For Women in Horror Month, it only seems natural that the Collector’s Crypt take a look at collectors’ items from some of the best female-centric horror movies of the last decade or three. After all, there are plenty to choose from! Female contributions to the horror genre are innumerable, and many of the most iconic horror characters are women, from badass final girls to some menacing femme fatales. Without further adieu, let’s get started!
DIVING INTO THE DESCENT
In 2005, The Descent rose from the depths, it’s claustrophobic tale of six women venturing into an unexplored cave system and becoming trapped after a cave-in earning rave reviews for its effective suspense scenes, even before bloodthirsty, cave-dwelling creatures make their appearance in the movie’s second act.
Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, Doomsday) directed the virtually all-female cast, outside of the brief but effective opening scene, led by Shauna Macdonald as the traumatized Sarah and Natalie Mendoza as the adventurous but ultimately reckless Juno. Weaving in themes of trauma and female camaraderie in between its fright scenes, The Descent ultimately had a lot more on its mind than just blood and guts.
A year after its original release in the United Kingdom, The Descent made its debut in the United States, albeit with a slightly modified ending that removed the somber last shot of the original cut. Nevertheless, it was a success at the box office, and the original ending was restored on the Unrated DVD where it gained an even larger audience.
A few promotional items, appropriately themed for a caving or other outdoor expedition, were created to promote the theatrical and home video releases. A combination carabiner/compass/flashlight with The Descent logo printed on it was given out to lucky recipients, along with Descent-branded glow sticks (a fun callback to the glow sticks used to light up the pitch-black cave in the movie). Both of these items occasionally pop up on eBay, but are usually quick to disappear back into the depths of fans’ collections.
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TRAGEDY GIRLS ON THE SCENE
A pitch-black comedic take on slasher movies and final girl tropes, Tragedy Girls hashtagged its way on to the scene in 2017, following high school girls McKayla and Sadie (Alexandra Shipp and Brianna Hildebrand) who call themselves the Tragedy Girls, blogging on social media about the brutal murders that have been plaguing their small town. What no one knows is that McKayla and Sadie are behind the killings themselves, leveraging their newfound fame as they build their brand by investigating their very own crimes.
Tragedy Girls had its debut at the South by Southwest film festival in early 2017 before a limited theatrical release and ultimately was widely released on streaming and on-demand services. The marketing campaign focused heavily on the title characters, and the distinctive bright green and pink masks they fashion for themselves to wear as their killing spree begins and their have to conceal their identities.
Replicas of these masks made appearances at screenings of the movie, given out to attendees on the red carpet, and some lucky press outlets even received Tragedy Girls gift boxes containing the masks to promote the movie. While officially licensed versions of the masks were also made available for purchase, these earlier promotional versions are slightly different in shape and construction, making them a perfect item for collectors.
GET COOKING WITH GRETEL AND HANSEL
A flip-flopped title indicated an all new, female-focused take on the classic Grimm’s fairy tale with Gretel & Hansel, directed by Oz Perkins and released in to theaters in early 2020. Starring It‘s Sophia Lillis and Sam Leakey as the title characters, Gretel follows the same basic story we all know, of two orphaned children venturing into the woods and stumbling upon the home of a witch named Holda in this version and played by Krige, but takes the story in surprising new directions in its final act. Suffice it to say, it does not simply end with the children shoving the wicked witch into an oven to make their escape.
As part of the marketing campaign, elaborate Gretel & Hansel themed prize packs were made available on various social media outlets. Consisting of a full set of baking supplies, with a mixing bowl, spatula, cookie cutter, apron, oven mitt, and even a recipe for the witch Holda‘s special cookies, these packages were available for purchase with loyalty points from Regal Cinema’s Crown Club, and they were also mailed out to select press outlets to drum up hype for the movie. A highly appropriate nod to the witch’s method of attracting children with delicious baked goods and candies, this is one of the cooler promotional packages the Collector’s Crypt has seen in recent years.
SINK YOUR TEETH INTO FRIGHT NIGHT: PART 2
Released three years after the original, 1988’s Fright Night: Part 2 brought back original stars William Ragsdale as Charley Brewster and Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent to face off against an all new threat: a female vampire named Regine, out for revenge for the death of fellow vampire (and her brother) Jerry Dandridge in the first Fright Night.
A somewhat obscure sequel to a classic, or at least one that’s extremely hard to find on home video and only received a limited theatrical release to begin with, Fright Night: Part 2 did not achieve the same warm reviews or financial success as the original, although it has become a cult favorite in its own right. Home video releases that were only printed in small numbers are favorite items for collectors.
Another item for collectors to sink their teeth into: promotional glow-in-the-dark vampire fangs, packaged in a Fright Night: Part 2 blister pack (which also again features the vampire visage of the original movie’s star Amanda Bearse). Even rarer than the home video releases, these fangs rarely appear for sale online, and command a high asking price when they do.