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In this three-part series, we introduce you to some of the most talented up-and-coming women in horror — the voices of tomorrow you should know today.

When I decided that I wanted to celebrate Women in Horror Month by conducting as many interviews as I could, I put out a status on Facebook requesting anyone that was interested to contact me. I was expecting maybe about six to seven people, at the most, to respond. To my surprise, I had an overwhelming response!

I could not believe the amount of talented women who wanted ME to help showcase them. From actresses, to artists, filmmakers, writers…every single one of these women is insanely gifted, and I cannot wait to showcase them each. These are some of the best in the biz, and I feel extremely grateful that they’ve all trusted me to make them shine.

Here is the first in the series featuring five talented, up-and-coming women working in front of and behind the camera in indie horror. Thank you to Jackie Rae Moguel, Reyna Young, Jackie Kelley, Sarah Schultz and Kayla Elizabeth.


JACKIE RAE MOGUEL

1. Please tell us a little about yourself and your projects (past, present, future).

My name is Jackie Moguel, but I go under the name of Jackie Rae Moguel. I’m 20 years old, and I have been involved in indie filmmaking since I was 17 years old. That’s when I wrote my first script Torment after attending screenwriting lessons. I got to direct the short film, but it has never seen the light because of a couple complications we’ve had. A year later, I started attending film school were I started doing all kinds of things — but nothing official except for my contribution in the art department as a set decorator for a horror short film called Dulce Susto. That film will be screened at an annual Women in Horror Month film screening I get to host, where I have the blessing to support and share multiple women’s work. I’ve also had the opportunity to be a guest writer at PopHorror.com which I’m really grateful for. At the moment, I’m taking time to grow spiritually. So all that I have planned is the next WiHM film screening. Although, I have a couple scripts under my belt which I plan to film later on when I have more knowledge in film.  I will be working on some photography, too.

2. What does having a Women In Horror Month mean to you?

It means a lot to me since it isn’t a secret women’s contributions can be easily ignored. It’s a time where I get overly inspired by seeing all women artists’ hard work. I feel the community closer than ever, and that is a great thing. It is nothing but a month full of love and respect for each individual who decides to participate. Seeing people donating blood this month also warms my heart.

3. What are some of the challenges women face in the genre?

There’s many. Onscreen, women have problems with being exploited for their bodies like they have nothing else to offer — they are often treated as decor for movies. Women who are behind the camera are easily forgotten and ignored. Recently, when Jason Blum made a really silly comment stating there weren’t any female directors out there, it was a great example of how the industry ignores us. In general we aren’t even being paid and hired the same way as males do. We don’t get the recognition we deserve.

4. Who are some of your inspirations?

The Soska Sisters, Maria Brink, Lady Gaga, my female friends who make art, my parents & women who embrace themselves and are not afraid to show it.

5. Where can our readers find you and your work?

Over at Women in Horror Month Chiapas, the Facebook page for my WiHM Film Screenings. You can also find me on Instagram @vixen.rae.

6. What’s your favorite scary movie?

Tough question, as I have many. But this time I will go for Carrie (both OG & 2013 one).


REYNA YOUNG

1. Please tell us a little about yourself and your projects (past, present, future).

Well, my name is Reyna Young, and I am a Director, Author, Producer in the horror genre. I Co-run Last Doorway Productions with my husband John Gillette. I have done a Women in horror documentary called Welcome to My Darkside, three feature films all with world wide distribution. I have been editing my fifth film while working on my television show. I am also known as Television Horror Hostess Miss Misery of the syndicated show Movie Massacre. My first show, The Last Doorway, ran for 78 episodes and Movie Massacre is entering into its sixth season. I currently shot the third music video for the band Dammit! and I’m in Pre-Production for a Halloween anthology film and a documentary I cannot talk about yet.

2. What does having a Women In Horror Month mean to you?

I think Women in Horror Month is awesome. It helps showcase women you know about, as well as those you don’t know about. I do believe through the year we should constantly be showcasing women, but for the month of February it’s nice to see all these websites come together and promote all the women they can. Every February, I learn about all these other women I knew nothing about and can connect with. It’s great!

