A group of 14 female African-American directors and screenwriters have assembled for a new anthology horror film called 7 Magpies, including actress and filmmaker Rae Dawn Chong. Other talent includes authors Tananarive Due (My Soul to Keep) and Valjeanne Jeffers (the Immortal series), filmmaker Tiffany D. Jackson (the horror short The Field Trip) and 7 Magpies creator and co-executive producer L.C. Cruell.
Cruell told the Indiewire movie blog Shadow and Act that she was inspired to create 7 Magpies by the lack of representation of not only black people in horror and genre fiction and films, but specifically black women, who are oftentimes not represented at all beyond the most token roles.
“It’s not a question of not existing,” Cruell explains, “it’s a question of not being believed in, backed, funded, hired, given a seat at the table.”
Cruell, who will also direct one of the 7 Magpies segments, points out, “As hot as horror anthologies are right now [The ABCs of Death 1 & 2, the V/H/S series, etc.], not one black woman has been included in a single one, not even the all-female one (XX, which is expected in 2016].”
Cruell says she was inspired by director and cinematographer Ernest Dickerson (no stranger to horror anthologies himself, having worked on the 1980s horror TV series Tales From the Darkside and directed the Tales from the Crypt spinoff feature film Demon Knight), and based 7 Magpies on the well-trodden superstition of the bird as an evil omen, in which the number of birds a person sees determines whether their luck will be good or bad.
Other directors lined up for 7 Magpies, in addition to Chong, Jackson and Cruell, include R. Shanea Williams (Contamination), Nicole Renee Simmons, Lary Love Dolley (Ectoplasm), and Meosha Bean (The Dark Rises), while the writers involved 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).
We’ll definitely bring you more news on 7 Magpies as the details become available.