Monday, March 1, 2010
Interview with Journalist Jamie Jenkins
Jamie Jenkins, known by many as “Maven” or “Moviemaven” in the online world is a journalist with a passion for horror that stems from a combination of nostalgia and love for the good old fashioned spookies. She has always hungered for knowledge about the dark side of human nature and feels that no other genre of film or literature lends itself to capturing humanity as does horror.
Jamie was always attracted to literature but her love of wildlife and science won over after she graduated high school. She attended the University of Georgia as a Biology major and now spends her weekdays in the Infectious Diseases Laboratory at the College of Veterinary Medicine. The rest of her time is spent researching, viewing and discussing film and all of those hardworking folks behind the scenes. Always eager to learn and grow as a fan as well as a writer, Jamie is elated to be able to do everything she loves and hopes to encourage others to do the same.
Fatally Yours: How did you fall in love with the horror genre?
Jamie D Jenkins: It’s my mother’s fault. She was a big genre fan all my life. Whatever she saw at the movies, I saw as well starting from a very early age. Then it became a way for us to bond. We like to play the quote game. She’s good but I beat her now.
Fatally Yours: What does horror mean to you?
Jamie D Jenkins: To me horror is the genre that most reflects what’s going on in the world. You can trace elements of history based on what scares the community. Look at the big bug movies of the Nuclear Age for a perfect example. It’s also the genre that has no limits or rules and I love it for that. The only real limitation is the creator’s imagination. That can be very scary.
Fatally Yours: How and when did you start writing about the horror genre?
Jamie D Jenkins: For years I wrote fiction and then stumbled onto two websites called MoviesOnline.ca and Horror-Movies.ca in 2005. That’s when I started writing reviews and before long became a staff member writing editorials and doing interviews. HM fueled my love for the genre and gave me the license to spew out all the stuff that was stuck in my head as a fan. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not (laughs).
Fatally Yours: What is one thing you’ve done within the horror genre that you are most proud of?
Jamie D Jenkins: I was lucky enough to attend the Pittsburgh premier of Land of the Dead where I got to hobnob with some personal heroes. Romero is responsible for many of the films that cemented my love. I also met Tarantino and discovered him to be a warm and friendly guy. That made me very happy because you always want your heroes to be good guys. Writing about the genre also allowed me to meet my fiancé, Patrick. I’m certainly proud of that.
Fatally Yours: How would you convince people who aren’t horror fans to give the genre a try?
Jamie D Jenkins: Whenever I encounter a “normie” as we like to call them at Last Blog, I attempt to find out why they aren’t fans. If I believe they just can’t take it I don’t force the issue. But if I find out they could be latent fans, I introduce them to some mild, quality films to begin or give them a watch list to get them going.
Fatally Yours: In your opinion, what constitutes a good horror review? What guidelines do you follow when reviewing something?
Jamie D Jenkins: A good horror review is one that will tell your readers, those that trust your opinion, whether or not they should waste their time. I don’t do spoilers so they are safe to read and I am always honest. That can be difficult if you are friends with the filmmaker but if my readers can’t trust me what is the point of doing it? And I try to incorporate humor (unless the film is very serious) to make them enjoyable to read, I hope. I find that if the writing is entertaining and full of personality then people will be able to better discern whether or not you are a reviewer they can depend on in the future.
Fatally Yours: Do you feel women in horror get the proper recognition when compared to their male counterparts?
Jamie D Jenkins: These days I feel like it’s getting better and better. I know that when you ask the general question “who are your favorite women of horror” you will likely get a string of actresses as an answer. But more and more people are beginning to recognize that women are all over the genre. I think sites like Fatally-Yours and The Chainsaw Mafia are helping a great deal to get the word out that “women are doin’ it for themselves.”
Fatally Yours: As a woman who writes about horror, have you found it harder to be taken seriously in a genre that seems to be dominated by males?
