Virginia-based writer/director Lonnie Martin gave Fango the first word about WOMEN’S STUDIES, an independent horror feature he plans to roll next summer under the Ningen Manga Productions banner. The story focuses on a pregnant grad student named Mary (to be played by Cindy Marie Martin) who winds up with three of her friends at an isolated women’s academy that emphasizes female empowerment. What Mary ultimately discovers is that the campus is run by a psychotic feminist cult devoted to the extermination of powerful men and the destruction of male social power, with the goal of creating a “pure Goddess race” and a willingness to murder in order to carry out their plans. Also cast in the movie are Melisa Breiner-Sanders, Laura Bloechl, Tara (THE VISITING) Garwood, Kelley Slagle and Tiffany James.
Filmmaker Martin calls WOMEN’S STUDIES ”an intelligent look at groupthink, women’s issues and how blind belief in any one-sided dogma can create a terrorist.” Even before its start-of-production announcement, however, the movie caused an on-line stir earlier this year when its casting announcement led a pair of feminist blogs to condemn the project as anti-feminist. Martin counters, “The movie has no political agenda except to show how scary cults can be. It’ s all done in the spirit of horror-movie fun. Feminists, misogynists, pagans, abortionists—we skewer everybody, both figuratively and literally. It’s very topical, and yet it also deals with universal ideas and emotions that are timeless. It’s also scary as hell.”
The project’s official website goes live here this Sunday, October 1, and will be set up to resemble a promotional site for the movie’s fictional Ross-Prentiss Women’s Academy. “We’re very excited about it,” says Cindy Marie Martin, who’s also serving as co-producer. ”The design idea is that it’s a haunted site, with hidden links and Easter eggs galore that lead to juicy little details about this academy and the people associated with it. New hidden links will be added each month so that it stays fresh.”
Lonnie Martin previously participated in this year’s 48 Hour Film Project in Washington, DC, and the resulting horror short UNDER THE BED can be seen here in low resolution and here in high resolution. The official website for Ningen Manga Productions can be found here.