Friday, February 19, 2010

Interview with Filmmaker Reyna Young

Reyna Young has been labeled by press as “The Queen of Horror in the Bay Area”. Born and raised in San Francisco, she is currently working in independent horror as a director, producer, writer, model, actress, and horror host in the Bay Area.

Ever since she was a little girl and remembers seeing her first horror movie, John Carpenter’s Halloween, she has been in love with being scared. She then decided she wanted to give back to the horror community and make her way into the genre she bleeds for. Reyna began following around her film buddies and helping them out on set and acting in their films. She bought books and relied on the internet to teach her everything she needed to know. From there she created her production company Last Doorway Productions in hopes of bringing a little more horror to the world (never a bad thing). Since then she has written feature scripts, and created a series of short films, which she has produced, written, directed and starred in.

Aside from her film projects, she has also created a show for independent horror in the Bay Area, called The Last Doorway Show. It’s dedicated to independent horror and she hosts under the pseudonym Miss Misery.

If you thought that wasn’t enough she is also the festival director of a San Francisco short horror film festival “A Nightmare To Remember” and has self published three books (with more on the way).

Fatally Yours: How and when did you fall in love with horror?

Reyna Young: When I was a young girl I think around 8, I snuck into my father’s VHS collection and pulled out the first film I saw, John Carpenter’s Halloween! It scared the shit out of me but I loved it at the same time. After that I became obsessed and watched whatever I could that was horror and soon after that bought my first Edgar Allan Poe Book. I love that man!!!

Fatally Yours: What does horror mean to you?

Reyna Young: Horror means your inner fear coming out of you during a horror flick. When I first watched Halloween, there was this thrill of being scared, everything I ever was scared of combined into one and my imagination went wild. That is horror! The juice of being scared, the thrill of that tingle in your spine, the goosebumps on you arms, the fear of the serial killer coming through your door….

Fatally Yours: What are others’ reactions when you tell them you are involved in the horror genre?

Reyna Young: When I tell them the horror genre, they usually look at me and say “the whore genre” or I get the reaction that I’m committing a sin. Not a lot of people are into the whole horror thing. I also get some negativity from the females. Excuse me for not being girly. I get better reactions from the guys then the girls. Unless I’m around my kind of people like Goths and weirdo’s I’m only semi-accepted from others with horror but I don’t really care to much I just do what I love. It’s like a fifty/fifty thing with people.

Fatally Yours: Why do you think the horror genre has primarily been a man’s domain?

Reyna Young: Well, meeting a lot of women and hearing that they are not into horror at all, I can see why it’s been male dominated. I mean there are women out there thank god that love horror but a majority I have met just get scared easily. Of course men apply easily to that kind of stuff so it’s a give in but now a days more women are getting into the whole horror thing. But that’s me theory on why it’s always been male dominated.

Fatally Yours: As a woman, do you think you are viewed differently than your male counterparts in the horror genre? If so, how and why?

Reyna Young: I have worked with nothing but men and so far they have all been great! I think I am treated a little differently at times though but as one of those “Oh a girl can’t do that” kind of thing. Like for instance, I direct and produce and do a lot on  my sets and others when they need me but for some reason male directors will only call me for make up and hair. Just because I’m female means all I do is make up and hair for some reason. When I can do more and when I try to do more on set they ignore me. It’s not always like that but here is that line between being respected in what I do and just being labeled as I’m suppose to just do one thing, hair and make up! At least that’s how I feel. I have so many talents yet I’m called for one thing.

Fatally Yours: Even though women seem to be getting more and more involved behind the scenes in horror, why do you think there are less female horror directors, writers, producers, etc. in the genre than males?

Reyna Young: Like I said earlier not all women are into horror or they can be hesitant to do it. I get e-mails all the time from women who want to do their own film and I help give them advice, they all seem to say the same thing. “But I may not be as good as Wes craven or John carpenter” I let them know it’s not a competition, it’s a talent thing. If you have the talent you’ll do fine. I think women are coming out of their shell more now a days but also a majority of women just aren’t into the horror thing.

