This Old "Witch" Makes Horror Flicks - Risky "Witchiness"

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (5/20/13) - "This Old 'Witch' Makes Horror Flicks" is a completely uncensored look at independent horror film making. PJ Woodside is one of the masterminds behind Big Biting Pig Productions, an internationally recognized, but locally-based independent movie company that films entirely in Hopkins County, KY. For a sneak peak behind the scenes, read on. (Note: some content may not be suitable for a younger audience)

A fellow filmmaker asked me recently to talk about a time when I took a risk with a story and it paid off; and conversely, a time when it didn’t. I can think of lots of story risks that have worked; we like twists, and we don’t shy away from a dark ending. In hindsight, they’re all risky.

One story risk, however, that gave me shivers the very instant I conceived it (pun intended) was in the creation of the main character in The Creepy Doll: a pregnant woman who commits horrific deeds.

The character of Kate is visibly quite pregnant throughout the movie – check out the screen shots and you’ll see this is true. We made a special belly for the actress and she was so convincing on set in her gestures and body language that I often felt compelled to tell her to rest, take a load off, responding as if she actually were pregnant. A pregnant woman evokes sympathy. And that’s what I was going for.

I intentionally play with female clichés in my scripts, turn them upside down, take them to extremes. My first movie, Widow, exploits the archetype of the sad and devoted widow. My next one, Lucid, explores the unpredictable girlfriend.

Kate, in The Creepy Doll, is a devoted wife and mother whose very identity is usurped by a doll (yeah, that creepy one). But the doll is really just a metaphor for how pregnancy can feel to a woman: as if nothing else matters except the child, as if the mother can no longer devote any time (or energy) to herself without being seen as a monster. And what of the mother who resents this subversion of self? Will she become a monster? These are the archetypes I’m playing with in The Creepy Doll.

People sympathize with pregnant women as long as they seem to care about their unborn babies, and Kate clearly cares – at first. Then she becomes something else. Is she a risk to her baby? Will the audience turn? At what point? Allowing Kate to become the kind of crazy monster who can kill as easily as she does was a terrific risk. Would people be so offended they would hate it? Would they refuse to experience the true terror of the movie? Would they think me a monster as well?

So far, no reviewer has picked up on these themes, and I’ll be the first to admit that you should enjoy the movie without having to think about themes and archetypes and motifs. But making a pregnant woman the villain of a horror movie was definitely a risk. And I think it paid off.

What do you think?

Please visit our Kickstarter page if you’d like to donate to our next production, The Caretakers!

PJ Woodside is the writer and director of Lucid, which features Bill Johnson and will be released in 2013. She is co-producer of Spirit Stalkers and six other movies with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions, and owner of PJ’s Productions. More from PJ's official blog can be found here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by PJ Woodside
Photo by PJ Woodside

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