The worldwide conversation about sexual assault and the exploitation of women in media has changed considerably in the last year. We have people finally being called out and punished for heinous acts of sexual harassment and assault, and some are even seeing damage to their careers in ways activists never thought possible. We’re all looking at things a little differently — but that doesn’t mean things have improved everywhere, as fans of Cincinnati’s Horrorhound Weekend found out last weekend.
Sam Kolesnik made the following post detailing a moment that she experienced over the weekend at a panel about the movie The Miranda Murders: The Lost Tapes of Leonard Lake and Charles Ng. Kolesnik details in her Facebook post about how she was asked to be on an indie horror panel and how the producer and star of The Miranda Murders, G.R. Claveria, made some rather questionable statements including his surprise that he won a SPX for a movie that was “instructions on how to rape women” and how he “got to rape a girl. That’s tricky, right?” The video in the post details the incidents in question.
The thing that makes all of this even more uncomfortable is that The Miranda Murders is being billed as a “found footage” horror movie when, in reality, it is just re-enacting the killings of Leonard Lake and Charles Ng that took place in California from 1983-1986. The two killers famously had graphic tapes that showed them killing two of their victims, Brenda O’Connor and Deborah Dubs. This movie is recreation of the contents of those tapes, which means they were re-enacting the real-life torture and deaths of actual people.
The content of the movie is questionable, but this is less about the actual content and more about how these men are approaching it. Claveria didn’t mention the victims and instead the tone of his voice is rather cavalier. The tone deafness followed the film as Kolesnik details going to the webpage for the movie and seeing more tone-deaf behavior.
The post generated enough attention for the director, Matthew Rosvalley, to step in and insist that the statements were all taken out of context.
Whether or not that is true has yet to be determined, but it appears that the organizers of Horrorhound Weekend have also decided to put some distance between them and the film.
The Miranda Murders is far from the first movie to show rape and torture of women, and it isn’t the first movie to show the actions of real-life serial killers. This is not about a censorship or ban, as Kolesnik says in her original post, but more about the tone that these men are using when talking about this. There is a certain level of tact one should use when approaching difficult subject matter such as true crime, and even joking that you made a movie that has “instructions on how to rape women” is probably not a good idea.