Bad Girl BoogeyDark Star Pictures’ acclaimed slasher film “Bad Girl Boogey,” has shaken up the horror genre with its unique combination of terror and inclusivity. The brainchild of then 17-year-old transgender filmmaker Alice Maio Mackay, the film has received rave reviews since its digital release on July 4th and its DVD release on July 11th.

In the movie, Mackay tells the story of Angel, whose mother was brutally murdered on Halloween night sixteen years prior. The murderer wore a parasitic mask, cursed with black magic and bigotry. When her best friend is killed by a similarly masked figure, Angel must confront her fear and hunt down the killer before he takes more lives.



Alice Maio Mackay

“As a fan of horror films and slasher films specifically, I don’t think historically we have often seen queer people well represented, especially trans and gender non-conforming people. Luckily, however, that’s slowly changing… I wanted to create something in the slasher sub-genre with characters who were part of my community,” says Mackay, charting a path for inclusivity in a genre where it was seldom seen.

Mackay explained the motivation behind the unique concept: “Rather than representing the queer community as a whole, when it comes to filmmaking I just really want to create stories that I would like to see and those that are authentic to myself and people I know.” According to Mackay, she aimed to contribute to the increasing representation of queer people in slasher films, a genre which has historically underrepresented the community.

“Bad Girl Boogey” isn’t explicitly trans-focused, but Mackay acknowledges that her perspective as a transgender woman always surfaces in her work. “I’ll always be writing from a trans point of view, even with Bad Girl Boogey. My subconscious voice as a writer and artist will always emerge in the work I create and seek out.”

The film is not only a proud representation of the queer community but also a projection of Mackay’s personal experiences as a transgender filmmaker. “Regardless of the topics covered, I’ll always be writing from a trans point of view… my subconscious voice as a writer and artist will always emerge in the work I create,” she explains.

A characteristic comic verve enlivens the horror of “Bad Girl Boogey.” This is no coincidence; Mackay is deliberate in infusing this balance. “I guess it’s just kind of the rapport and banter in these friendship groups, and how the characters use dark humour as a coping mechanism… Having moments of campiness and humour to break up the intense moments is also in a lot of the horror films I like to watch,” she shares.

Mackay’s penchant for balancing comedy with horror adds a distinct flavor to the film. “I guess it’s just kind of the rapport and banter in these friendship groups, and how the characters use dark humour as a coping mechanism,” she shares, asserting the need for lightness amid intense situations. She draws inspiration from horror films with similar tonal juxtapositions, like “Freaky” and “Happy Death Day.”

The filmmaker’s early love for shows such as “Scooby Doo,” “Buffy,” and “The Munsters” greatly influenced the making of “Bad Girl Boogey.” She points to the ‘unmasking’ of the killer, similar to “Scooby Doo,” and the use of horror to explore different themes in “Buffy.”

“I feel like Scooby Doo and Buffy definitely had an influence on this – with the ‘unmasking’ of the killer, and the whole Scooby Gang in Buffy, and how that show also used horror to explore different themes and coming-of-age topics,” Mackay reveals.

The film’s focus is primarily on confronting and defeating the deep-seated hatred and bigotry prevalent in society, rather than letting it control lives. However, it also differs from Mackay’s previous works such as “So Vam” and “Satranic Panic” in its darker tone and stylistic differences, despite retaining elements of ‘camp.’

In crafting the film’s parasitic mask, Mackay hoped to add a supernatural layer to the narrative, while emphasizing the stakes for the queer characters. “I didn’t want the killer to just be a random masked person. I really wanted to add a supernatural layer to it,” she notes.

bad girl boogeyWhen it came to Angel, Mackay wanted to create a resilient and strong character shaped by her lived experiences. “Final Girls are an iconic part of the slasher subgenre, and with Angel, I wanted to create a character who just happened to be queer, her identity is never really discussed or labelled, and it’s not a coming-out film.”

Mackay praises the synergy she shares with co-writer Ben Pahl Robinson, adding that the film started as a short project but soon expanded into the present full-length feature. The casting was based on Mackay’s experiences working with the actors in other projects and her admiration for their skills.

An interesting aspect of the film is the voiceover cameo by horror icon Bill Moseley, a personal favorite of Mackay’s. She recounts that she reached out to his agent and pitched the idea to him, and he agreed to lend his voice to the project. “And he has such a great voice, which adds a certain gravity to the storytelling,” she notes.

Producing the film at a young age was a challenging experience, Mackay admits. Despite this, she managed to maintain the horror appeal of the film while including queer perspectives on the slasher subgenre.

Some of her favorite filmmakers, particularly Rob Zombie, inspired the aesthetic of the film, as Mackay sought to create a “grittier” visual world. The filmmaker also shares an interesting behind-the-scenes story where a wave swallowed the mask, leaving them with just two masks for the rest of the shoot.

Mackay teases her next projects, which are more personal and focused on the trans woman experience. The young filmmaker continues to push the boundaries, displaying a love for storytelling that started in primary school and now shines through her work. She adds, “I’m really excited to share them with the world soon!”

With “Bad Girl Boogey,” Alice Maio Mackay skillfully takes the slasher genre to new, inclusive heights. This film sets a precedent for what the genre can be, and the narratives it can embrace, leaving audiences not just with chills, but a powerful message of representation and resilience.

For more information, visit the Amazon listing.

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