Steven graduated Cum Laude from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communications, focusing on film studies, journalism and theatre arts. Dubbed a "prolific" writer by Hollywood icon Kenneth Johnson (The Incredible Hulk, V, The Bionic Woman, Alien Nation), Steven has been honored by the Arkansas College Media Association for his story writing prowess. He has also received recognition for his dramatic writing from the Eerie, Shriekfest and Screamfest horror film festivals. Publications include: Carroll County News, Saline Courier, Forum, Echo and Moroch.
February marks the ninth anniversary, and the beginning of year 10 for Women in Horror Month (WiHM). The purpose of #WiHM is to salute the fantastic contributions of women in all realms of horror whose work still finds itself marginalized. Such an example of belittlement happened all too recently when Blumhouse's CEO, founder and producer Jason Blum made the following statement last October: "There are not a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror."
It is hard to believe such an attitude still exists in 2019, but unfortunately a bias toward female artisans of scary movies still haunts modern times. Surely, enough is enough. #WiHM is well-known for its tireless efforts spotlighting women in horror, and this 28-day celebration will focus on film and television. As such, each day this month will celebrate a different woman whose contributions have left an irrevocable mark on the horror genre.
Exceptions must be made otherwise we rot away in the staunch boundaries of doldrums where creativity and imagination are sadly evicted. Open-mindedness is the key. Indeed, even though The Wizard of Oz (1939) is by all scholarly and critical accounts a family-friendly jaunt, the film's darker imagery (particularly that of those flying monkeys) certainly caused the occasional nightmare for young children. Dare it be whispered, they were wicked? But it was their green-hued master who truly scared audiences. Margaret Hamilton is a horror icon, with her emerald makeup/costume, and eighty years later she is the preeminent example of what an evil witch should look like.
Can you imagine the Wicked Witch of the West teaching kids? Well, Hamilton's first job was that of a kindergarten instructor. Hamilton's acting career on the Silver Screen began with an uncredited role as an assistant matron in Zoo in Budapest (1933). Hollywood was interested in Hamilton, because of her stage work in Another Language, and in 1933 she performed in the film version of the project. But it was her journey to Oz six years later that catapulted Hamilton to stardom.
Margaret Hamilton's role might have easily fallen to another actress, because of the near fatal accident she endured on the set of The Wizard of Oz. In December of 1938, Hamilton was burned while making her smokey, orange-colored exit from Munchkinland. The special effects faux pas happened when Hamilton stepped on the trap door hidden under all that billowing smoke, and a real fire was even sparked intentionally. However, the flames were timed too early during one take which unexpectedly caught Hamilton off guard and her costume on fire. Hamilton missed a month of the shooting schedule and very nearly quit the production.
"I won't sue, because I know how this business works," Hamilton said of the incident. "And I would never work again. I will return to work on one condition - no more fire work!"
Hamilton wasn't a flash in the pan as she worked steadily for nearly fifty years. Her last performance was in the television movie Pardon Me for Living (1982). In the later years of her career, Hamilton made guest appearances on many T.V. shows including Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (video below). During this same time, the 74-year-old Hamilton appeared on a now (assumed) lost episode of Sesame Street as her iconic character. However, the episode was banned after its one and only airing. The reason: kids were traumatized by the Wicked Witch.
In the end, as all fans now know, the Wicked Witch and Margaret Hamilton became synonymous. Hamilton enjoyed her time with the fans, too, as she even invited penpals to visit her Manhattan apartment in New York City later in her life. And you could always tell a Margaret Hamilton autograph. She became known for signing her signature as simply WWW (Wicked Witch of the West).
Hamilton made legitimate appearances in the horror genre, too. Most notably, she was the first actress to portray Grandmama aka Granny Frump (1964-1966) on The Addams Family television show. Hamilton also starred as Elaine Zacharides in William Castle's 13 Ghosts (1960).
Margaret Hamilton passed away in her sleep on May 16, 1985 at the age of 82 from a heart attack. Despite a prolific career, with close to 130 film credits alone, Hamilton will always be beloved for the iconic role of the Wicked Witch by so many people around the world. However, Hamilton's adoration of children, animals and her fans is proof positive this actress was anything but wicked.