Jamie D Jenkins: Absolutely not. To be honest my gender has been very helpful. I have found that even though horror fans were mostly males for a long time (times they are a’changin’) they craved the opinion of female fans. I think the men love knowing there are chicks out there who like what they do and I believe the other chicks like knowing they aren’t alone in their depravities (laughs).
Fatally Yours: Since you’ve been involved with the horror genre, have you noticed a change in women’s roles within horror whether it be roles in horror films, women behind the camera or women writers?
Jamie D Jenkins: Yes, for sure. But I can’t really say if there has been a significant change or more a change of awareness. Since I have become involved on the other side of the screen, I have become more and more exposed to the women in the business. I find it empowering and inspiring.
Fatally Yours: And now for that question you just mentioned above, what women in horror do you admire?
Jamie D Jenkins: There are so many. I deeply admire those that do a little of everything. Shannon Lark is one of my greatest inspirations. She is out there doing everything she can for the genre. Stacie Ponder and I have so many things in common that I know I can trust her opinion. If she tells me I should see something, I know I’ll love it. As for those I don’t know personally, I have always loved what Katherine Bigelow did with Near Dark. I am rooting like hell for her The Hurt Locker nomination [for the Academy Award]. If you wanna go back a ways, Shannon brought Paula Maxa [Grand Guignol’s leading lady from 1917 - 1933] to my attention. That woman was incredible. I wish more people knew about her contributions to the industry.
Fatally Yours: What inspires, influences and motivates you to keep writing about horror?
Jamie D Jenkins: As long as there are horror film makers, there will be something for me to blab about. It may be good or it may be bad but I will always have something to say. I do, however, get deeply inspired by innovative ideas and fresh takes on old stories (I am not referring to remakes). And every time I start to think the genre is getting stale or repetitive, something comes along to light the fire again. This year it was Trick ‘r’ Treat. I can’t put into words what that film meant to me when I saw it. But it is an excellent example of a film that got my juices flowing.
Fatally Yours: What are your favorite horror films and books?
Jamie D Jenkins: My number one movie will always be Jaws. I mean c’mon, there are people who still won’t go into the ocean because of that flick 35 years later. That is power. I have also been a lifelong fan of Romero and his dead movies and I’ve had a crush on Jason Voorhees for years. I’m a big Friday the 13th fan. But there are far too many for me to venture naming any more. I love so many different films for just as many different reasons. For books, give me anything by Poe, Richard Matheson or Brian Keene to give examples across the board. I’m also enamored of Max Brooks for his contributions to the zombie subgenre.
Fatally Yours: Outside of horror what do you enjoy doing?
Jamie D Jenkins: There is life outside of horror? (Laughs) Seriously I’m also a big fan of comedies and dramas. I really enjoy all film genres. I love to watch game shows and Lifetime movies, especially the ones about stalkers or bad babysitters. I also crochet in my spare time and play loads of video games. And I try to never stop learning. Give me the History Channel any day. I’m really a big geek. But that’s okay with me. And I’m super devoted to my three cats (soon to be four when Patrick moves in). They keep me laughing on a daily basis.
Fatally Yours: What are your goals for yourself within the horror genre?
Jamie D Jenkins: I just hope to keep doing what I love to do any way I can. I don’t see it getting any better than that…unless someone is willing to pay me to run my mouth full time. That would allow me the opportunity to devote all of my time. I am working on a couple of books as well. I’d love to see those get finished before I’m too old to type or books are obsolete.
Fatally Yours: Where can people find your reviews/more info on you?
Jamie D Jenkins: You can currently find my work at TheLastBlogontheLeft.com as well as TheChainsawMafia.com. I am proud to be a part of the Mafia. I get to interview some really incredible women. My MySpace page has links to articles as does my Facebook. You can also find me hanging out frequently at Horror-Movies.ca. There are some great board members there. It’s like a family. At Last Blog we do podcasts as well as printed work so come on by and give us a listen. My partner, Bo Ransdell, is an avid, intelligent fan as well as an amazing screenwriter. We have a lot of fun.