The horror genre has always concerned gender issues, ranging from the opposition between the typical ‘damsel in distress’ captured by the male monster in classical horror to the ‘abject monstrous-feminine’ and ‘final girl’ in the modern horror film of the 1970s and 1980s, as analyzed by Barbara Creed and Carol Clover’s seminal feminist studies of the genre in the early 1990s. However, it is only since the new millennium that female directors have started to actively appropriate horror aesthetics in significant ways in their own films. In her lecture Patricia Pisters investigates contemporary women filmmakers who put ‘a poetics of horror’ to new use in their work, thus opening a range of different perspectives on gendered as well as racialized themes of the horror genre. One of the most salient markers of the horror film is the trope of blood and the different shapes and values of its red color. By following a trail of red (with some shades of violent pink and nonhuman green) in the work of female directors she will discuss new takes on avenging women, bloody vampires, lustful witches, scary mothers and ditto off-spring and eco-horror as presented through the eyes of this new generation filmmakers that enlarge the generic scope and stretch the emotional spectrum of the genre. 

Patricia Pisters is professor of Film and Media Culture at the Department of Media Studies of the University of Amsterdam. In 2019 she was scholar in residence at EYE Film Institute Amsterdam working on images of extraordinary perception; and senior fellow at Cinepoetics at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her book New Blood in Contemporary Cinema will be published by Edinburgh University Press in 2020. See also www.patriciapisters.com