Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Waxing and Waning

Hi there, readers! Jace here, posting to our long-neglected blog.

I’m thinking about bikini waxes. There. I’ve said it. Brazilians, Playboys, landing strips, you name it – I’ve got them on my mind. And it has everything to do with NIGHT OF THE DEMONS.

Let me explain. There’s a scene toward the beginning of the movie where three of the female characters (including Bobbi Sue Luther's Suzanne, pictured above) drink and talk. The subject? Bikini waxing. Now, a very interesting thing happened when Adam and I finished the script and showed it to some of our fellow horror screenwriters. “It’s not realistic,” I heard. “Women don’t talk to each other that way. This scene shouldn’t even be in there.”

I heard the same criticism when we were editing: women don’t talk that way. I’ve gotten the comment from fans. Several critics have singled out the scene, saying the dialogue sounds like it was written by some horny and/or lonely guy fantasizing about how women talk. (I always laugh at that – after all, the last time I checked I had ovaries.)

You want to know the really interesting thing about these complaints? I’ve only heard them from men. Not a single woman has told me that the conversation was unrealistic. In fact, they tend to laugh with recognition.

Here's where I got the inspiration for the scene: in line at a frozen yogurt shop. Three young women in front of me – they had just graduated from high school – were comparing notes on the best place in my neighborhood to get a bikini wax. “The place I go is great,” one announced. “They don’t make you get on your hands and knees.” (Sorry, ladies – I eavesdropped hard, but missed the name of the salon. I’ll get back to you on that.)

Let me repeat: this conversation happened in line at a frozen yogurt shop.

I’d tell this to the guys who didn’t think the scene seemed real. “I’ve had conversations like these, too,” I’d insist. (Believe me, war stories get passed around.)

They’d look at me doubtfully, like maybe I’d been imagining the whole thing. Maybe I was just a lone weirdo who talked about…that. “Really?,” they’d ask. Then they’d shake their heads. “Nope. I just don’t buy it.”

It’s an odd thing sometimes, being a woman working in the male-dominated world of horror films. I’ve been the lone female at many a horror writer/director gathering, and I even once had a director say that I seemed “too nice to write horror.” But I have to say that few things have been as weird as having men insist to me that women just don’t talk that way – even when I’ve actually had the conversation we’re debating.

News flash: we know how we talk. There are lots of us who love horror passionately, who debate new releases and old classics with as much gusto as the guys – and more of us need to be writing and making horror films.

As for NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, check it out on October 19. Tell me what you think of the scene – if you’re a woman, have you had a similar conversation? If you’re a guy, do you believe it?

Oh, and if you know of a better pain reliever than aloe vera, let me in on the secret.


  1. Men are stupid and I am one. Lots of girls talk about bikini waxing (there's a scene in "The White Chicks" where they are on the beach talking about it.) That happens in real life, cause I'm gay and I have lots of girlfriends who talk about it and I go with them to do it. I'm sure it's a great scene and I can't wait for NOTD. I've kept update with this film for two years and recieved some replies from Adam, so I am excited! Which I appreciate his responses, you can tell him that for me. Lol. On the pain reliever...never had to use any (everything bad happens to women, thats why their stronger.) Later!

  2. Oh and would love for you to follow my blog at http://brianlhollon.blogspot.com THANKS!

  3. Ha ha! I asked you that exact thing when I interviewed you at Frightfest '09! Sorry - didn't mean to be such a predictable male! In my defence, I never doubted nor do I now doubt that that's how women talk!

    Incidentally, that was when my girlfriend - operating camera- fainted halfway through the interview. It must have been the waxing talk bringing back painful memories...

  4. Matt, don't worry -- I'm happy that the scene generates a few questions. And I'll never forget your girlfriend fainting, though I'm glad we now have an explanation! :)

    An interesting additional note: I was talking with one of the (female) producers today, who grew up in America and has lived in England for many years now. She thought there might be a cultural difference -- while we on this side of the pond may be blabbing about everything, she felt that the whole conversation was not likely to happen in the UK. (You Brits are always more dignified!) I'm curious to hear if people that's the case.

    Brian, thanks for your input! I like your blog -- your point about there being a difference between being a great writer and a published author is very good!

  5. Now I'm really curious to see the scene. I have totally had waxing, penis, and orgasm conversations with other women in line for unrelated things; I've also seen movies where I thought the dialogue between females was unrealstic. What makes this interesting is that a woman wrote this particular dialogue based on a particular real-life experience.

    Does Tiffany say something dirty in this scene? She totally does, I know it.

  6. Watched the film last night (had a lot of fun with it) and paid special attention to the scene in question. Absolutely I've had similar conversations with my friends. While it was totally realistic and believable to me, I think the problem is that most men are used to hearing female dialogue written from the male point of view and, hence, written as men fantasize that women speak rather than how we actually do. Despite the strides we've made, it's still such a man's world!

    Plus, I think the point about cultural differences is valid also. Definitely here in the US we spill our guts about every little thing while most people in other countries (especially the UK) tend to keep mum about the more private aspects of their lives.

  7. Thanks, WomaninBlack! Hedi, unfortunately Tiff's not in the scene -- I'm sure she would've outdone everyone if she had been!

    And of course it's silly to say something as general as "women do/don't talk this way" -- obviously we're not all of one giant Borg mindset. In regards to movies -- and the scene I mention -- the proper question is "Would these characters talk that way?" Then there's the whole question of what makes movie dialogue sound "real" -- dialogue's not real, it's sort of "real plus." If you recorded two people talking and transcribed it, it would make for an awful scene -- too many interruptions, ums, ahs, etc.

    And a note to the guys reading this: I don't think you're stupid! But I do think the fact that the scene I mentioned generated these different reactions along gender lines raises a lot of interesting questions!

  8. Bobbi was hysterical the second she entered that scene. I loved it when she put the aloe on and picked on Monica for being all natural. I enjoyed the movie a lot and loved the soundtrack. Still trying to find all of the tracks online. One word...sequel.

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