Exciting news coming out of the horror
landscape, a genre we don’t get to highlight enough on Shadow and Act.
Seven African-American female writers and
directors (so, 14 total) have joined forces to create the horror anthology film
Some of the names are quite well known to
our readers, including authors Tananarive Due (“My Soul to Keep”) and Valjeanne
Jeffers (“Immortal” series), filmmaker Tiffany D. Jackson (horror short “The
Field Trip”), and most notably actress/director Rae Dawn Chong (“The Color Purple”, “The Visit,” “Beat Street”). Yet all of the women involved are significant artists, extending outside
of film into the subset of horror and all-around speculative fiction.
L.C. Cruell, creator and co-Executive
Producer of “7 Magpies,” is a longtime writer/director who felt inspired to
break the monolithic stereotypes of Black people not being involved in horror,
especially Black women. “It’s not a question of not existing…it’s a question of not
being believed in, backed, funded, hired, given a seat at the table,” she remarks.
Cruell continues that, “As hot as horror anthologies are right now (“The ABCs
of Death” 1&2, the “V/H/S” series and the upcoming “Tales of
Halloween,” “Holidays”, etc.), not one black woman has been included in a
single one, not even the all female one (“XX” – slated for a 2016 release).”
advice from noted filmmaker & cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, Cruell
crafted “7 Magpies” out of the classic superstition of the titular bird as an
ill omen, one in which the number of magpies one sees determined if one will
have bad luck or not. The film’s name and plot, straight out of the creepy nursery
rhyme, while possessing multiple versions,
according to Cruell represent, “a form of oral storytelling key to many
cultures of color – and the perfect framework for the first all
African-American female horror anthology feature.”
The other writers for the film include
Linda D. Addison (“How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend”), Crystal Connor (“The Darkness”), Eden
Royce (“Open All Hours”, Sumiko Saulson (“Happiness and Other Diseases”), and
Paula Ashe (“The Mother of All Monsters”); the directors, in addition to Chong,
Jackson, and Cruell, also include R. Shanea Williams (“Contamination”), Nicole
Renee Simmons, Lary Love Dolley (“Ectoplasm”), and Meosha Bean (“The Dark
“7 Magpies” is
co-executive produced by Stacy Pippi Hammon.
Aiming for “7
Magpies” to transcend all previous horror anthologies, Cruell and her writers
and directors want the film to be the most haunting horror film audiences will
see for some time. With the range
of talent attached and devoted to making this happen, this can assuredly
happen. Still in pre-production,
you can follow the “7 Magpies” team on Facebook.com/7MagpiesMovie and
Twitter at @the7Magpies.
Stay tuned to S&A for further developments on this film project.
Curtis Caesar John is a longtime contributor
to Shadow And Act for which he created the regular feature ‘This Week in Black
Television.’ Currently the Film
Editor for Bold As Love Magazine, he also covers film and culture for Limité
Magazine and is the Film Programmer for mobile multicultural movie & music
app Project Catalyst. Follow him on Twitter at @MediaManWatch.