Suppose all the women living near you suddenly fell asleep. While they slumber, they are wrapped in a strange gauze. And, if that gauze is disturbed, the women awake. Unfortunately, these women aren’t Disney Princesses. They awake on what might be called, the “vicious” side of the bed.
Only one woman remains awake and her motives are questionable. What would the men do? In the world envisioned by Stephen and Owen King, men have reverted to their primitive selves. The world has fallen into chaos.
Now, let’s apply that question to the world of horror but take it a step further. What if women had never been involved in horror?
The first written horror stories were Gothic horror. They were created in the 1700’s and many were written by women. One such author was Anne Radcliffe. Anne wrote a novel called The Italian as well as several scholarly works. Her most famous essay concerned the difference between horror and terror. She defined the genre.
Many female horror writers followed Radcliffe. Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson, and Anne Rice just to name a few. But, what about the other storytellers? What about the mothers and nannies? Mothers have been telling horror stories to their children for centuries. They even created the boogeyman to keep their little ones in line. Not many horror tales can match those woven from the shadows of a mother’s imagination.
Of course, mothers weren’t the only ones who could tell an entertaining tale. Charles Dickens’s nanny, Miss Mercy, told him terrifying stories about “Captain Murderer.” Poor little Charlie was petrified by Miss Mercy’s ghostly groans and pantomime claws but he enjoyed the fear. Without her inspiration, stories like A Christmas Carol and The Signal-Man might not exist.
Many areas would suffer without the influence of women. They have been heroines of the horror genre since the 1700’s. Most of the Gothic novels possessed a female protagonist and the films of the 1980’s were heavily populated with them. Jamie Lee Curtis, Heather Langenkamp, and Sigourney Weaver were the Queens of Scream. They fought evil and won.
Without the involvement of women, we wouldn’t have male horror writers like Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Tabitha King pulled Carrie from the trash after Stephen had thrown the book away. She encouraged him to finish what would become his first success. Gerda Koontz supported her husband’s decision to quit teaching and pursue writing. She agreed to work and provide their sole income.
So, what would horror be like without the creators, storytellers, scholars, protagonists, inspirations, and helpmates? It would be boring.
Sleeping Beauties was released on September 26, 2017. Anonymous Content has purchased the rights for TV.
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