Much like with Canada, this celebration of Women In Horror has taken multiple trips to Australia.
Ursula Dabrowsky is the writer and director of the Demon Trilogy, a psychological horror experience. The first film in the series, Family Demons, premiered at Australia’s A Night Of Horror International Film Festival in 2009. Dabrowsky went on to win Best Australian Director for her efforts at the festival.
The film has enjoyed success across the film festival circuit, including here in the United States, where awards won include Best Foreign Film and Best Actress (Cassandra Kane) at the Fright Night International Film Festival in Kentucky.
With the awards rolling through and world distribution rights already locked down, the trilogy is off to a blistering start.
Currently, Dabrowsky is in post-production on the second installment of the trilogy, titled Inner Demon.
Tonight, writer and director Ursula Dabrowsky chats with me, explaining why foreign horror is best these days and giving us some updates on the second installment of her Demon Trilogy.
1. Who roped you into the horror genre?
One night in 2003, my partner Garry brought home The Grudge from the video store. The original one from Japan. As soon as I watched it, it blew my mind. I knew right away that the horror genre, more specifically psychological and supernatural horror, was the genre that would best suit the kind of things I wanted to say in film. So I would say it’s Garry’s ‘fault’! I had watched horror films before that, but mostly American ones and the only ones that really did anything for me was Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Carrie (1976). I never got into the slasher craze.
2. What are some of your favorite horror films?
Martyrs, High Tension, TCM (74), Wolf Creek, Eden Lake, The Descent, REC, The Silent House, Carrie, The Grudge (original from Japan), Inside, Ils. Generally, the horror films I like best are survival stories with women in the lead role and most are from Europe, South America or Asia. Interestingly, most of the women die at the end of these films. Very few end of surviving or living happily ever after. I’m not sure what this says about me!
3. Your ‘Demon’ trilogy has me intrigued. What has been the most difficult aspect of working on a trilogy thus far?
No difficulties! The Trilogy is divided into three aspects: mind, body and soul. Family Demons was the ‘mind’ part. Now I am working on the ‘spirit’ part with Inner Demon. Demonheart will be the ‘body’. There are certain things that link all three films that fans of the Trilogy will enjoy noticing, but overall each film stands on its own, independently of each other.
4. Why do you think there is still a slice of men in horror who seem so stubborn to accept their female peers? It’s awesome to see this stigma start to dissolve before our very eyes, especially over the last decade or so.
Most of the men that I know support what I’m doing. Even if they didn’t, it wouldn’t stop me doing what I want to do. But so far my experience has been wonderful. The men I know tend to support and like the films that I make. They see me as someone who is contributing to the genre in an interesting way, probably because I am a woman and it’s actually a good thing that I can offer a fresh perspective. If any genre needs a fresh perspective, it’s the horror genre. But in the end, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, you gotta be creating excellent quality product, end of story.
5. ‘Family Demons‘ strike some very raw personal nerves. How did you come up with such a dark, fascinating script?
I seriously have no idea. It just came out. Was quite cathartic actually!
6. Who are some of your women in horror heroes?
Morjana Alaoui and Mylene Jampanoi, the two lead actors in Martyrs. Their performances were extraordinary.
7. If you could remake or reboot any horror film, which would it be?
I like to come up with my own material so I would hope to never have to remake the work of someone else.
8. As a woman in horror, what is your opinion on how women are still perceived in Hollywood horror? There are still far too many “damsels in distress” and “T&A whores” for my liking.
Which is why I much prefer what is coming out of Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Australia in the past 10 years, because, to me, the women in those films are much more interesting characters.
9. Horror is an amazing tool for social commentary. Do you write your projects with social opinion in mind or is it just coincidence if someone finds it in a work of yours?
I write about what makes me angry and usually those are things about the society we live in and the battle between good and evil.
10. What projects are you currently working on?
I received $350,000 in financing to make my second horror film Inner Demon. We shot in January and February. Editing is underway.
I sincerely appreciate Ursula’s time and support! Do yourself a favor and be sure to check out the Facebook page to Inner Demon!! You will be glad you did!