Not Your Final Girl: Horror festival with a feminist bite

Sunday 14th, October 2018 / 09:00
By Brittany Rudyck

Film festival broadens depiction of women in horror
Image from Ginger Snaps

EDMONTON – We’ve seen it again and again: the sexualization of the lone femme survivor. Her bloody, half naked, brutalized body is in clear focus as she limps through a swamp or forest, her mind, though tired and traumatized, remains firm in her resolve to survive. She is the final girl.

Georgia Coughlan and Nicole Boychuk think this trope is tired, which is precisely why they decided to curate their own festival, Not Your Final Girl.

“We both love Halloween, horror movies and we’re feminist as fuck,” says Coughlan. “Since Nicole loves film so much, she’s the only one I wanted to co-curate a festival like this with. Normally when you watch horror movies you have your final girl, who is typically the survivor at the end of the movie, but half of the movie she’s covered in blood, running around or shackled up.”

The festival screens three films over three days, each exploring horror in its own unique way. “Gingersnaps” is first up, connected to Edmonton via Screenwriter Karen Walton, who will be doing a Q&A via Skype following the film. “Suspiria”, recently restored and remastered, shows during the festival before the remake comes out November 2. The 1977 film originally received wide acclaim for its stunning visuals and score by prog rock band Goblin.

“Good Night Mommy” is an Austrian film using sound editing to create a deep sense of dread. “A lot of the fear in that movie comes from just listening to it, which is really unsettling,” explains Coughlan. “It’s also the only foreign language movie we’re showing, which was really important to us to show a range – a cult classic, something contemporary and something with a foreign language.”

The three films showcase varying themes seeking to show women in a different light, rather than the bloody mess survivor as mentioned previously. “There were a few themes we wanted to show like rape revenge, negative depictions of motherhood, puberty, and almost like a female friendship kind of category,” adds Coughlan. “We ultimately didn’t want to show a slasher flick with sexualized one dimensional characters.”

Not Your Final Girl runs October 26 – 28th at Metro Cinema (Edmonton). Tickets are available here, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton.

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