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Site of the Week: Pretty/Scary

prettyscarynewheader.jpgThink of your favorite horror scene involving a woman. Chances are, it involves a belle short on lines and talent, high on looks, and most likely showing the audience a gratuitous amount of T&A before she meets an untimely and gruesome demise. Not that there’s anything wrong with this: Sexually charged scenes have been a staple of horror since its inception — think of Count Orloff approaching the sleeping Ellen in 1922’s Pretty/Scary in 2004 to promote news about women in the horror industry. “Most sites only talk about women who are hot, and when hot actresses do something else, like Kristanna Loken producing her own films or Asia Argento directing, it gets ignored,” she says. “We figured that male writers, producers, directors, and artists get so much coverage on horror entertainment sites, why wouldn’t women?”

The news items the site focuses on are almost exclusively related to women working in the business, whether they’re acting, producing, writing or directing. A “Pretty/Scary Gal of the Day” points out the cliches and stereotypes that have stifled perceptions of women, or celebrates women who have broken out of their proscribed roles in horror. A forum allows visitors to talk about the genre without, as Martinuzzi explains, fear of harassment from 14-year-old boys who say things like “AVP2 suked, and ur gay if u lik it.” The site also frequently interviews high-profile women about their roles in horror — the most recent example being Naomi Watts, who both starred in and executive produced the remade Funny Games. “We try to focus on covering genre films with female leads or that are made by women,” says Martinuzzi. “We love when horror films deal with issues like rape, abortion, womens’ rights, anything that makes them ultra female-focused.”

Not that she’s forgotten the men — one of the most popular features of Pretty/Scary is the “Scary Stud of the Month.” “Do you know that there was no place online where I could see all of my favorite sexy horror men?” she quips. Each profile is accompanied by an appropriately humorous interview, and Martinuzzi has found the male reaction to be quite positive. “The first thing men usually say is, ‘Dude, can I be a Scary Stud?'” she explains. “I think I’ve only had one negative reaction where a man felt that we were sexist for not focusing on men and women equally. He may have been right.” But Martinuzzi is willing to concede that women aren’t the only ones exploited in horror: “Men get a bad rap too,” she says. “Mostly they play horny frat boys and demented serial killers. Men should encourage change in horror films for their gender as well, of only to make films more interesting in general.”

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