3. What are some of the challenges women face in the genre?

I feel like women are still trying to be recognized, and we still have a long way to go. The majority of movies I see are from men, and the majority of interviews or shout outs are all to men who have films coming out. I just feel like women get the shaft because there’s this notion that men do it better. Women are not being given a chance or a voice to show off what they’re all about.

I have three feature films out and a fourth on it’s way (with a fifth being edited), and I feel like I don’t get enough recognition. I see films coming out from my fellow female friends, and I always feel they never get enough publicity. I think it’s just like with any industry or genre — there’s just a heavy male dominance. In order to get to where we want to be, we need to push forward more . We will get there. I have been seeing more female directors, and we’re on the right path. We are, we just need to keep pushing.

4. Who are some of your inspirations?

John Carpenter, Catherine Hardwicke, Wes Craven, Patty Jenkins, Edgar Allen Poe, James Wan. The people I surround myself with always inspire me. When you surround yourself with good people who are very goal oriented, it’s such an inner rush to strive just as hard.

5. Where can our readers find you and your work?

You can check out Last Doorway Productions Independent Horror Production Company or also find me on Instagram @directorreynayoung or Facebook. I’m on on IMDb also.

6. What’s your favorite scary movie?

John carpenter’s Halloween was the first horror film I ever saw, and I will always have a special kind of love with that film. Before that, I was watching late night horror show’s like Tales from the Darkside or Monsters. But the first horror film is Halloween. I was not allowed to watch it every year it came on TV. My dad would turn it off. So one early morning, I took it out of his VHS collection and watched it in the living room. Instead of really scaring me, I fell in love. From there, I saw Texas Chainsaw, Friday the 13th, etc. My obsession started very young with the late night shows. My dad would wake me up late at night to watch. And also Elvira. But Halloween really started it all for me.


JACKIE KELLY

1. Please tell us a little about yourself and your projects (past, present, future).

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me! I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago before moving to St. Louis, MO, in 2011. I spent a lot of my youth doing live theater before earning a degree in screenwriting. I guess you could say that telling stories and performing has always been in my blood, and even as a little kid I’ve always had a penchant for horror. I think at some point during my teenage years my mom was convinced I was going to be a serial killer or something, due to all things horror that I had injected into my life.

I wrote, co-directed, and starred in my first short film, AMENITY, when I was 19, and from there I just began getting more and more involved with indie filmmaking. I starred in and co-wrote my first feature film, IN MEMORY OF, by acclaimed indie horror director, Eric Stanze, which was released in 2018. That was the first project of that scale I’d ever been involved in, and to say it changed my life is an understatement. I went on to star in award-winning director Jeff Wedding’s upcoming feature TENNESSEE GOTHIC, which is set for release soon. I really can’t wait to put my eyes on that one. In recent years, I’ve also collaborated with critically praised filmmakers Trevor & Carrie Juenger on a TV pilot called DOPE and the upcoming feature THE MAN IN ROOM 6, starring Bill Oberst Jr. Those projects and a handful of short films have kept me quite busy over the past few years.

2. What does having a Women In Horror Month mean to you?

For me, being a woman in horror happened very organically. I’ve lived and breathed horror ever since my dad introduced me to EVIL DEAD 2 when I was a little kid. I think it’s great that so many women, who would otherwise be pretty underrecognized in the scene, can celebrate each other’s creative endeavors. We’re seeing more and more talented, hard-working women busting their asses in the horror community, and I think that’s fantastic. After all, the life of a woman can be pretty horrifying at times. It’s important that our stories and perspectives are heard.

3. What are some of the challenges women face in the genre?

Like I said, it hasn’t been until relatively recently that women have had much of a voice in the genre. Filmmaking in general has been a boy’s club for so long, so turning the tables and making women heard is still a struggle. I’m the type of gal that really thinks women should be building each other up and helping each other out in pursuing their passions. And our passion just happens to be slightly more macabre than usual.

