This past Friday, Sept. 17, the Bank of America Theater in the National Hispanic Cultural Center welcomed three experienced members of the film industry to speak about their roles as women in horror films as part of this year’s Albuquerque Film and Music Experience conference.

This year, AFMX is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a major film festival in New Mexico by holding in-person and virtual events for everyone to enjoy, including a conversation with Dee Wallace, Deborah Voorhees and Monique Candelaria, entitled “Fearsome Femmes of Horror.”

For Wallace, (“Mary” in E.T. and “Donna” in Cujo), what she sells as an actress is horror, and she said she will never leave the genre. Horror also has an emotional resonance beyond that of other genres, according to Wallace.



“When we watch a really great horror film, it’s kinda like having really good sex,” Wallace said.

Candelaria, who is Native American and identifies as Two Spirit, spoke about her experience in the horror film “Banshee Chapter,” playing Patient 14, a role originally intended for a white, blue-eyed, blond-haired young girl. They highlighted the importance of breaking racial and gendered boundaries in the film industry.

All actors have the ability to play a role, no matter who they are. As long as the actor is willing to be an active player, magic will happen as they continue down their chosen path, according to Candelaria.

“No one can be you better than you. You are perfect,” Candelaria said.

Voorhees, Wallace and Candelaria thanked the women that came before them who endured prejudice and harassment in their careers for paving the way for all the non-male actors and directors to come.

There is still some growth and development that the film industry needs to go through, according to Voorhees, a longtime director, producer, writer, editor and owner of her own production company, Voorhees Films.

“Jump off the cliff. Don’t ask the boys for a job. Make your job, make it happen and then give the boys a job,” Voorhees said.

This discussion of safety led to discussions of stunt people breaking their legs, a blank being fired as a joke and cinematographers dying on two separate occasions. No perfect shot is worth people’s lives and safety, according to these speakers.

“Most directors will push you as far as you feel guilty enough to go,” said Wallace.

The panel also discussed why audiences continue to love horror. For these three, it would be a mistake to not recognize that the monsters in horror are a part of all of us.

Katrina Estrada is the multimedia editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at multimedia@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @Katrina_est4