Women have been pushing to upend the gender bias still looming over Hollywood for what feels like forever, and in recent years, that cry has loudened. Now, the CW is getting in the ring. According to Deadline, the network is developing Black Rose Anthology, a horror series written and directly entirely by women, and hailing, in part, from Drew Barrymore.
The news comes at an especially pertinent time: Earlier this week, Warner Bros. announced that a female-centric remake of Lord of the Lies was in the pipeline, but seemingly from a problematic source. The film is being helmed by two men — Scott McGehee and David Siegel — which inherently strips away the female perspective it seeks to broaden, raises concerns about the female archetypes it could fall back on, and completely bypasses the male toxicity that underscored William Golding's novel. (By the author's own admission, Lord of the Flies is a uniquely male story).
Black Rose appears to be decidedly the opposite. It's wholly original, current, and seeks to explore its narratives exclusively from the female viewpoint — something it can feasibly do, since women are the ones creating it. Per Deadline, the series will explore some of humanity's deepest fears, including guilt, jealousy, repression, paranoia, insanity, sexual obsession, and survival through a modern and distinctly feminine lens.
It also adds to the ongoing chorus of women changing the scope of horror — a genre that has often taken pleasure in victimizing women. As Beth Younger wrote for Salon, sexually active women in horror movies tend to die first as punishment for sexual transgression, a trend seen in numerous films like Halloween, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. But, as Younger points out, that narrative has slowly begun to shift. It Follows includes a strong, female lead who fights back against her attacker and ultimately prevails, while Robert Eggers' The Witch presents a nuanced examination of the dangers of being a woman in a culture controlled by men.
The point to be made here, then, is that it's not enough to simply put women in the lead and call it feminism; you also have to give them an authentic voice. Luckily, Black Rose Anthology sounds like it will do both.