4. Who are some of your inspirations?

I have so many! My biggest influence is probably indie auteur Harmony Korine, though. His films are honestly the reason I ever pursued a movie career. I discovered his films at an age where I was just starting to discover that you didn’t need a Hollywood budget to make inspiring, evocative art. I’m also very influenced by directors like David Cronenberg, Bob Clark, and Jorg Buttgereit, to name a few. I have a particular fondness for arthouse horror. The more bizarre, the better.

In terms of performers who inspire me, I was absolutely blown away by Toni Collette in HEREDITARY. Her insanely nuanced performance gave me chills and freaked me out more than anything has in years. I’m also a huge fan of actors like Sissy Spacek and Mia Farrow. They both have such an interesting screen presence that really gets drilled into your skull. Generally, I lean towards performers that don’t require a cookie-cutter Hollywood visage to be both emotionally captivating and sexy.

5. Where can our readers find you and your work?

You can pick up the two-disc blu-ray release of IN MEMORY OF at www.wickedpixel.com. DOPE is currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime. Both are projects that gave me incredible life experiences. And I can’t wait to have some more content released in 2019.

You can also indulge in the weirdness that is my existence on Instagram at @actressjackiekelly.

6. What’s your favorite scary movie?

This is one of the most difficult questions that anyone ever asks me, especially because the answer typically varies from week to week. But if we’re talking straight-forward, classic horror it would probably have to be THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974). It’s a film that holds up really well and genuinely terrifies me. And that final shot of Marilyn Burns in the back of the pickup truck is still one of the most striking images I’ve ever seen in a film. I’m a huge fan of 1970’s horror in general, but TCM has always been a standout for me.


SARAH SCHULTZ

1. Please tell us a little about yourself and your projects (past, present, future).

Some Past work: I did a sacrifice photo shoot with the amazing Scout Taylor Compton last April at a ranch in Cave Creek shot by Hawk Edition Studios. I was a Murder Chick for Serial Killers Ink in 2017, featured on their website alongside model Afton Marie. I played final girl “Brooklyn” in Catch Me Kill Me productions “Friday the 13th: Legacy” in 2017.

I won the Miss Scarizona pageant 2017 at the Mad Monster convention in Arizona, which was a huge highlight for me. I started out in Sedona playing small roles for student films from the time i moved to Flagstaff, Arizona in 2006, until i moved to Phoenix in 2013. I was an extra in Lifetime’s “Loves Last Resort”, working alongside Alan Thicke, and a worker bee in “Stasis”, a film that you can view on Netflix. Future work: I have 2 films coming out this year, “Blood Bath on 4th Ave”, where i play the lead “Sarah”, and “The Torso Killer”, where i play the lead “Harper”.

2. What does having a Women In Horror Month mean to you?

Having a WIHM means the world to me! I love that there is a month dedicated to the badass women who work their butts off to scare the hell out of their audience! It’s well deserved and fun to hear about projects that are in the works.

3. What are some of the challenges women face in the genre?

I have heard many different stories regarding the challenges women have faced in the genre. Talented women who have been overlooked because they wrote a great script, just because they are a woman. Women who have been treated as a piece of meat on set instead of being praised for the scene they just shot, roles being given to men because it doesn’t seem appropriate for a woman to do or it may be “too hard”. Horror gives women a chance to show that dark side of themselves and they should not be judged for that.

4. Who are some of your inspirations?

My inspirations are: Sheri Moon Zombie, Jennifer Nangle, Jules Theresa, Scout Taylor Compton, Felissa Rose Esposito, Dee Wallace, Amy Crabtree, and Jamie Lee Curtis, to name a few. Lol.

5. Where can our readers find you and your work?

You can find me on Instagram at jessicastabbitofficial_666, Facebook: Jessica Stabbit and my personal page Sarah Schultz. I have a Twitter I use occasionally, @jessicastabbit1.

6. What’s your favorite scary movie?

My favorite scary movie has to be Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Terrifier. I chose two because one isn’t enough lol!


