Written, produced and directed by Alison Peirse, an Associate Professor of Film at the University of Leeds who “is drawn to the untold stories of women working in film, both in front of and behind the camera,” Three Ways to Dine Well is the kind of horror documentary we need more of. It’s not concerned with celebrities telling us things like, “Well, that was the best sequel” and instead getting at the bloody heart, brains and soul of those behind the lens and on the screen with a meal before them.
Her director’s statement says “I had three aims for this film. First, I wanted the audience to discover that women worked in major creative roles on horror classics including The Shining, The Evil Dead and Rosemary’s Baby. Second, I wanted to illuminate little known horror films helmed by women, such as Nettie Peña’s Home Sweet Home, Tracey Moffatt’s Bedevil and Jackie Kong’s Blood Diner. Third, I wanted to showcase the work of the women filmmakers who are now — finally — being written about in horror scholarship: Daria Nicolodi, Mary Lambert, Karen Arthur, Stephanie Rothman (and many more).”
The inspiration behind this documentary came from a lecture that Virginia Woolf gave at Cambridge University on the subject of women and fiction and the author’s summation that “a good dinner is of great importance to good talk. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
By exploring food causing trauma, women eating men and dining table horror scenes in more than seventy female-made horror films, this movie shows the horrific side of mastication alongside the fact that women have been represented behind the sinister lens of horror and it’s time more people knew that.
The films covered in this short documentary are:
Bakjwi/Thirst, beDevil, Blacula, Blood Diner, Cat Girl, Chopping Mall, The Lure, In My Skin, Dark Waters, Dead Alive, Ginger Snaps, Raw, Hair Wolf, Happy Birthday to Me, Hausu, Haxan, His House, Home Sweet Home, A Tale of Two Sisters, Jennifer’s Body, Jungle Trap, The Happiness of the Katakuris, Kuroneko, Kwaidan, Wolf Devil Woman, Les Diaboliques, Eyes Without a Face, Meshes of the Afternoon, Messiah of Evil, Mirror Mirror, Dearest Sister, Audition, Office Killer, Peeping Tom, Persona, Pet Sematary, Ravenous, Rosemary’s Baby, Saint Maud, Savita Damodar Paranjpe, Se7en, Sightseers, Sleepaway Camp, Suicide by Sunlight, Suspiria, TESTEment, The Birds, The Boogeyman, “The Box” chapter in XX, The Company of Wolves, The Evil Dead, The Faculty, The Fog, The Howling, The Itching, The Lighthouse, The Lost Boys, The Mafu Cage, The Night, The People Under the Stairs, The Shining, The Spiral Staircase, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Thirteenth Guest, The Undying Monster, The Vampire’s Ghost, The Velvet Vampire, Tower of Terror, Us, The White Reindeer, Vampyr, Wolf’s Hole and Weird Woman.
You can check out all of the films on this list on the Letterboxd list I made to track them, as this movie did what all great film documentaries should: make me watch more movies.
Want to learn more about Alison Peirse? Visit her official site.
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