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WiHM: 16 of Our Favorite Female-Directed Horror Films



women in horror female directors

To celebrate Women in Horror Month, we thought we’d have a look at some of our favorite horror movies that were directed by some seriously talented female filmmakers.

Listed in chronological order, here are a few of our personal favorites. Any we missed? Add yours in the comments!

Slumber Party Massacre (1982) – Amy Holden Jones

via CL Tampa

Written by feminist writer and activist Rita Mae Brown and directed by Amy Holden Jones, Slumber Party Massacre prominently features satirically appropriate phallic imagery in the form of the film’s villainous “driller killer”. It’s a fun and campy slasher with some great kills, practical effects, and serious feminist undertones.

Near Dark (1987) – Kathryn Bigelow

via Talk Film Society

Long before winning two Oscar awards for The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow crafted a cult classic with the vampire film Near Dark. Starring Aliens alumni Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Jenette Goldstein, Near Dark is arguably one of the finest vampire films to exist. 

Pet Sematary (1989) – Mary Lambert

Even with the new film on the way, Mary Lambert’s Pet Sematary will always have a special and terrifying place in the heart of horror fans. She brought us nightmares of Zelda, a wonderfully creepy undead child, and sage words of wisdom from a perfectly-cast Jud Crandall. And we’ll always thank her for that.

American Psycho (2000) – Mary Harron

via Greater Omaha Chamber

Do you need to return some videotapes? You can thank Mary Harron for making that the most popular exit line that horror fans have ever uttered. Bret Easton Ellis’ novel makes for some truly dark source material, but Harron was able to dig through the many music references and brutal scenes of violence to bring us an iconic satire that drags misogyny, conspicuous consumption, and pretension through the bloody mud.

Trouble Every Day (2001) – Claire Denis

New French Extremity film Trouble Every Day is – as with most films in the New French Extremity – challenging and divisive. Denis’ style of filmmaking has been described as “tactile”, in that her work sets out to “touch” the viewer with a sense of contamination that cannot be obtained from a distanced viewing. She combines romantic sensuality with violent cannibalism and challenges the audience with feelings of “unreality”; scenes leading up to a particularly violent climax all feel very rehearsed, so this moment of honest and visceral release comes as a shock.

Jennifer’s Body (2009) – Karyn Kusama

via Vice Media

Jennifer’s Body is a perfect and vicious twist on the dynamic between teenage BFFs. It wasn’t widely loved upon its initial release, but has found a bit of resurgence recently with horror fans rediscovering the wild charm of this flick.

For more serious fare, check out Kusama’s The Invitation, which is a positively brilliant slow burn that more people need to see.

American Mary (2012) – Jen & Sylvia Soska

via Slant

Not quite a rape-revenge film, American Mary is about a young medical student who finds her calling in the world of surgical body modification. Katherine Isabelle absolutely shines as the titular Mary, and the Soskas show some serious skill as they carve this dark tale into a delicious delight.

You can see more from the Soska sisters with their upcoming remake of David Cronenberg’s Rabid.

The Babadook (2014) – Jennifer Kent

via Narcity

The Babadook beautifully captures the exhaustion of being a single parent following a traumatic event. Widow Amelia (Essie Davis, whose performance plucks at every empathetic heartstring in your body) must contend with a mysterious monster that her troubled son has developed an obsession with. The film drags itself through dull grey interiors and screaming children to build a stunning metaphor for depression that carries on through the film’s conclusion.

Honeymoon (2014) – Leigh Janiak

via The Dissolve

Featuring raw performances from Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) and Harry Treadaway (Penny Dreadful), Honeymoon slowly builds the idea that something is not quite right during a young couple’s getaway. Haunting, beautiful, unsettling, and visceral, it reaches a fever pitch that will definitely stick with you once the film has ended.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) – Ana Lily Amirpour

via BFI

Noted as “the first Iranian Vampire Western ever made”, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is slick and relentlessly cool as it mixes its influences of graphic novels, horror films, spaghetti westerns, and the Iranian New Wave into one beautiful black-and-white genre masterpiece.

Prevenge (2016) – Alice Lowe

via Slant Magazine

Prevenge is a pitch-black British dark comedy about a woman who believes that her unborn baby is sending her on a mission to kill. Written, directed by, and starring an 8-month pregnant Alice Lowe, it’s a whip-smart take on loneliness, prepartum madness, and the conscious decisions a mother must make.

