Continuing with our coverage for Women in Horror Month, Shannon had the chance to speak with Zena Dixon, founder of the site Real Queen of Horror, where we discussed everything from her brand, to her dedication to the horror genre, to filmmaking.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Zena, thank you so much for speaking with us today! I love that your site is called Real Queen of Horror. What inspired you to want to write about all things horror related and where did the name come from?
Zena Dixon: I started RealQueenofHorror.com in 2011 because I absolutely love horror movies! Thanks to my mom, I’ve been watching horror movies before I could even remember. Shout out to the O.G. Real Queen of Horror! Real Queen of Horror was created to show my love for horror movies, whether through written reviews, interviews, videos or podcasts. When I was coming up with names for my site, this one stood out to me because I thought it fit well.
Nightmarish Conjurings: It’s quite apparent how much horror means to you. How has the horror genre shaped and defined you as a person?
ZD: As silly as this may seem, I hold the horror genre very dear to my heart. It was something I always loved having in my life. I remember staying up late in elementary school to watch horror. Then I would be extremely tired the next day while boarding the yellow cheese bus. It was torture waking up early, but I don’t regret any of it. As I matured, so did my love for the genre. As a kid I would recreate different scenes I saw in movies starring my brothers and sisters. I didn’t really think anything of it, I thought most kids recreated scenes they watched on TV. I would stay up late watching slashers or psychological horrors. I started to take my love for horror seriously after I took a film class in high school. A director of a Will Smith movie came to one of my film classes to watch our short, individual films. Everyone else in the class filmed comedies or dramas. I was the only one who decided to take on the horror genre. The director actually gave me a huge compliment, which inspired me to create more films.
Nightmarish Conjurings: The term “Women in Horror” can mean a lot of things. What does it mean to you?
ZD: Unfortunately, the horror genre has a gender problem! “Women in Horror”, for me, represents a community that definitely showcases the different contributions of women within the genre. “Women in Horror” represents the different experiences women have in the horror genre.
Nightmarish Conjurings: You are very multi-talented and immerse yourself in different creative avenues within the genre – whether that be writing or directing. What medium do you find yourself most comfortable doing?
ZD: I’m a very creative and visual person, so I definitely feel most comfortable creating films. The whole filming process from the beginning, the writing, and to the very end of post production is so much fun! I feel like I was made for being on set. There’s nothing quite like being on set, no matter if it’s your own or someone else’s. Everyone has a purpose on set.
Nightmarish Conjurings: When it comes to directing, was this something that you always wanted to do? What struggles have you faced being a female director and how have you overcome those?
ZD: I went through the phases of wanting to be a ballerina (seriously), doctor, Frost from BLADE, detective, and professor, but what has always been consistent in my life was my love for movies, in particular horror movies. That “itch” to make horror movies has always been there for me. I believe that people were put on this planet for a purpose, and I feel that my purpose is to entertain. I have faced many struggles as a female director, even as a black female director, but I’m a very optimistic person and the only thing I really know how to do in those situations is move forward. If someone has an issue with me for something I love to do, then I wish them the best because I’m going to continue to create.
Nightmarish Conjurings: “Women in Horror Month” is an important time for those of us in the genre. What changes would you like to see in coming years to better propel “Women in Horror Month”?
ZD: I hope to see more women creators within the horror genre because I absolutely love seeing and experiencing new projects of the genre.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Last but certainly not least, are there any projects you are working on that we should be keeping our eyes out for in the future?
ZD: Right now, under Type 7 Studios, I’m working on a short film which will be expanded into a full feature. I’m still working on the script, the title and synopsis is still under wraps. It’s a film that I, as a lover of the horror genre, always wanted to see.