Fatally Yours: What elements can female filmmakers/authors/journalists/etc. bring to the horror genre that are lacking in males’ perspectives?

Reyna Young: I think men do a great job don’t get me wrong but women seem to have this originality to them where they take they’re everyday life and turn it into a horror movie. Like for instance I’m doing a short film right now that I wrote and I get raped in the film. The reason why I put that in there was because I am scared of that happening to me. I turned a fear onto paper and I am going to be in it to help me through my fear. It helps me cope with the fact that I need to just be aware of my surroundings, I need to carry a stun gun on me and just be prepared, also just make sure I don’t put myself in that type of predicament. I think it’s a healing power for women to write down what they fear or what they are going through and get it out of their system.

Fatally Yours: Do you think it’s harder for women to be taken seriously in a genre that seems to be dominated by males?

Reyna Young: At times I believe that, I have been through that. I know even today I am going through that. I feel that there are men who love and respect us women in the genre, I have had a great welcoming, I really have but there will always be assholes. You know! There’s an asshole in every crowd and with the genre just like other genres I’m sure, women can be treated with disrespect because some men out there believe women are weak and not as smart when that’s not true. I just ignore them and thank god at the end of the day that I’m not them….

Fatally Yours: Since you’ve been involved with the horror genre, have you noticed a change in women’s roles in the industry?

Reyna Young: Yes I have, I’ve noticed a lot more independent female directors, or actresses directing films. I must say I didn’t know very many women coming into this industry other then Shannon lark and Michelle Fatale but searching around and e-mailing people I found so many other women out there and have met through cons and events strong females in the genre who want to direct there own films. I think it’s fantastic and I love to help in any way I can, and I believe that in the end women will have the upper hand. There will always be actresses and scream queens but directors, fx, producers, I have met a lot more…. It’s beautiful!

Fatally Yours: Dario Argento once said, “I like women, especially beautiful ones. If they have a good face and figure, I would much prefer to watch them being murdered than an ugly girl or man.” Alfred Hitchcock elaborated by saying, “I always believe in following the advice of the playwright Sardou. He said, ‘Torture the women!’ The trouble today is that we don’t torture enough.” What is your reaction when reading those quotes?

Reyna Young: I can see a man saying that about wanting to watch only hot females being murdered. I mean when it comes down to it of course we’re stereotyped to only be one way. The second I gain a little weight I am freaking out because then I feel I am going to be hated or something. That’s what is stuck in my head right now I’ll admit it and it’s because of men like him. He’s great at what he does Argento but shit man give us females a break, we come in all shapes and sizes and we’re beautiful either way. Hitchcock is great too but I do like to be tortured in films and you know why because women do it the best. When it comes down to men being tortured, please! Women take the cake. We know how to be tortured and that’s probably why males like to watch it.

Fatally Yours: Do you ever get annoyed at how women in horror movies always end naked or with their clothes ripped off? Do monsters not like men’s abs?!

Reyna Young: Women are hotter then men. It’s not that I don’t want to see men naked I just think women are over all sexier so why not! Sex sells and women are good at looking good. When it comes down to it men and boys are the ones buying all the horror flicks, they out beat women in that category and men want to see sexy women. Therefore men will buy the film with the sexy hot naked chick being killed. When I’m watching a horror flick in the theater I have men surrounding me and when a hot naked chick comes on they clap or yell, they get very excited and sometimes it’s uncomfortable to be sitting around them but they seem to love it!!

Fatally Yours: What horror movie would you say is equally fair in terms of men being objectified or at least, losing the same amount of clothes?

Reyna Young: I think when it comes down to that it’s a lot of independent flicks. I think independent films showcase more of the men losing clothes then let’s say big budget theater films. I have seen a lot of that. I cannot think of one off top of my head but I know I have seen indie flicks that have men taking it off.

Fatally Yours: Do you feel you’ve become desensitized to stereotypical scenes in horror like the half-naked girl screaming and running for her life in slow motion? Or are these types of familiar horror tropes still effective and necessary?