Raw (2016) – Julia Ducournau

via Rolling Stone

Julia Ducournau presents an unflinching coming-of-age tale with a deadly and dread-fueled twist. Garance Marillier and Ella Rumpf‘s nuanced performances as sisters Justine and Alexia are like a raw, meaty steak; they drive the film forward to its heavy yet deeply satisfying conclusion.

Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017) – Issa López

via TIFF

Tigers Are Not Afraid is a visually and emotionally striking dark fairytale. The real-world violence of Mexican cartels simmers under every scene, bringing the childlike wonder and fantasy to the forefront. Like anything concocted from a child’s imagination, the magic we see can be both beautiful and truly terrifying.

M.F.A. (2017) – Natalia Leite

via Variety

M.F.A. is an emotionally brutal and deeply effective rape-revenge film that points a steady, angry finger at rape on college campuses and the efforts made by administration to silence or blame the victims for their trauma. It delivers one powerful punch of a message that is both infuriating and cathartic, as our heroine goes on a cross-campus spree of vigilante justice.

The Ranger (2018) – Jenn Wexler

via SXSW

Jenn Wexler has made a name for herself as a genre producer before stepping into the director’s chair with The Ranger, and her clear dedication to the genre has resulted in a slick, punk rock killer thriller. It’s delightfully vicious and pulls no punches, and it proves that she’s a name to watch for.

Revenge (2018) – Coralie Fargeat

via DreadCentral

Coralie Fargeat’s Revenge is a vibrant, sun-soaked, full-tilt ride that spins a fresh and vicious take on the rape-revenge subgenre by focusing the rage through the “female gaze”. The start of this horrible chain of events comes from an awkward conversation that every woman has experienced. The action that follows is, of course, dramatically over-the-top and gorgeously stylized, but it’s so deeply satisfying to cheer on our heroine as she blazes a brutal, bloody path of vengeance. 

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‘Cloverfield’ Film Finds a Director To Helm Next Entry




We have seen an incredible three Cloverfield-based films so far. The latest being Cloverfield Paradox on Netflix. The latest in the series also managed to lose steam for the secretive franchise. It went too far into the explanation of secrets that we had seen in the first two films. Once the wizard is discovered behind the curtain the game loses its momentum and fun. The upcoming Cloverfield film has found its director from Under the Shadow’s Babak Anvari.

The director’s Under the Shadow was a great piece of horror. It was entirely effective in its scares and story.

There is no word on where the fourth Cloverfield film will take audiences. But, that is for the best. These films have always been shrouded in secrecy and that is what has made them fun. Well… the first two films anyway.

The synopsis for Cloverfield went like this:

As a group of New Yorkers (Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman) enjoy a going-away party, little do they know that they will soon face the most terrifying night of their lives. A creature the size of a skyscraper descends upon the city, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Using a handheld video camera, the friends record their struggle to survive as New York crumbles around them.

We are happy to see that Anvari is going to helm this entry. We can’t wait to see what he brings to the franchise and to see what direction this entry takes.

What has been your favorite Cloverfield chapter?

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‘The Winchesters’ Trailer Effectively Adds Another Chapter to ‘Supernatural’




If you thought that Supernatural was over after its very long and successful run, think again. The Winchesters takes us back into the world of Supernatural in a prequel. The series will go way back to tell the story of John and Mary who are the very reason that we have Sam and Dean.

The first trailer for the new series is looking particularly great and effectively adding to Supernatural lore.

The synopsis for The Winchesters goes like this:

Before Sam and Dean, there was John and Mary. Told from the perspective of narrator Dean Winchester, this is the epic, untold love story of how John met Mary, and how they put it all on the line to not only save their love, but the entire world..

The Winchesters premieres on October 7 via CW.

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Netflix’s ‘Dahmer’ Already in The Number One Spot




Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story only just arrived on Netflix earlier this week and it has already managed to move to Netflix’s number one spot. The 10-episode nightmare goes into nightmarish details of the Milwaukee Monster. In fact, the details that the series dives into have caused a backlash among some viewers. There has been an outcry by some viewers that beg audiences not to romanticize the Dahmer just because Evan Peters is playing him.

The new series has a score of 91 on Rotten Tomatoes and that score doesn’t appear to be going down anytime soon.

The synopsis for Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story goes like this:

Between 1978 and 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer gruesomely took the lives of seventeen innocent victims. DAHMER – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is a series that exposes these unconscionable crimes, centered around the underserved victims and their communities impacted by the systemic racism and institutional failures of the police that allowed one of America’s most notorious serial killers to continue his murderous spree in plain sight for over a decade.

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is now streaming on Netflix.

Have you watched yet?

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