WEEK IN WOMEN Halloween news roundup: Get the creeps with horror movies directed by women, weigh in on what age children should see horror movies and find out the scary new project for ‘Girls Trip’ co-writer Tracy Oliver

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Noah Wiseman, left, and Essie Davis star in "The Babadook." IFC Films photo

Noah Wiseman, left, and Essie Davis star in “The Babadook.” IFC Films photo

It’s always a good time to celebrate women in film, even Halloween.

In honor of the spooky season, IMDB has compiled a fantastic list of 36 Horror Movies Directed by Women. Although it’s not comprehensive, the list includes such must-see titles as Kathryn Bigelow’s 1987 vampire Western “Near Dark,” Julie Delpy’s 2009 historic biopic “The Countess,” Mary Harron’s 2011 crime drama “American Psycho,” Fran Rubel Kuzui’s 1992 TV prequel “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and Jennifer Kent’s 2014 Australian psychological horror drama “The Babadook.”

Check them out between now and Tuesday, which is Halloween, or just anytime you feel like getting the creeps.

AWFJ weigh in on the issue of horror movies and children

Alliance of Women Film Journalists members Betsy Bozdech, Liz Whittemore, Nell Minow, Jennifer Merin and yours truly have weighed in on the ongoing issue of children’s exposure to horror movies and other violent films.

You can read our full commentaries here.

A new CableTV survey about horror movies reveals, among other things, that the average age at which the (presumably adult) respondents saw their first horror movie was 7.2 years old.  Betsy, executive editor of Common Sense, writes that her 7-year-old daughter’s second-grade classmate recently told her that he’d seen “It.”

While research indicates that media violence doesn’t directly make kids who are exposed to it more aggressive, some studies do suggest that, combined with other risk factors — including things like substance abuse and conflict at home — media violence can contribute to violent behavior.

As Betsy writes, “It’s up to parents and other adults to manage kids’ media in a smart, age-appropriate way; it’s always OK to say no to something kids aren’t ready for, no matter which friend might have seen it — or how much you might want to see it yourself. Be the grown-up; set limits.”

Something to keep in mind during the thrills and chills of the Halloween season.

Tracy Oliver. Photo provided

Tracy Oliver. Photo provided

‘Girls Trip’ co-writer teams with Pharrell Williams for ‘Survive the Night’

After her historic success co-writing the hit comedy “Girls Trip,” Tracy Oliver is set to adapt the young-adult book “Survive the Night.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, music mogul Pharrell Williams will produce with Mimi Valdes, his partner at I Am Other Entertainment. Also producing are Leslie Morgenstein and Elysa Dutton of Alloy Entertainment, which specializes in book-based projects like the recent Amandla Stenberg-Nick Robinson drama “Everything Everything.”

Independent film producer Jon Alston will work with Oliver on the design and look for the film and act as a consultant on the project.

Warner Bros. has picked up the project, with Oliver writing the script and directing. The story centers on a group of female college students trapped inside an underground warehouse music festival on Halloween. They must fight for their lives against a mysterious attacker who hunts them down throughout the night.

According to the report, Oliver and the producers see the project as a grounded empowerment story about four female friends. Given the setting, music will be a large component to the story.

Williams, Valdes and Oliver previously collaborated on “Awkward Black Girl,” a YouTube web series that starred Issa Rae.

And Williams and Valdes were part of the crew that produced “Hidden Figures,” the hit drama that told the true story of four black women who were important to NASA’s programs in the 1960s.

The project will mark the feature film directorial debut for Oliver, although she wrote and helmed a short film that accompanied R&B artist Jhene Aiko’s latest album, “Trip.”

Oliver is also rewriting “Rapper’s Delight” for producer Stephanie Allain, as well as adapting Nicola Yoon’s YA novel “The Sun Is Also a Star” for Alloy and Warner.

Oliver’s female-empowerment comedy “Girls Trip” grossed over $115 million domestically. As previously reported, it became the first film with an all-black creative team in front of and behind the camera to earn $100 million at the box office, and for Oliver (“Barbershop: The Next Cut”), it also marked the first time a female African-American writer has ever reached that milestone.

“There are actually not that many black female writers in the studio space,” Oliver told NBC News in a recent interview. “Becoming the first [to reach the $100 million film milestone] pointed that out to me.”

The July release became highest-grossing live-action comedy of the summer and the year so far. Oliver told NBC News that even she was surprised at the film’s $100-million-plus success.

“I knew that the movie was going to do well because I knew that there was an audience for it, but I was not thinking $100 million. I still can’t believe it, because there are a lot of movies with all white casts that haven’t hit $100 million,” Oliver said.

On the heels of the success of “Girls Trip,” which was recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, Paramount Television, which is taking over Spike TV, has tapped the increasingly busy Oliver for the TV reboot of the 1996 film “The First Wives Club,” which starred Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton.

“What was very clear is, ‘If I was going to do “First Wives,” I would like to make it about black women,’” Oliver said.

“Even though I loved the movie, I think the 2017 version of this has to be diverse and needs to be unique to my experiences,” she told the Paramount Television executives courting her. And their response, she said, was “That’s great, and we’re really excited about that.”

And that’s certainly encouraging news.


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