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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. Andrews chapter.

We all love to engage in the typical Halloween Esque activities: dressing up, partying, watching horror movies, and maybe even trick or treating, but if you are looking for something a bit more different this year, why not watch a student-led production? 

‘The Ridge Grave Girls’ by Angelwood Studios is a short film produced and directed by a group of female St Andrews students that aims to address the ‘dead girl trope’ in the cinema industry from a queer perspective. A trope that has dehumanised and objectified female characters in the cinema industry for decades and transpired into Halloween culture as more and more girls dress up as passive  ‘dead’ characters. 

I had the opportunity to watch this right after its premiere last week, and these were my thoughts. 

Despite the film being barely over 10 minutes long, it was able to effectively address complex topics such as trans identity and queer relationships, using dark humour and witty satire. For instance, the final line took me back: “being born into a skin that fit just right now,” a metaphor for how the trope of ‘dead girls’ removes agency from female characters, robbing them of their personhood, and how this film aims to turn this around, giving dead female characters a chance to rewrite their identity. 

I had the pleasure of discussing these themes with the producer and director, Junko Karo, a St Andrews English and Film Studies student with a keen interest in providing a narrative for the invisible figures of ‘badass’ queer women in the cinema and literary industry. 

  • “Why address the theme of trans identity and queer identity in a horror short film?”
  • “For “The Ridge Grace Girls”, my goal is to comment upon the phenomenon of “dead girls” in mainstream media. We’ve had a range of media perpetuating the “dead girls” trope (and a range dissecting it, too). I wanted to throw my voice into the feminist discussion from a queer perspective: what does “burial” mean in the face of tropes like “bury your gays”, “trans tribulations”, and is it possible to reclaim that– or turn it on its head?”

Thus, this short film is nothing like what we would find in the New Picture House on Halloween but a completely different visual experience that I had not gone through before. During the viewing the pauses in the music and the staccato changes of scenery pulled me into the various themes addressed and after I kept thinking about the silences of the film, all that was left unsaid but was precisely what we had to think about. Everything was simply a metaphor for the metaphors in the film, and it was tied in so neatly in such a short period of time. 

Moreover, the aesthetics of the film are of excellent quality, considering the film’s low budget. Firstly, the town ‘Ridgegrave’ is created by combining shots of St Andrews and Prague, creating an eerie Kafkian meets British 16th-century skin that fits the film just right.  A patched town built upon completely different histories seems the best setting for the battling of misogynistic versus feminist ‘dead girl’ narratives encountered in the film, like the romanticisation of female death being confronted by the crude reality of these

women’s living lives as queer characters. Likewise, the combination of dark lighting and sombre tones gives the film a supernatural ambience that lets your imagination go wild. 

So Why should you watch it? 

Throughout this article, I have been ranting about how interesting I found the whole production and film itself, discussing the themes, the visuals and my personal experience. Still, there is nothing I can say that will compete with the experience of watching it yourselves. 

As put by Junko Karo, “It’s vital to have good support around you,” and here in St Andrews, we are lucky enough to have the chance to support our fellow female students. So why not show the production team of ‘The Ridge Grave Girls’ some love while discovering a new approach to the horror genre? 

Whether this is a genre you are usually drawn to or something you only engage with on Halloween, allow these women to inspire you to create your narratives, too. ‘The Ridge Grave Girls’ is only the start for Junko and her team who are looking forward to telling “satirical and dark stories through a queer and feminist lense” using the Angelwood girls, but it can also be a start for us!

So, using Junko’s words, “ If you’re a fan of dark humour and satire, eerie legacies, and supernatural entities– overcast with sardonic feminist commentary and queer actualisations– “The Ridge Grave Girls” is a queer Heathers-esque tale made for our generation :) Catch us in Buchanan Theatre on the 9th of November, 6:15-7:15 pm! Our tickets are available on FIXR. “


PS: shoutout to Tessa and Abena, the editor and composer, who “elevated “The Ridge Grace Girls” into something so beautiful. If anything, “watch it for their work”- Junko.  

Vera Fortun Marco

St. Andrews '26

Vera Fortun is a second-year English and IR student at the University of St Andrews. Apart from writing for Her Campus, she enjoys writing fiction prose and playing around with poetry. When she is not writing you can find her nose in a book, searching for new pieces to add to her wardrobe or seeking out new coffee shops around town.