girls calling the shots: Fatally Yours interviews Emily Hagins

Emily Hagins talks with Fatally Yours about her upcoming projects and what it's like being a girl director of horror films (image courtesy of

Today I want to share an interview with Emily Hagins. You may remember that I wrote about Hagins and her films Pathogen and Zombie Girl back in January, when Hagins came to Austin and screened her documentary at the Alamo Drafthouse. Well Fatally Yours, a site devoted to horror films and fans, is celebrating “Women in Horror Recognition Month” this February by interviewing female bloggers, critics, directors, producers, and actors associated with the horror genre. Fatally Yours talks with the Hagins on what it’s like working in a predominantly male profession (directing) and genre of filmmaking (horror). Sarah “Fatally Yours” Jahier, the interviewer, poses some tough questions to Hagins and really probes the director’s thoughts on gender and genre.

Here are a few snipets from the interview.

On her connection to horror films:

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

Emily Hagins:
I was pretty scared of horror movies until I was 11-years-old. That’s when I saw the Australian zombie movie Undead. It’s both silly and scary, and at the time I didn’t know horror films could be anything other than scary (this was before Shaun of the Dead came out). Not only did this make me not as scared to watch horror movies, but it also provoked my interest in watching more.

Fatally Yours: What are others’ reactions when you tell them you are involved in the horror genre, especially at such a young age?

Emily Hagins: I think sometimes people wonder if I’m well-rounded or obsessed with horror. To answer those questions, I love all kinds of movies. Horror movies are fun to watch and make, but they’re not the only kind of movies that I want to watch or make. My parents were always open to talking about movies with me, which they did instead of trying to prevent me from watching horror movies. However, there were some movies that they made wait to watch too, haha.

A poster for Emily Hagin\'s first feature-length film Pathogen (image courtesy of Hagin's site:

Emily’s thoughts on representations of gender in horror films:

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

Emily Hagins: I think women tend to gravitate towards romance or dramas, which is probably why romantic comedies have been dubbed “chick flicks.” Horror films (and action) almost seem like the opposite of romantic comedies, so they have become the “guy flicks.” I think studios feel more comfortable hiring a guy to direct a movie of a genre with an audience that is mainly men.

Fatally Yours: Do you ever get annoyed at how women in horror movies always end naked or with their clothes ripped off?

Emily Hagins: Haha, yeah. But I usually just think, “A guy probably made this movie or insisted on this scene.” It depends on how good the movie is for me to be distracted or not distracted by it because it’s pretty common.

Emily Hagins admires the work and dedication of fellow female director Kathryn Bigelow, shown here on location for her film The Hurt Locker (image courtesy of

and Emily’s thoughts on being a female filmmaker:

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

Emily Hagins: I believe writing what you know is any writer’s inherent strong point, so I think female filmmakers/writers have the potential to provide realistic and strong female characters.

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

Emily Hagins: I think I would say Lexi Alexander, though I don’t know if her films would qualify as horror. She’s an independent filmmaker who doesn’t shy away from gore or action, I guess like Kathryn Bigelow too. I saw her speak at a Q & A for her film Hooligans at SXSW, and she’s very determined and passionate. That’s the kind of filmmaker I try to be.

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

Emily Hagins: With any horror movies I make, I hope that people aren’t thinking “A girl made this.” I don’t like thinking “I bet a guy made this,” when I watch a movie. I’d rather just be lost in the story.

I’m overjoyed that Emily is receiving attention from blogs and critics devoted to horror films. Reading Emily’s thoughts on gender, filmmaking, and the horror genre make me feel optimistic about the future of film and the young female filmmakers who are already shaping that future!

~ by actyourage09 on February 10, 2010.

2 Responses to “girls calling the shots: Fatally Yours interviews Emily Hagins”

  1. I probably gravitate towards romance or horror.

    It’s good to see a woman have power at such an age.

    One of my friends is part of the Horror Writers’ Association, and she is very well-rounded.

    Being lost in a story is a big thing.

    • I agree that it is amazing to see a young woman demonstrate such agency – especially in the filmmaking industry. Personally I prefer action films, for some reason I’m a bit squeamish when it comes to horror films and often find myself closing my eyes and covering my ears during even the most ridiculous horror movies. However, I have female friends who love a variety of horror films – from classic slashers to J-horror to torture porn – and they are the nicest coolest ladies ever.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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