like R.L. Stine, Caroline B. Cooney, and Nicholas Pike. At the same time, my older sister would have sleepovers at our house with her best friend and they always watched horror movies. Of course, I had to join them. I was always a film fan even as a kid, and showed an interest in the behind-the-scenes of it all, so my parents trusted that I knew horror movies weren't real and let me watch pretty much whatever I wanted. Once I found myself spending weekends watching all the random horror movies I could find at the video store, I knew I would be a genre fan for life.
GG: Do you have a favorite film or sub-genre of horror? How about outside of it?
ME: My favorite horror film is Child's Play. It was one of those sleepover movies that traumatized me as a kid and gave me constant nightmares, but I still watched it whenever I could and secretly loved that feeling of fear that it gave me. It's an incredibly well-made and effectively scary film to this day and I will always love it. My favorite sub-genre of horror is ghosts or the supernatural, though I will also never pass up a good horror comedy or just flat-out gore film (I'm a bit of a gorehound). Outside of the genre, I'm always down to watch any action, crime, gangster, or western film. I love revenge stories, but will also tear up at sweet romances. The 1970s was the greatest era for filmmaking ever, and I adore just about every movie, filmmaker, and actor to come out of this decade.
GG: How do you feel like female representation stands in the genre?
ME: This is like two sides of the same coin. On the one side, horror films are often female-driven, and have given us many fantastic characters to look up to over the years. On the other side, there just aren't enough women actually making the movies. There definitely need to be more female voices behind the scenes in directing and writing capacities to offer different perspectives. I can find understanding and something to relate to in many female characters as they are presented today, but it stands to reason that females are probably the best at writing about other females, and their relationships and experiences. New voices are what is going to keep the genre alive and fresh.
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?
ME: I ran my own horror blog, The Girl Who Loves Horror, for six years and fortunately I never experienced any kind of negative backlash because of my gender, though I know it happens. But in a way, it still was kind of different because there was often that initial surprised reaction of, "Oh wait, you're a girl and you love horror films?!" But once people got over that, there was immediate acceptance and respect. I also find that once you're known as the "horror person," you get a lot of interest and curiosity from other people that are excited to talk about what they like in the genre as well, even if they don't consider themselves full-on fans. Just recently, my 50-something-year-old boss told me how she watched a double feature of The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Dr. Phibes Rises Again - two movies that I haven't even seen yet! There are just as many, if not more, female horror fans as there are male horror fans, and I think our voices are getting stronger every day just by being vocal about what we enjoy.
GG: Do you have any role models or inspirations in horror?
ME: My main interest when it comes to the genre is the academic side, dissecting and analyzing movies from all different angles. So I really look up to just about any horror writer or journalist out there who wears their passion on their sleeve and is not afraid to express it, even if their opinion isn't a popular one. This goes from the big name writers from the most popular websites, to the people I came up with through the blogging world. They're still out there writing articles or making their own films, keeping their passion alive. Similarly, I love those actors and filmmakers I've been lucky enough to meet over the years who completely embrace the genre and its fans. People like Heather Langenkamp, Adrienne King, and the Soska sisters are such loving and wonderful people, and really represent what horror fans are actually like, which continuously inspires me to stay excited about the genre and share my love whenever I can.
GG: What do you do outside your work with genre films?
ME: Movies are pretty much my life at the moment! I work a regular full-time job at a grocery store most days, but once I get home, it's all about the movies! I've actually been a bad horror fan lately, as I've been catching up on all the great non-genre stuff I've missed over the years after being solely focused on horror for so long. There's no better feeling for me than just discovering a great movie. I'm also really into true crime, so I'm constantly listening to podcasts or reading up on articles on that subject.
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.
ME: If you want to read about six years worth of my ramblings on whatever horror movie I happened to watch at the time, my now inactive blog thegirlwholoveshorror.blogspot.com is still up! I also occasionally contribute to the site WickedHorror.com.