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.
Her name is Lanchester, not Lancaster.
A native of Lewisham in southern London, Elsa Sullivan Lanchester was a talented actress whose stardom exploded with her role as The Monster's (Boris Karloff) love interest in Bride of Frankenstein (1935). She also pulled double duty as Mary Shelley (author of the 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus) in the film's opening sequence. Prior to her career as a thespian, in her childhood, Lanchester studied dance with the famous Isadora Duncan.
Unlike Margaret Sullivan, who relished portraying the iconic Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz (1939), Lanchester wasn't particularly warm about having played the part of The Bride.
"It annoys me when mothers drag the poor dears to me and demand the children say something to Frankenstein's bride," Lanchester said. "Can you imagine an actress being overexposed by a picture she made 40 years ago?"
Despite her love/hate relationship with the part, Lanchester will forever be linked to the film. Lanchester's first role was in what would today be considered an Indie flick titled The Scarlet Woman: An Ecclesiastical Melodrama (1925) which she made with a friend. Lanchester's first professional movie role came in 1927's One of the Best. Lanchester's career spanned 55 years, and her last starring role was as Sophie in Die Laughing (1980).
Lanchester was married to Hollywood actor Charles Laughton. The pair starred together in 10 films including the immensely popular Witness for the Prosecution (1957) starring A-Lister and matinee idol Tyrone Power. Laughton and Lanchester shared an open marriage which lasted from 1929 until Laughton's death in 1962.
"We both needed other company," Lanchester said of her and Laughton's other lovers. "I met his young men, and I had a young man around and Charles didn't even argue."
Lanchester performed in over 100 roles between her television, stage and movie careers. Some of those standout motion pictures include The Razor's Edge (1946), The Bishop's Wife (1947) and Mary Poppins (1964). With regard to other horror appearances, in addition to Bride of Frankenstein, Lanchester appeared in director Daniel Mann's 1971 film Willard and Georg Fenday's Terror in the Wax Museum (1973).
She also guest starred in episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1964) and Night Gallery (1972). Elsa Lanchester passed away the day after Christmas in 1986 of pneumonia at the age of 84. Lanchester's legacy lives on in countless miles of classic celluloid, but she'll forever be remembered in Jack Pierce's makeup as The Bride.