KAYLA ELIZABETH

1. Please tell us a little about yourself and your projects (past, present, future).

I’m Kayla Elizabeth! I’m 28 year old red head with fiery passion and compassion. I’ve been involved in film since 2009. My first project I have ever done was FRANKENSTEIN. I’ve always loved theater and performing on stage, but the that film opportunity came and it’s been amazing. I directed my first feature film back in 2016 called Descending, the third movie in a vampire series. The main work I get is horror/thriller and such, but it is my favorite genre.

In September 2018, I wrapped a film called Slaughterhouse Slumberparty by Dustin Mills. I have 3 shorts I wrote and directed called Hush Little Baby starring Erin R. Ryan, and I recently wrapped up a film I had the honor to be the Assistant Director on called A Story Worth Living directed and written by Vanessa Leonard. One of my favorite films I have done was Quija: Blood Ritual directed by Dustin Mills.

I’ve done many things with Gabe Rios like Not Your Average Halloween Party and Nightfall. Last summer in 2018, I was a part of a feature called Don’t F**k in the Woods 2 which was a great experience! I have two features that I was chosen to be a part of this year, which I’m really pumped about! I have shorts that I’m acting in too, and I can’t wait! I’m also in the works with close friends to bring out more shorts, like directing and writing them. I love features, but there’s something about shorts that I just freaking adore!

2. What does having a Women In Horror Month mean to you?

Just knowing that this is a thing is so freaking special to me! Women in horror is something that use to be overlooked, and its something that deserves a spotlight. Women in Horror can range from actors to directors to writers, and they should all be acknowledged, especially in the indie film world! I know so many incredible women in the horror world, and they all deserve respect and to be recognized for what they do. Women in Horror Month means they get that opportunity, and I’m so thankful for that!

3. What are some of the challenges women face in the genre?

Some challenges faced include being taken seriously and treated as an equal. I fortunately now work with people who respect me and don’t think of me as a joke. Back in like 2010-2011, I wasn’t in the best environment with people. The main group of filmmakers I worked with were always cracking sexual jokes, making comments about nude scenes, how I was always replaceable but with a joking manner, how boobs are what keeps people interested when a woman is in a horror movie. It was disheartening. I can always joke and have a good time, but it was pure disrespect. All that they cared about was naked women and the stereotypical roles they played in horror movies. I personally played many different characters in Horror, and I love them all. You treat the people you work by with respect. Women in horror deserve way more than what some have given.

4. Who are some of your inspirations?

Two of my inspirations in the horror indie world are Erin R. Ryan and Haley Jay Madison. Those two women are always impressing me and rock every single project they are in. I love working with them. Plus, they’re full of kindness and determination, and I love that about them. I strive to be on their level! I am a huge Katherine Isabelle fan. She’s been one of big inspiration since I was 13 from American Mary to Ginger Snaps to Freddy vs Jason. I just love her.

5. Where can our readers find you and your work?

Unfortunately, many things I have recently done in the past year and a half aren’t out yet. However, I do have my Hush Little Baby short on YouTube. A short I starred in with Melissa Sue Zahs called Don’t Answer the Door is on YouTube, as well.

I’m currently editing a short I directed called The Lovers which will be up soon. Quija: Blood Ritual can be found at dustinwmills.bigcartel.com but I believe they are currently sold out. You can find my trailer for Descending on YouTube as well. To keep an eye out on the features I’ve done and when they will be out such as Slaughterhouse Slumberparty (will be out in March), RIP, Don’t Answer the Door (a feature made because of the short), follow Dustin Wayde Mills on Facebook! Also, Don’t F**k in the Woods has a page you can follow as well. The poster was recently released!

6. What’s your favorite scary movie?

This is hard because it’s hard to find a movie that actually scares me. Two of my favorites for sure are Oculus and IT, the original 1990 version (but I did love the new one). The Shining will always be a personal favorite. I also have a soft spot for the Scream series. I love those movies! Oh, and Ginger Snaps. I guess I can’t just pick one!

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