Reyna Young: Nowadays women are becoming more of the serial killer type so I think the female running through the woods scenes are coming to a close, slightly. I mean they will always be there but now women are standing up and doing the killing. Plus women are better at running, crying and acting scared then a man is. It’s not that we’re given these roles because we’re female it’s because we can act!

Fatally Yours: Do you feel that other people view women as being “soft” and not able to endure horror as well as men? How do you fight this stereotypical view?

Reyna Young: I feel that men think they are stronger of course than women so they feel more superior but men get really whiney and cry a lot when they’re being tortured. Women can take more of the pain. I mean men don’t ever want to get pregnant and go through pushing out the baby, they whine about never wanting to go through it yet a woman can do it and go through the torture and it’s ok. Men cannot endure the pain women can. I do believe that people out there believe women are softer then men but when it comes down to it, it’s not true. I get really angry when a man tells me I can’t do something because I’m a woman, it makes me want to work harder to prove to them they are wrong. I can’t fight it, it will always be there and it’s just the way men will probably always be!

Fatally Yours: What women in horror do you admire and why?

Reyna Young: I admire all the women in horror who are doing horror! I don’t meet very many but when I do I just fall in love with them. I’m happy to see females who like the blood and gore and not just men. I get along better with guys, I always have but when a woman comes along with the same mind set I have I get very excited. I have been talking to and e-mailing back and fourth Brooke Lewis. She is an amazing person and I love her to death. She is one of my hero’s and I appreciate all her great advice and I appreciate her just being her!

Fatally Yours: What advice would you give women who want to become involved in the horror genre?

Reyna Young: Just do it! If you want to get involved and don’t know how to start just pick up a camera and shoot something, write a story, start a website, start a blog, take some hot bloody pictures. Al I have to say is that whatever you want to do, whatever your goal is go for it. I almost didn’t because I was put down and told I sucked and that I couldn’t do it but look at me now. I started my film company and shot my films and I have taken off. Nothing is stopping you but you! What ever it is you want to do, actress, director, you can do it. Anyone can e-mail me for any questions or help or advice anything, e-mail me at

Fatally Yours: What’s the last horror movie that made you think “this is some effed up shiznit!”?

Reyna Young: In a good way? I would have to say The Strangers. I really enjoyed this movie because it kept you in the suspense and I did make sure my doors were locked while watching it. LOL, It was suspenseful not just this gore you see all the time and the ending was so fucked up, I felt for this couple that were in love and for this to happen to them was awful. When he turned to her and saw she had the ring he bought her on her finger, my god that was heartbreaking. It made me hold on to my man. It was really fucked up. But I loved the movie it did have me thinking, another great film was Funny Games that had me cringing. Another great movie yet so fucked up, that film to was like a rude awakening for me not to trust anyone no matter who they are.

Fatally Yours: What are your favorite horror films, books, etc.?

Reyna Young: Anything original, like Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, anything Hitchcock, The Strangers, Santa Sangre, it’s hard to name them all! For reading I would have to say anything Edgar Allan Poe. In all honesty I will reveal this to you because I love you, my favorite movie of all time is Dirty Dancing I know it’s non horror but I thought I’d let that slip…LOL!

Fatally Yours: Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to talk about?

Reyna Young: Yes! I have my third annual “A Nightmare To Remember” film festival coming back in June of 2010, with guest of honor Brooke Lewis, the Women in Horror Con in February, which is a celebration of local horror females ranging from directors to fx. Also more short films and two features. I’ll be a guest at a bunch of conventions coming up, a Miss Misery comic book, and a special Miss Misery movie! Details coming soon…I will be hosting the very first “Thriller” dance off in New Orleans this Halloween for Cirque Du Terror Convention. It will be a blast, I’ll be hosting a bunch of events there Halloween weekend. I cannot wait…

Fatally Yours: What are your goals for yourself within the horror genre?

Reyna Young: My goal is to do everything that I can get my hands on and then some….

Fatally Yours: Where can people find more info on you?

Reyna Young: Go to:
If anyone would like to e-mail me

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