DEADLINE EXTENDED! Violent Femmes: The Ongoing Popular Relevance of Psycho-Biddies and Hagsploitation Heroines

deadline for submissions: 
March 24, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Dusty Perez / Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
contact email: 

Violent Femmes: The Ongoing Popular Relevance

of Psycho-Biddies and Hagsploitation Heroines


Dusty Perez

Jessica McKee

Taylor Joy Mitchell

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University



Chapter Abstracts of 350 - 500 words should be sent to Dusty Perez at or OR Jessica McKee ( no later than MARCH 24th 2024. Acceptance soon to follow with chapter drafts due by MAY 20th 2024. Keep in mind that this will be a collection across the disciplines: film analysis, literary criticism, and multiverse genre-mixing (including poems) all are welcome for consideration. We are working with and anticipate acceptance by Lexington Books by April 30, 2024.

SO what is a copy of Jane Eyre doing popping up in a character’s BnB-headed suitcase halfway through (and quickly, but long enough to have an impact that gives birth to questions as to its placement) a throw-away moment in first-film auteur Zach Cregger’s 2022 horror hit Barbarian? The sturm und drang at the heart-–or subterranean hearth of tunnels and mazes– of Barbarian plays out as a tense playpen of clichés and new application of maternal tropes pathologized as the dichotomy of biological women vs. psychological woman. This edited collection aims to connect the drips–the iterations of how the female bodily functions are used in Barbarian to demonize its villain (we would classify her as a Heroine-Villain). These connective traces occur not in Brontë’s proverbial attic, as a glimpse through a keyhole through which insanity and corporeal evidence are “contained”. Indeed, the Heroine-Villain uses the controllable point of entry—or orificial/body part facsimile– to blast through any attempts to view her yet lock her away. Because she is the instigator and deliverer of violence as she is used by Cregger (also the screenwriter) to rely upon the wrinkled, hag-biddy-derived freak show sight of how she wields her body as both weapon and caricature of maternal nursing and cradling, new (basement) ground is being broken not only for the horror genre but for the empowerment of women’s bodies that own and exploit every naked wrinkle. That we accept our biddy-hag as the actual lead and plot instigator forms a dichotomous impact we’re torn between– should the aging female body be-cast as classically horrible, or can the actual horror begin with what we sense when we stop nursing? Our chapters will argue that biddy hags are actually well-aged heroes in villainous skin-deep drag.

This edited collection from Dusty Perez, Jessica McKee, and Taylor Joy Mitchell, professors at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, aims to raise as many questions as it seeks to answer—starting with the ways and methodologies of how and why the female body became the biddy hag villainess in cinematic iterations as a way in to a continuum of biddies. This is a deceptive entry, as the psychobiddy herself will prove to be. Our forced entry into hagsploitation media will actually begin with JoAnn DeTore’s examination of Grendel’s mother in Norse mythology and elsewhere (notably in John Gardner’s 1970 re-telling of his Grendel / Beowulf myth. Other iterations may be explored but are not limited to other multi-media appearances of what we are dubbing the Violent Femme Psycho-Biddy, or Hagsploitation Heroines (and occasionally heros). That the Psycho-Biddy needs a continuum of iterations across various media and as not necessarily grotesque on the surface forms a major tenet of this call for submission abstracts. The Hagsploitaion trope can become a heroine as long as there is a dark side to hide ot exploit that empowers as much, if not more, than its horrific impact engenders, beyond a wrinkle or hatchet with an arched brow. Chapters can examine and analyze themes and tropes from the following examples (and these are intended to be a jumping-off point for your chapter in terms of exemplifying content as thematic inspiration):