Bloody Women

Book cover for Bloody Women: Milicent Patrick

‘Connection and Reflection through Dark Storytelling: Filmmakers, Community and Women in Horror Film Festivals’, in Bloody Women! Women Directors of Horror, ed. Aislinn Clarke and Victoria McCollum (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022).

The subject of women horror filmmakers has become increasingly visible over the past few years, fuelled in part by the international success of directors like Ana Lily Amirpour, Julia Ducournau, Coralie Fargeat, Jennifer Kent, Issa López and Lynne Ramsay. But this is not a new trend: women have been making horror throughout cinema history, the cultural gatekeepers just have trouble finding (and funding) them. The creation – and success – of film festivals dedicated to women in horror reflects a push for representation, showcasing the diverse work being made and encouraging its continued momentum. They offer practical opportunities, such as education and networking. Encouraging collaboration and support, these women in horror festivals have facilitated the growth of a global community. One of the first was Viscera Film Festival (2007-2013) a touring festival based in California, followed by other US examples like Etheria Film Night (2012), Ax Wound Film Festival (2015) and Women in Horror Film Festival (2017). In the UK, there is Jennifer’s Bodies (2011), in Australia Stranger With My Face International Film Festival (2012), in Japan Scream Queen Filmfest Tokyo (2013), in Canada Bloody Mary Film Festival (2016) and in Germany The Final Girls Berlin Film Festival (2017). Interviews with the women who founded these festivals explore their goals, approaches to programming and, more broadly, experiences in the industry. As filmmakers themselves, they also delve into what it means to be a woman working in horror, revealing both its challenges as well as the supportive and collaborative international community they discovered and nurtured through their festivals.

Screening the Art World

‘Blood Lust: Art, Violence and Authenticity in Horror Cinema’, in Screening the Art Worlded. Temenuga Trifonova (Amsterdam University Press, 2022).

Drawing from long-established stereotypes, cinema envisions the artist as a fascinating and exceptional figure, a conduit for inspiration. Horror films are ideally suited to exploit this archetype, with artists compelled by internal or external forces to do terrible things in the pursuit of great art. Taking mimesis to the extreme, they turn to a long history of biomatter as a medium, traversing the nexus between life and art, real and artifice, living and inanimate. Like Pygmalion in reverse, sculptors create living statues for their wax museums. In mid-century exploitation films, the use of bodies as material is satirical, alleging the absurdity of contemporary art. Possessed by inspiration, artists are fuelled by bloodlust, violence, demonic whispers, and, overwhelmingly, the pursuit of greatness.

Trouble Every Day

Trouble Every Day cover

My monograph on Trouble Every Day (2001), directed by Claire Denis, for the Devil’s Advocates series is now available for pre-order at Liverpool University Press and will be released summer 2021.

Trouble Every Day is as beautiful as it is brutal, an exploration of violence, passion and desire. It is certainly a challenging film, but one that deserves to be reassessed, both for its thematic concerns as well as Denis’ visceral visual aesthetic (crafted with her frequent collaborator, cinematographer Agnès Godard).

This book considers how Trouble Every Day reflects the darkness of the world we live in, exploring desire, fantasy and autonomy in a compelling cinematic experience that beguiles and violates.

Final Girls & Femme Fatales

This is a newsletter indulging my long-term fascination (ahem, obsession?) with women in horror. I consider the genre as a broad spectrum of films – if you think “horror” just means never-ending torture-porn franchises, let me convince you otherwise. I also don’t just focus on representations of women – one of my most popular posts was on how Australia is trying to kill you.

You can sign-up to have letters sent straight to your inbox, usually once a month.

I’ve had actual feedback from at least seven separate non-family members that the letters are great, and definitely worth the 3 or so minutes they take to read.

I love that I’ve converted people to the delights of Eurotrash, the entrancing Delphine Seyrig in Daughters of Darkness (1971) and the wonders buried in streaming sites, like Lisa and the Devil (1973) and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014).


My current long-term project is “Man-Eater: Cannibal Women in Contemporary Visual Culture”, and explores the female cannibal in a range of media, including films, music videos, video games and comics. There are a lot more examples than you would think – there were three released close together in early 2017, which I wrote about for The Atlantic.

I’m interested in what the act of eating means, what it says about desire, appetite, and social expectations and stereotypes. Cannibalism points to the question: what is hunger? And, what does it mean to be human?

I’ve been researching and writing about representations of women for more than a decade, and there is something really interesting here.

A book focusing on the cannibal woman in film is forthcoming – more soon!

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Australian Artists Abroad, 1890-1914


My art history book Identity, Community and Australian artists, 1890-1914: Paris, London & Further Afield, a study of place, creativity and community, is available from Bloomsbury Academic (also on Amazon)!

Australians have always travelled. The artists in this book were lured abroad by the promise of wondrous opportunities, but their Australian-ness was a constant – dressing up in a stockman costume at the Chelsea Arts Ball, mimicking the call of a kookaburra at a portrait session, burning gumleaves (a ritual not appreciated by other patrons when performed at a cafe.)

The gorgeous wrap around cover features George Lambert’s The Sonnet, which includes two of his artist friends – Thea Proctor and Arthur Streeton – and is a play on Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe as well as its predecessor, Titian’s Fête champêtre.

The blurb:

An irresistible siren-call lured Australian artists abroad between 1890 and 1914, a transitional period immediately pre- and post-federation. Travelling enabled an extension of artistic frontiers, and Paris – the centre of art – and London – the heart of the Empire – promised wondrous opportunities.

Expatriate artists formed communities based on their common bond to Australia, enacting their Australian-ness in private and public settings. Yet, they also interacted with the broader creative community, fashioning a network of social and professional relationships. They joined ateliers in Paris such as the Académie Julian, clubs like the Chelsea Arts Club in London and visited artist colonies including St Ives in England and Étaples in France.

Australian artists persistently sought a sense of belonging, negotiating their identity through activities such as plays, balls, tableaux, parties, parades, dressing-up and, of course, their art. While individual biographies are integral to this study, it is through exploring the connections between them that it offers new insights. Through utilising extensive archival material, much of which has limited or no publication history, this book fills a gap in existing scholarship. It offers a vital exploration re-consideration of the fluidity of identity, place and belonging in the lives and work of Australian artists in this juncture in British-Australian history.