Brinke Stevens is a hero. Many horror fans feel that way about her. Whether it’s because she’s a horror icon, having appeared in over 200 films, the majority of them genre titles, or because she’s a visible part of horror convention culture, appearing in-person at events around the world and directly connecting, personally, with her fans, she’s one of the most recognizable people in modern horror film culture. But to Etheria, the film festival I co-founded with Stacy Hammon in 2013, there is another reason we want to recognize Brinke Stevens officially: she’s a brilliant and talented screenwriter and director on top of her acting and cultural accomplishments. Etheria exists to showcase women creators of genre films, so naturally, Stevens is someone we’ve wanted to honor for a while.

The Etheria Inspiration Award recognizes awesome people who have made careers out of making genre movies and thus inspired new women to make genre films of their own. We’ve given the award to some fantastic people: Gale Anne Hurd (producer of Terminator and The Walking Dead), Stephanie Rothman (director of The Velvet Vampire and the first woman hired to direct horror by Roger Corman in 1966), and Gigi Saul Guerrero (we showed her first short horror film, Dead Crossing, in 2011, and by 2022 she’d evolved into a professional, full-time director with several Blumhouse films under her belt). There are so many people that deserve recognition for how awesome they are, and we’re excited that we have a chance to show Brinke Stevens how much she matters to horror fans and filmmakers everywhere.

brinke stevens the slumber party massacre

Stevens was one of the first people I met “in horror.” In 2004, I met her as a fan at a convention in California. She was soon someone I called a friend, and I was in awe that someone so famous and cool would talk to me. She was kind and supportive of my desire to be a part of the horror world, even though I am not sure I offered much to it then. Over the years, Stevens would appear in a few films I had the honor of being in, and once, in 2006, we were in the same movie and had scenes together! I am a terrible actress, so that didn’t last long, but having been in the same scene with her was incredible. It may sound silly to regular normies but to a horror fan? It’s unthinkably awesome. If I make it to eighty, I will be speaking about it as if I were still there in the room with her.

brinke stevens Teenage Exorcist

I want to focus on why she has recently inspired me and every aspiring horror filmmaker. Stevens has been acting in horror films since 1981, when she debuted in a shower scene and subsequent slaughter in Amy Holden Jones’ Slumber Party Massacre, produced by Roger Corman. Her hundreds of credits include fan favorites Nightmare Sisters, Teenage Exorcist (which she co-wrote), and Witchhouse 3: Demon Fire, among dozens of others. Stevens served as the editor of Weird Tales and Monsterland magazines, published her own comic book series Brinke of Destruction, and wrote a science fiction novel, Dangerous Toys. As a producer, Stevens helped make the documentaries Shock Cinema and Something to Scream About to explore and preserve the legacy of horror movie culture. She recently produced the upcoming horror feature The Forest Hills.


In 2018 she released her first short horror film as co-writer (with Ted Newsom) and director: Personal Demons. This film was, unironically, about personal demons Stevens may have from her life-long career as a scream queen on sets of often low-budget horror films. The similarities end there, however. Stevens stars as Pandora, a lifelong career scream queen who struggles with career choices and sobriety and inherits a mansion from a mysterious aunt who practiced witchcraft. While reciting lines from the script of her next film, she accidentally conjures a demon. Pandora is no screaming teen, and she’s more than a match for the demon. Fellow icons Debbie Rochon and Linnea Quigley co-star in the movie, and it’s great fun. Personal Demons wasn’t the first time she played a scream queen in a horror film. In David DeCoteau’s 3 Scream Queens, she starred as one alongside Michelle Bauer and Linnea Quigley (and a bunch of shirtless young men). The legendary status of “Scream Queen” in horror films is an example of the self-reverential care actors like Stevens are given in the shared culture of horror movies.


Personal Demons also gave us a glimpse into Stevens’ great comedic timing as a director, which she polished in her feature film directorial debut, 2022’s Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama 2 for Full Moon Features. Stevens, having starred in the first film in 1988, was the perfect choice for director. When she received a phone call about the film, her first thought was that they wanted her to act. She found out that producers William Butler and Charles Band wanted her to direct it. Stevens answered the call with a very funny and fun horror movie that preserves the essence of the original. She understands her fans, and she understands horror movies. Stevens directed the “Where Madness Reigns” episode for the horror TV series Dawn and the Dead, (in which she also appears as Marnie).

Etheria is all about women directing horror films. Our original mission was to show these films because, at the time of our inception in 2013, no one else was screening that many genre films directed by women. Ten years later, there are so many fantastic horror films directed by women every year that we can’t possibly show all of them. It’s a good problem to have. Now, women directors can be appreciated at every genre film festival. All Etheria can do is keep our eye on the people that stand out and promote the legacies of people like Stevens, whose entire professional lives have helped shape the dreams of future generations.

Stevens will receive her award in person at the Etheria 2023 Film Festival on July 1 at the Screenland Armour Theater in Kansas City, Missouri. Presenting the award to her are two of her biggest fans and supporters: Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy the Mail Girl. They know just how important Stevens is to us and you. Frankly, she’s important to Joe Bob, and Darcy, too. And she’s vital to Etheria and everything we stand for as a festival and a movement.

Visit the official Etheria website for more information on this year’s festivities.

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