I’m not scared, you’re scared

entertwine
4 min readNov 22, 2023

Written by Brittany Sandoval

Photo provided by Filmmaker Danielle Mitchell

A young, manicured black woman lays on her bed nervously.

Her room is dim.

Anxious, she opens her laptop to the local news broadcast, the headline reads ‘Bud The Snapshot Stalker Reported Dead’.

Announcer, “a struggle ensued, resulting in a shoot-out. Sources confirm that the suspect is dead”.

Her phone blinks with a notification from an unknown number. She rejects it.

She hears a camera phone shutter.

She looks, there’s no one.

Beep-Beep, another notification from unknown. A picture of her in her bed looking at her laptop. She looks around the empty room.

Beep-Beep. A second airdrop photo from unknown. Another picture of her looking around.

She covers her mouth, staring wide-eyed at the image. She drops the cell phone.

A light flashes, the sound of a camera shutters. The flash illuminates a man. The light fades; he’s gone.

Photo by Elti Meshau, provided by Pexels

Horror film fans foam at the mouth over the new spine-tingling thriller. Cult fanatics mouths’ water at the trailer of a sequel to their favorite franchise.

Couldn’t be me.

I consider myself a horror film denier.

Why would someone pay good money to be scared?

After years of covering my eyes and plugging my ears at these movie trailers, I opened my eyes to see how horror films continue to captivate mass audiences by tapping into instinctual fears.

Horror is designed for the viewer to feel anxiety, fear, disgust, but also pleasure. It turns out that the enjoyment that some people get from watching horror films is “the physical and emotional release that follows scary situations,”(Seeker). According to Psychology Today, horror films allow viewers to play with fear by safely immersing themselves in threat scenarios. A little simulation for our flight, fight, freeze responses.

But, part of the reason I’ve not been drawn to horror is I haven’t seen myself in these threat scenarios: I’m not running through an alleyway in lingerie; I’m not going in that room, that was stupid; I avoid people who are screaming. I don’t hear anything, I don’t see anything, I can’t say anything.

Photo from Pexels

When I have caught myself in a horror film, the character is one-dimensional.

As a Black woman, it’s important to see myself on screen with dynamic characters and scenarios I can relate to. The horror women, and specifically black and brown women, experience is different then the current stories on screen. Our demons and monsters look different.

I opened the article with a description of Snapshot Stalker, entertwine’s 2022 48-Hour Horror Film Winner. The film centers around a young Black woman who is being stalked by a white man who won’t leave, even in death. This short film with its quiet nuanced fear: of women being constantly stalked, about aggressive men who demand their way, and the unease you feel even in the safety of your own home. In this scenario, I could see myself. Contemplating what I would do in her moments. And knowing that I could do very little that was different. But, thankfully it’s just a movie, one I can actually train my senses on.

Over the last few years, entertwine has been working on bolstering the visibility of Black and Brown women in horror by hosting their 48-Hour Horror Film Festival for women of color. The festival encourages the participation of women and people of color in-front and behind the scenes as narrative architects.

However, this year we paused. Due to the strike we did not hold the 48-Hour Horror Film Festival this year. The entertwine team felt strongly about holding the picket line and respecting the negotiations between the WGA, SAG-AFTRA, and AMPTP.

“It’s more critical for us to allocate our resources to advocating for artists’ rights in the present and future to ensure that writers and actors don’t have to be starving artists.” — Founder, Kyiana Williams.

entertwine’s 48 Hour Horror Film Festival for women of color will return in late summer of 2024.

--

--