SHANNON LARK ANNOUNCES 'WOMEN
ONLY' VISCERA HORROR FILM SERIES
by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor.
[April 24, 2007]
[HollywoodInvestigator.com] Of horror's many scream queens and femme fatales, Shannon Lark is one of
its truest believers and most dynamic multi-taskers. Not content
with just acting and directing, she also founded San Francisco's Chainsaw
Mafia, and now its spinoff Viscera
Series -- a "for women only" horror event co-sponsored by the Tabloid
Mafia is both my production company and an online networking board
for horror filmmakers," Lark explained to the Hollywood Investigator. Her Mafia also runs annual horror film festivals. "We have about
300 members. Membership is free and will soon provide benefits such
as discounted equipment rental in select cities. It's there to get
filmmakers organized and aware of what's going on. To create a feeling
of genre unity."
loved horror from an early age. She bills herself as a "horror actress"
-- and doesn't take that label lightly. "I don't do anything that
isn't horror or off-the-wall," she said.
"I'm open to black comedies
or offbeat dramas -- if they contain a horrific element. I've had
agents tell me I have to do commercialized work to 'make it' as an actress. I say thanks, but no thanks. I do what I do because I love it. Not so that I can maybe, possibly, potentially get into some Pepsi ad. No one should do what they don't want to do, just because someone tells
them they have no future if they don't do XYZ.
the exact moment everything came together for me. I was four years
old. My mom took me to a ballet rendition of Romeo
and Juliet. When they stabbed themselves in the chest, these
red streamers burst out of their chests, and flew hundreds of feet into
the air until they gracefully fell over their bodies. I understood
that the streamers represented blood. It was the most beautiful moment
I've ever experienced."
horror, Lark fell in love with acting at an early age, partially inspired
by a sister who was a small town theatrical director at age 13. "I
followed along by acting in plays and performing for my family with skits
we created. When I moved to San Francisco, I went to the Film
Arts Foundation and took a bunch of film classes, got myself
on sets, and followed the crew and director around. I picked up books
and taught myself by creating my own short films. That's one reason
why film is great; you don't have to go to school to learn it. You
just need to be ambitious. I've never had any formal acting training. Everything has been learned by creating."
acted in both features and shorts, which have played in festivals. She's also directed seven shorts and is working on her first feature. She's performed on stage, starring in Evil Dead:
Live, Reanimator, and The
Elm St Murders (which she directed). "All are splatter parodies
of horror films," she said. "In Elm St Murders we sprayed about 20 gallons of blood." She also manages and acts
"gore wrangler" for the Living
Dead Girlz, a zombie dance troupe. "We're zombies, and
Lark's latest project is
Series -- a "for women only" horror film festival. Unlike competing
"women only" horror film festivals (yes, they're out there), a woman director
or theme is not enough. To qualify for Viscera, everyone behind the camera must be female.
"The purpose is to raise
the ratio of women to men in horror, currently less than 7%," said Lark. "Prizes include online distribution, money, and promotion. Film festivals
[such as the Tabloid Witch Awards]
are joining up to choose one Viscera film of their choice to screen at
genders look at horror films differently," said Lark. "Men like horror
films because they get all the action, but can also relate to the one female
character still left who stands up and fights for herself.
"But it can be rough for
some women to watch horror, especially when it involves rape or the terrorizing
of a female, because it hits so close to home. Men can be more removed
from it, and take it in easier."
"That's why Deliverance is so effective. Every male I talk to about the sodomy rape scene
looks queasy. Countless films have female rape content, and not only
horror movies. It'll be nice when both genders are terrorized equally."
It's true men aren't terrorized
in horror films as often as are women, but horror films do depict castration,
sometimes performed by women (Demented, I
Spit on Your Grave, The Last House on the Left), sometimes by men (Don't
Open Till Christmas, Make
Them Die Slowly). Non-horror films too have depicted castration
Lark adds, "I think most women veer away from the slasher subgenre. They prefer more psychological horror. Films that are slower paced
than an action film. Women love horror mixed with fantasy. They get their fill of action and horror, but it's all so aesthetically
pleasing. I'm not saying women don't like slashers, or no female
can take a slasher seriously -- there are some really good ones out there
-- but it's been so played out. I think women and men are looking
for something with more substance. Films that mess with your head
UPDATE: On January 5, 2015, Shannon Lark emailed the Hollywood Investigator to say that the Viscera Film Festival is no longer active.
from Viscera, horror film festivals founded by women include Shriekfest and Screamfest. Horror filmmakers -- men and women -- are also urged to enter the No Entry
Fee Tabloid Witch Awards!
Copyright 2007 by HollywoodInvestigator.com.