Portland-Based Writer-Director Lori Bowen Interview [Women in Horror Month 2024]

Portland-based writer-director Lori Bowen:

To start, please introduce yourself:
My name is Lori Bowen and I’m a writer-director living in Portland, Oregon. My solo horror and horror-adjacent work is under the shingle Kimyoo Films, and my work with my badass creative partner is under Double Exposure Entertainment which is focused on European art house style dark dramas. 

Things are slowly ramping back up after covid (which is so weird to say since we’re  technically still in the pandemic…) and life stuff rocked my world. 

What is horror to you, what makes a work of art one in the horror genre?
Horror in media is an exploration of the innate darkness of the human condition. It’s shining a flashlight into the void, catching its eyeshine, and not backing down when it tries to take over. This potentially casts a pretty wide umbrella over the arts in labeling what’s horror and what’s not, but if Friedkin can argue that The Exorcist isn’t (or wasn’t intended to be) a horror film, one can argue the admittedly obvious counterpoint that it is.  

What made you want to work in horror?
This is kind of a two-fold answer for me. When I was six years old, I saw the last act of the movie Cujo and it freaked me out (of course). My mom didn’t brush it off by simply telling me that it was fake, she showed me by telling me, to the best of her knowledge, about people like Tom Savini and Rob Bottin, and how people are hired to make these scary things on purpose. That was in the back of my head when I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street at the age of 8 while I was dealing with my own night terrors and how the character of Nancy Thompson helped me overcome my fear and end the nightmares. I knew that the horror genre was something special. And, like Jamie Lee Curtis once said, “Horror lets us confront what we can’t control.” 

Where do you get your inspiration?
Sometimes, it’s as simple as “I’d like to try telling my version of this trope (such as a haunted house, vampires, zombies, or whatever).” Other times, I look at what’s going on around me, in my head, or in the world and think about how to process those events or worries into something meaningful, certainly to myself and I hope to others.  

In terms of mood-setting for my work, I rely on the films that have moved me in some way. I can pull different elements from both versions of Suspiria, for example, that would lend themselves to something I’m working to convey. 

In terms of favourite films, well, that runs the gamut from Everything Everywhere All At Once to A Nightmare on Elm Street to Sorority Babes at the Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama. It would be a long and probably confusing list given the genres I tend to work in. 

What would you like your legacy to be in the genre (or elsewhere)?
To leave the world better than I found it. 

What is Women in Horror Month to you and why is it still important this many years later?
While obviously it’s both good and wise to celebrate beneficial humanity and diversity year-round, I find that specific times dedicated to something like Black History Month, Pride, or Women in Horror Month allows us to shed a brighter light on not just the present and the past, but also the future and the struggles we all still face. We cannot know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been. This is as true of human history as it is of cinematic history.  

Who are some of the Women in Horror who you look up to and who do you want to bring attention to in your field or others?
This is such a hard question because I’ll inevitably forget some names and then twist myself into anxious knots about it, and there are so, so many women working hard in the arts, but naming names is important, so here are a few off the top of my head: Heather Langenkamp, Karen Lam, Jennifer Lynch, Brinke Stevens, Linnea Quigley, Tananarive Due, Shirley Jackson, Nadine L’Esperance, Eryn Krueger Mekash, Rose Glass, Charlotte Colbert, Clare Denis, Nia DaCosta, Gigi Saul Guerrero. 

What are you currently working on that you can tell us about?  
The deaths of my parents in 2020 and 2021, one of whom I took care of for 32 years, really knocked me for a loop for a while and so I’ve spent the last few years focusing on the day job that pays my bills and my mental health. That being said, my brain feels better when I write, so I’m slowly getting back into writing consistently, wrapping up a long gestating and extremely personal script for future production and developing two new screenplays. I also do a bit of script consulting to help other writers see another side to their work that they can explore, which in turn helps me hone the questions I ask myself while creating and makes me a better writer.  

My socials are pretty mundane, nerdy, and hella goofy, mainly observations of the world I inhabit, so if you’re looking for blood and guts or whatever, you’ll probably be disappointed. I also may or may not respond to friend requests on the socials. 

Website: www.kimyoofilms.com, www.doubleexposureentertainment.com 
Instagram: @Lori.Bowen1428
Facebook: Kimyoo.Films