Filmmaker and Stand-Up Comedian Kayla Hardy Interview [Women in Horror Month 2024]

FIlmmaker and stand-up comedian Kayla Hardy:

To start, please introduce yourself:   
Hello I am Kayla Hardy, an LA native who is trying to bring snarky cynicism to the stand-up comedy scene, while still pursuing my love of filmmaking. 

What is horror to you, what makes a work of art one in the horror genre?  
Horror gives us an opportunity to confront our deepest fears. The best horror films transform our emotional and psychological anxieties into tangible, yet terrifying, physical or supernatural figures. I am most impressed when the plot does not rely on characters making bad decisions.  

What made you want to work in horror?  
Honestly, because it became so apparent to me early on that horror was the poster genre for “the male gaze.” I wanted to see more films that captured fear from a female perspective, especially since women are often victims of violence. When I watch slasher movies I’m not thinking “oh my god wouldn’t it be crazy if that happened.” I’m thinking “this has definitely happened, and I could be next.” I also got tired of seeing objectified women die naked in horror movies. I just kept thinking: someone has to address this hahaha.   

Where do you get your inspiration?  
As far as stories go, I get inspired by my nightmares. I have so many thoughts racing through my mind and my nervous system is often in fight or flight mode that I think my dreams can’t even process it all. It has forced me to try and make sense of the themes in my life that could be contributing to my restlessness. Psychological thrillers are big inspirations to me because I think they dive deep into the human condition which is more relatable. The big scary monster isn’t so scary when you know they aren’t real, but if the reason the monster is there in the first place is because the military went too far with their weaponry… then you have a bigger issue to face.   

What would you like your legacy to be in the genre (or elsewhere)?  
I always strive to be different, yet relatable. When it comes to my writing, I want people to say “that’s how I have always felt, but I never thought to express it that way” or “I was too afraid to say anything, but I am glad someone else did.” I want to be an outlet for the other “odd girls” or misfits out there.   

What is Women in Horror Month to you and why is it still important this many years later?  
It is the perfect opportunity for women to express their feminism. To continue to bring awareness to women’s issues and have a platform for women’s voices in a genre that is so male dominated. Horror can take so many shapes and forms which is beneficial to influencing and relating to so many people. The most devoted fans I have ever met are horror fans. So, I cannot think of a better place for women to get creative and find success. After all these years we are still seeing stories told from a man’s fears, think of all the new content waiting for us when more women start telling their horror stories.   

What are you currently working on that you can tell us about?  
I just finished filming a short horror comedy titled Corpse Shamed that I wrote and produced. It is about an insecure influencer, facing imminent death at the hands of a slasher, who fights not for her life but for her vanity, all to avoid dying in the nude. 

Hopefully it will be available to watch some time in the next few months. Please follow me on Instagram @Kayla.is.bitter for updates. I also perform stand-up comedy and am producing my own show starting March 30th called “LA vs. Transplants” where LA natives and Transplant comedians face off on who knows LA more. All my upcoming show dates will be promoted on my IG as well.