When we started mulling around the idea of a WIH week here at The Blood Sprayer, I knew I wanted to have some guest posters. I wanted to reach out to some guys whose work I like. I love that there are a lot of women in the Horror industry who have inspired men in the industry, and that those are not mutually exclusive but indeed welcomed when they do happen. I called on my friend Rob Dimension and he obliged by working up a passion piece about why he loves Debra Hill and all she did for women in Horror with her producing and writing work. A quick bio on Rob: A Horror fan since birth, Rob Dimension can be seen each and every Thursday and Saturday Night on TV in Philadelphia on “Late Night at the Horror Hotel”. Visit him and the rest of this Horror crew at www.LateNightHorrorHotel.com – Horror Hosting has never been so HORRORible. He can also be heard on Horror Society Live’s radio show, each Wednesday night at 9pm est. Plus, he is pretty cool.
When writing about influential women in Horror, I wanted to write about a woman who is and will be remembered as an inspiration for many women who strive to achieve greatness behind the camera. I chose Debra Hill, even though she is gone, she is far from forgotten.
Debra Hill broke the wall for women within the Horror Industry. She was a pioneer within the producing ranks and brought us some infamous titles such as Halloween, Halloween II and Season of the Witch, plus Escape from New York and Adventures in Babysitting. As a Writer and Producer, Debra Hill proved that she belonged and made her mark.
Born on November 10, 1950, Debra Hill was Born and raised around the city of Philadelphia and was a fan of Horror, even at an early age. Hill entered the movie business in 1975, and immediately didn’t like the “supposed” women’s role in Hollywood. Pressing on, the eager Hill climbed the ladder with positions like production assistant, assistant director and script supervisor.
She was hired as the script supervisor for John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13; this is where the power team was formed. In 1978, Hill and Carpenter, co-wrote, one of Horror’s greatest classics of all time, Halloween. Halloween was written as two separate stories, with Hill handling the story of Laurie Strode in the babysitter role, Carpenter dealt with the Dr. Loomis storyline. The collaboration between the two birthed one of the most evil mass murders in Cinema today, Michael Myers. Haddonfield is even billed as Myer’s hometown; it is also the birthplace of Debra Hill. This was Hill’s first attempt at writing a film; it was her first Producing job too. It’s safe to say she hit a home run.
Hill continued throughout the years at making Cult Classics that we all enjoy. She was diagnosed with Cancer in February of 2004 and died in 2005. She was honored by Women in Film in 2003. I read a quote about Hill – “After years of having people not taking her seriously because she was a woman, Hill became one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood.” I believe that sums up her history, life and legacy.
Now, I know, I am a man writing about this. When asked about what woman I felt impacted Horror, Debra Hill was my first thought. For me growing up, John Carpenter and Debra Hill could do no wrong, Snake Plissken, Michael Myers…even Silver Shamrock, these are the names I will always remember. Debra Hill saw an opening and took a chance; she proved that she wouldn’t just “settle”.
Women within Horror are taking more risks and more doors are opening. No longer are there Scream Queens just in front of the camera, now we have Scream Writers. I am very excited to see the current crop of Women in Horror. The next time you are sitting with your loved one, snuggling under the covers…and something makes you jump. It might be because a woman knows what is scary.
Thank you Debra Hill – for making my childhood a little bit better.