Women in Horror Guest Post: Tom Olbert

Because I’m an equal opportunist, I wanted to open the floor up to any guy who felt cool about talking about the female presence in horror. Kicking off a few days of some great excerpts and an interview is fellow Mocha Memoirs Press author Tom Olbert with his opinions!


As a horror writer of the “gentleman persuasion…”

 My favorite horror film franchise was the Alien series starring Sigourney Weaver.  The first two films were my favorite.  Ridley Scott (a great atmospheric artist sorely missed) and James Cameron, a master of dark, moody big-scale action, had very different styles, but each film had its own primal appeal.
Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley remains my favorite female horror/action character.  (With Sarah Connor a close second.)
The Alien franchise really broke the genre rules by introducing female-centered horror.  The best horror is the primal, visceral kind, and that is best embodied by a strong, intelligent woman, terrified and fighting for her life alone in the dark, her wits and animal instincts at once allied and in conflict.  Weaver brought Scott’s images beautifully to life in close-ups of her sweaty face as she clung to a wall in a dark corridor, an alien monster lurking around the next corner.  And, in close-ups of her breath fogging an oxygen mask as she tries to stay sane, softly singing Lucky Star and fighting to focus against her mounting terror, her sapient reason fighting her instinct to flee as the alien predator comes up behind her.
In Cameron’s more extroverted horror classic Aliens, Ripley returns as a reluctant warrior who has to conquer her inner demons by facing her greatest fear on its home ground.  She finds a higher cause in defending an adopted daughter with the primal ferocity of a lioness defending her cub.
Female horror heroines of that calibre are, alas, few and far between.
And now, let me plug my own female-centered horror story:
“Desert Flower” by Tom Olbert
Published by Eternal Press

A lost dream, a desperate hope…lost innocence, and a horror black as night.

A young girl’s innocence is ripped from her when she is turned against her will into a vampire. Hunted and alone, Fleurette longs for escape from her hellish existence of eternal night, blood-letting and carnage.

In war-torn Afghanistan, another young girl, Ruhee has been cast into another kind of dark bondage as a child bride. Raped, tormented and suffering, she longs for escape. These two lost souls find a strange but pure form of sisterly love together as they survive side-by-side in a world gone mad. Ruhee must grow up amid war and turmoil.

As if American predator drones and the deadly raids of the Taliban were not bad enough, she must keep her “sister”‘s dark secret, while merciless vampire hunters lurk in the shadows.

When Ruhee comes of age and finds an unlikely but pure love with a brave but deeply troubled young Taliban soldier named Batal, Ruhee finds herself trapped between light and darkness. Her heart is torn in two, and she must make an impossible choice between love and immortality, as her young life teeters on the brink of hell.


 She shuddered to her bones as they drew near.

“It’s close,” one said in an English accent.  “Keep your eyes open!”

Feeling sure they would find her soon, she took the only chance she could, as Marcel had taught her.  Use what you have, he’d said.  You have your sweet innocence, mon petit.  That is your most potent weapon.  “Monsieur,” she called out weakly, crawling from hiding, reaching out a hand to the big man in the dark leather coat standing over her, the moonlight glinting off his silver crucifix.  “Si voux plais…please…I am so hungry.  A little money…”

“Bugger off, you stinking little urchin,” he grumbled in disgust, turning away from the alleyway and starting down the street.  Seeing her chance, she slipped up behind him and slashed his arm with her talons.  He yelled in pain as the cross clattered to the cobblestones, his blood spurting over it.  Fleurette leapt on his back and plunged her fangs deep into his jugular, tapping the flow of warm, sweet blood.  It was nourishing elixir filling her veins, her cold heart starting to pump as her eyes clouded over in a sickly crimson fog.  The man thrashed and struggled to no avail, his body finally falling limp in her grasp as he slumped to the pavement, a last few twitching motions in his hands as he died.

“It’s over there!” another hunter yelled, across the street.  “It’s killed Ron!  Get it!”  Her strength returning, she slipped into wolf shape, bounding down the alleyway, turning to mist even as a silver-tipped arrow shattered against the wall behind her.  Resuming bat shape, she spread herself on the night air as she made for the harbor.  A large freighter bound for Asia loomed below, its hold open and dark.  She swooped down towards it, settling again into mist to avoid the notice of night watchmen who only shuddered, as though feeling a cold, icy touch of wind nearby.

Slipping into the hold, she resumed human shape and crouched in the darkness, waiting.  She sighed, holding her sides.  With the fresh infusion of blood she’d just taken, her wounds were healing quickly.  She slumped her head back against the cold metal bulkhead as her eyes swept the dark, shadowed interior of the hold.  A new start, she thought.  She was trying to find some hope in this endless flight, this eternal running.

She felt so alone.

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