3 reasons Bloody Mary deserves a big-budget horror film


Surprisingly, Bloody Mary hasn’t earned the respect in the horror genre she deserves. Here are three reasons why I think the legend deserves a new film.

I wanted to write an article about some of the best movies featuring Bloody Mary because she is the basis of an urban legend that horrified me as a kid. So imagine my surprise when I began my research and discovered there hasn’t actually been many horror movies about her.

Of the few films that popped up, all of them were low-budget, straight-to-DVD, and critically panned. There’s nothing wrong with a good B-movie, but none of these films gained notoriety, even being bad, nor did I see anything about a cult following.

Urban Legends: Bloody Mary is the most notable of the bunch but it’s a straight-to-DVD sequel to the more popular Urban Legends film from 1998.

There was actually meant to be a Bloody Mary summoning scene in Paranormal Activity 3, but it wound up on the cutting room floor (you can view the clip at the bottom of the article).

In television, her legend has fared better with episodes focusing on the legend in popular shows like Supernatural, The Ghost Whisperer, Charmed, and The X-Files.

The legend has inspired plenty of variations too, Candyman has a similar premise. But I want a horror movie that is solely about her. Here are my main three reasons I think it’s well past time for a film starring Bloody Mary.

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3. The legend of Bloody Mary is familiar and scary.

I vividly remember the first time I was told about the legend of Bloody Mary. One of my older friends spooked me with the story and I became fascinated by it. According to her, if you went into the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror with a single lit candle while muttering the words “Bloody Mary”, three times in succession, she would appear, extinguish the flame, and scratch your eyes out.

The story has mutated and evolved through re-tellings. Several variations exist, some where Mary just looms behind you, others where she takes possession of your body, but the general premise is the same. Say her name three times into a mirror and she will come. Even now, I don’t like being in a pitch-black bathroom alone because I get the feeling something is watching me.

Perhaps it’s the story from Us that has unsettled me to the point I recalled this particular legend. There is already something frightening about the idea of another version of you, and mirrors are something horror tackles all the time. Who is that reflection staring back? Is it really you? Or is it something – or someone – else?

2. The story has some basis in truth.

We don’t know exactly what the real origin of the legend is, but it seems to be related to an old divination ritual where a woman would stare into a mirror and see the face of her future husband staring back at her. There are some who relate her to Queen Mary I who was rumored to bathe in the blood of virgins to maintain her youthful good looks. Although according to Snopes, this is a false relation.

But there have been other myths and legends over the years, such as that of Mary Worthington, a fabled witch who kidnapped children and stole them away. The folklore regarding “Bloody Mary” dates back all the way to 1960’s with folklorists studying the myth as it emerged as a popular game played at sleepovers between young girls.

The idea that mirrors serve as portals to the spirit world is a superstition found in cultures all over the world. And there have even been studies about the illusory nature of perception one can experience while looking into a mirror. It’s been said if you stare into one long enough, your brain can begin to hallucinate.

1. It would be a great opportunity for a female-fronted horror movie.

Now would be an excellent time to jump on the Bloody Mary train. The horror genre has shifted in recent years to giving women more important roles rather than having them merely play victims. It’s a shame, of all the Bloody Mary films we do have, none have been directed by women.

Personally, I think Karyn Kusama would be a great choice to direct a Bloody Mary film. She’s shown her horror expertise with The Invitation and her horror-comedy chops with Jennifer’s Body (which, while mostly ignored at the time, has become a very popular cult film in the present day).

I envision someone like Jane Levy in the title role, whether it be as protagonist or antagonist. She’s already proven herself a scream queen heavyweight with roles in movies like Evil Dead and Don’t Breathe, plus her recent stint in Stephen King’s Castle Rock.

Personally, I’d like to see a Bloody Mary origin film with a complicated female lead. A woman who starts out as being exiled from her community (perhaps a witch) and slowly morphs into the twisted, bloodied, spectral legend we know today.

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Hollywood has been enjoying tackling classic horror film remakes as of late with Stephen King’s It and Pet Sematary, and Jordan Peele’s upcoming take on Candyman. Bloody Mary was a thriving legend in the ’90s, so she would fit on the roster as a horror icon to bring to the big screen.

Would you like to see a film about Bloody Mary? Who would be your dream director or cast for the film? What direction would you want the plot to go in? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!