Chattanooga Film Festival: Three Ways to Dine Well (2022)

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/ThirstbeDevilBlaculaBlood DinerCat GirlChopping MallThe LureIn My SkinDark WatersDead AliveGinger SnapsRawHair WolfHappy Birthday to MeHausuHaxanHis House, Home Sweet HomeA Tale of Two SistersJennifer’s BodyJungle TrapThe Happiness of the KatakurisKuronekoKwaidanWolf Devil Woman, Les DiaboliquesEyes Without a FaceMeshes of the AfternoonMessiah of EvilMirror MirrorDearest SisterAuditionOffice KillerPeeping TomPersonaPet SemataryRavenousRosemary’s BabySaint MaudSavita Damodar ParanjpeSe7enSightseersSleepaway CampSuicide by SunlightSuspiriaTESTEmentThe BirdsThe Boogeyman, “The Box” chapter in XXThe Company of Wolves, The Evil Dead, The FacultyThe FogThe HowlingThe ItchingThe LighthouseThe Lost BoysThe Mafu CageThe NightThe People Under the Stairs, The ShiningThe Spiral StaircaseThe Texas Chainsaw MassacreThe Thirteenth GuestThe Undying MonsterThe Vampire’s GhostThe Velvet VampireTower of TerrorUsThe White ReindeerVampyrWolf’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.

You can watch the films of the Chattanooga Film Festiva for half price now until Wednesday. Get your badge right here

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