Extreme horror is a divisive subgenre usually suited for more seasoned horror audiences and delivers fans buckets of blood and violence. With FUKT, a new anthology that premiered at Nightmares Film Festival this year, the bloodshed is brought on by a new set of storytellers focusing on extreme horrors seen through the female perspective. Spearheaded by filmmaker/programmer/FX artist Devotion’s Jessie Seitz (our interview), FUKT aims to showcase the talents of several ladies as they take on toxic friendships, bullies, predatory males, and more.
This is the first half of our interviews with the filmmakers of FUKT. Here, Dixie Gers (Piggy, Crazy Fat Ethel), Ashley Crewl, and Megan Beck discuss women and extreme horror, premiering at Nightmares, and how they got involved with FUKT.
PopHorror: First of all, congratulations to every one of you for contributing to a female-focused extreme horror anthology. How did FUKT come to fruition, and how were each of you approached for this project?
Megan Beck: Mine is a little different than how I assume everyone else was. I was originally approached by [Jessie’s husband] Marcus Koch to make a short for his Symbolicus series. My symbol was the heptagram. I made La Sirène for that. After I had submitted it, Jessie approached me and thought it would fit really well with the other shorts in FUKT, so she asked if I would like to be part of it.
Dixie Gers: FUKT is the baby of Jessie Seitz. She had just finished up her amazing documentary, Beyond Horror, which dives into the world of extreme horror and gets into all the details of the films and what makes people enjoy them. One of the things she touched upon was the misconception that women aren’t into extreme horror. So that was how FUKT was born, and she brought together all of us. I had talked to her about the project and how great I thought it was. I said I wanted in and she gave me a shot to create something which I am thankful for.
Ashley Crewl: Jessie had actually messaged me on Facebook and asked if I would be interested in working on the project since she is well aware of my love for extreme cinema. She told me it was all female directors. You can imagine my excitement since this opportunity was absolutely huge to me! I’ve been doing a lot of special effects on independent horror films and even a bit of acting, but getting to direct and have my own idea come to life for something like this was pretty unreal!
PopHorror: Each segment of FUKT highlights horrors experienced by countless women. How did everyone nail down their segment and their theme? What were you each adamant on delivering for this?
Ashley Crewl: Considering it was an all female directed anthology for extreme cinema, I wanted to make sure I made my segment, SCREAM, was a win for the ladies! Without going into too much detail, we see plenty of men taking control and instilling fear in women in the extreme cinema scene. I wanted to show everyone we can cause some real damage as well! Sure, we do have films where women take control, but they’re definitely outnumbered by the men.
Megan Beck: I was struggling with an idea. I’d never directed anything before, and I wasn’t drawing a blank. My fiancé just started rattling off random words. At some point, he said, “Mermaid,” and my wheels started turning. I tried to think how I could make a creepy mermaid film, and the story was born.
Dixie Gers: I wanted to make sure I showcased a female doing the torturing. I still feel like we don’t see females enough doing that. I think everyone can relate to having a shitty best friend at one point in their lives that are just out for themselves and constantly degrades you for their benefit to keep you down. For my segment, we kind of worked backward in the writing process. Fritz Dorton who helped me write and produce the film, helped create the kills basically. We knew what kind of gore we wanted to create and just worked from there creating the story together. I wanted to make sure I had that old school vibe of old extreme films to where it’s rough but not perfect.
PopHorror: Extreme horror is sometimes mistaken for a subgenre only enjoyed by men. Thankfully, you are all here to help denounce this misconception. What does it mean for you to be a part of this anthology?
Megan Beck: I’m so very honored to be able to be a part of such a unique project. Especially as a first time director! I loved being included!
Dixie Gers: It’s truly an honor to be part of it. I love to prove people wrong! (laughs) I hope it inspires more conversations, encourages more women to come into the genre and be open with it, and even take part in creating something.
Ashley Crewl: Considering I have been an extreme horror cinema FANATIC since a pretty young age, I am over the moon with this opportunity! Especially because it is the first of its kind! I’ve met so many cool women in the extreme cinema groups over the past few years when I really didn’t get to connect with my friends at home over the genre. To get to do this AND have my friends be involved in my segment really meant a lot to me. They don’t enjoy watching these films, but they definitely enjoyed being a part of it.
PopHorror: FUKT not only had its world premiere at one of the most revered genre film festivals in North America, but it was also nominated for Best Horror Feature at Nightmares Film Festival. What were all of your initial reactions to this?
Ashley Crewl: I was definitely shocked and so excited to tell my husband, cast, and crew! They worked hard and had my back the entire time I worked on this project despite filming during a pandemic, so it was definitely exciting to share this moment with them. I never thought I would get to be a part of a midnight movie showing, let alone get a nomination!
Dixie Gers: I was wowed by it. Nightmares is THE horror film festival. To not only have our film screened but nominated was a huge honor.
Megan Beck: I was so excited to learn about the premiere! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about something I worked on being seen at such a fantastic fest! I was so proud of everyone involved and eventually convinced myself to be proud and let the nerves subside.
PopHorror: I am mighty curious to ask each one of you this question – if you could program a double feature at any venue in the world, what two films make your bill and where are they playing at?
Dixie Gers: I would choose the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I love the outdoors and cemeteries, so it’s a perfect fit. I would screen May and The Loved Ones. I think they would be the perfect combo together.
Megan Beck: Motel Hell is my very favorite followed closely by the original Candyman, so I would probably do a double feature of those. If I was doing a double feature that explains my brain, it would be Motel Hell and The Jerk. As far as the venue, I would probably say at the local drive-in. I love the drive-in and being able to curate my own night would be a dream! The Aut-O-Rama in North Ridgeville, Ohio, is a special place to me. I even got engaged there!
Ashley Crewl: To make sure everyone goes home with a bad taste in their mouths, I would love to start off my double feature with one of my favorite date night movies, K?ji Shiraishi’s 2009 film, Grotesque, and follow it up with the sexy classic, Jörg Buttgereit’s 1987 film, Nekromantik. Because who wouldn’t want to top off the night with a happy ending? I’d show them at the Elgin Theater—now known as the Joyce Theater—in NYC to experience the original midnight movie experience.
We would like to thank Dixie, Megan, and Ashley for their time! FUKT will be in Iowa for a late shift at the Grindhouse screening on December 8, 2021. Distribution details are to be announced soon.