Welcome to the Women in Horror column. Once a month, we highlight the work of women in the horror genre.
As a horror fan, you may occasionally find yourself scouring the depths of free streaming services just to find the genre’s hidden gems. It can be a time-consuming process, especially when you’re looking for a specific subgenre of horror— something that most streaming services just don’t care to categorize (like romance vs. rom-com, it’s not the same.) Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a thriller or a good slasher. So, in retaliation for this heinous oversight, something was finally done. We have decided to honour the one service that actually serves us— Shudder. The categories and collections put together by Shudder are magnifico! Especially for a column dedicated to women in horror, the “Woman’s Touch” collection is most enticing. This collection contains dozens of horror movies written and/or directed by women, so we decided to take on the duty of going through these films and offering you some recommendations and reviews of what Shudder has to offer.
Now, you may have been wondering, “What’s the title of this piece all about?” Well, that’s where our first film begins. It’s the 2020 horror-comedy, Slaxx, written and directed by Elza Kephart and Patricia Gomez. The film is about killer pants— really! A young woman named Libby (Romane Dennis) is hired at a basic, overpriced retail store called CCC that makes for the perfect setting for Instagram influencers to post their cliché pictures with inspirational quotes about saving the planet. “Making a better tomorrow, today” is their company slogan. The bright fluorescent lights and perfectly colour-coded shelves of CCC represent a fast fashion company that claims to be “different” than the others, because they supposedly care about the environment and their workers overseas. But to Libby, this mediocre fashion brand is too good to be true. On her very first day, a new line of “form-fitting” jeans is being launched, so every employee is on “lockdown” until the store is ready for opening morning. It is in this corporate lockdown that a pair of possessed jeans starts brutally murdering everyone. Crazy, we know!
What honestly makes this film whole is the writing, because it incorporates all the elements needed to tell a complete story. It’s as preposterous as it sounds, but it works! Kephart and Gomez know how to make something that should never make sense actually make sense. This makes it all the more enjoyable because you are getting a quality, campy horror film. You’re getting gore. You’re getting the caricatures and the bad decisions that round out a classic horror film. One could even say that Slaxx represents something very familiar to society today. Its satirical approach to criticizing the fast fashion industry is a stroke of genius that cherry-tops the whole dessert. The beautiful thing about horror is that there’s no budget that defines how good the film gets to be. There’s no limit to how far the insanity goes while still maintaining the very core of what makes the genre so good. Slaxx is a film that seems to understand that better than others. Patricia Gomez and Elza Kephart created a little gem that is truly a treat for horror fans. There’s a special feeling that comes with watching the downfall of a faux, greenwashing retail conglomerate while simultaneously watching a pair of jeans do things like dance and murder people. This film is definitely a 10 out of 10 recommendation!
Header image courtesy of EMA Films and The Horror Collective