horror poem

[VIDEO] Being a Woman in a Horror Movie

In the video: Marwa Adina and Dena Igusti. Also co-written by: Justice Hehir.

Recorded from: Verbal Mayhem Poetry Collective

Being a woman in a horror movie

You will end up one of two ways

Naked in your underwear,

Beautiful victim

Or you live long enough

To become the bitch that no one likes.

No one will blame the killer

They will blame your death

On your underwear or your anger

At least you will look beautiful in your casket

Dead girls get more pity

Because they don’t speak

The virgin is the only heroine here

Barefoot, barefaced always in a white nightgown

Love women bleached into ghosts

Always in white, a canvas

Painted by the men who chase her into the forest





If you’re a woman of color,

They’ll think there’s nothing to stain.

Forget your convictions

Forget the plot

Forget the answers you came looking for

Your stubbornness is going to get us all killed,

They’ll say

The audiences will shake their heads

When you’re stand-offish to the boy next door

Even when, in the end, he’s the killer

They’ll say

You could have been nicer.

Don’t go in the attic.

Or down the hallway.

Or outside.

Stay in the kitchen.

Stay in the bedroom.

Stay where you are,

Girls who wander are asking for trouble.

It doesn’t matter that you were looking for answers

All they’ll remember is you climbing into the attic

A virgin sacrifice.

For us

Danger always seems to be calling from

Inside the house.

There are monsters

In the walls

And we know that ghosts aren’t the only ones who can Haunt houses

The noises you hear aren’t phantoms in the dark

They are the attempts of her spouse

To get her to join them.

For you, it is a plot twist

When he pulls out the gun

For us, it’s a cliche

The only thing that surprised us about the shining

Was that Jack Nicholson didn’t just use a gun.

It would have been faster.

“They’re coming for you, Barbara”

and you

and me

When every night walking home is night of the living dead

And the exorcist was scary

But no worse than the first time some boy

Made a mess of your body.

Forcing it into contortions you never knew possible.

And “Silence of the Lambs” wasn’t the first time we saw

Moths shoved down women’s throats

When you’re made silent for long enough

It’s no surprise when they settle there

Women learn early on to trust our instincts

The fear in our belly

Just call it our sixth sense.

We’re all watching the same damn movie,

Over and over,

But we’re not asking the right questions.

Instead of asking why she went in the attic

ask the murderer why he’s up there in the first place.

Instead of asking why she won’t just get out of the house,

Ask the ghosts why they’re haunting it.

Ask the monsters why they come for us,

Ask the monsters why.

If you listen hard enough

You can still hear the screaming

Threats that echo in the wallpaper,


The drip of the sink


The couch cushions


They tell us going to a horror movie is romantic.

They tell us to snuggle into boyfriends at the movies,

Even though we know the killer

Is probably the boyfriend.

It’s always the boyfriend.

Good thing

That’s just in the movies.