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WiHM: 16 of Our Favorite Female-Directed Horror Films

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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. 

Related:
Women in Horror Month: 6 Real Life Lessons From Horror’s Finest Final Girls
Women in Horror Month: Why Do We Love Horror?

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‘Tales from the Crypt’ Publisher, EC Comics is Being Brought Back to Life at Oni Comics

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Tales From

After seventy years of being shut down, the iconic EC Comics is coming back by way of Oni Comics. Originally founded as an educational comics brand, it would later become a publisher known for its horror comics and tales to keep you up late at night. William Gaines lead the way and during his time we were gifted with a run of comics such as Tales From the Crypt, The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror, and of course Weird Science among others. Founded in 1944 and running to 1956 it was eventually shut down due to claims that comic books were affecting the minds of our adolescents. After reaching Congress the issue was large enough to take down the small comics publisher.

Crypt
Original Cover art for EC Comics Tales From the Crypt.

Of course, later on, HBO would take Tales From the Crypt and reboot it for television with a whole new generation. However, for comic collectors, it was up to either visiting select digital archives online or purchasing old issues by way of auction. It is exciting to hear that Oni Comics is going to bring EC Comics back to life.

“EC Comics is one of the most artistically important and culturally significant publishers of all time. In ways both artful and shocking, EC confronted the darkness lurking behind the thin facade of American society — a throughline of radically confrontational storytelling that we intend to both uphold and escalate with the first new EC tales in decades. We’re challenging ourselves to evolve EC’s relentless energy and fearless sensibilities in ways never before attempted. These are intense comics for our intense times.“ Oni Comics Publisher, Hunter Gorinson said.

Tales
Cover art from EC Comics Tales From the Crypt.

The first two comics under the new partnership are two new anthology titles that both lend themselves to the flair of their classics. First up Epitaphs from the Abyss followed by Cruel Universe. You can check out the cover for Cruel Universe at the bottom of the page.

Although the partnership is said to not be about nostalgia, we are still hoping that following some of these new titles we do get a special revisit for Tales from the Crypt or one of the other classics.

Epitaphs From the Abyss is due out in stores beginning this July. Cruel Universe is set to arrive in August.

What do you think about the Oni Comics bringing back EC Comics? Let us know in the comments section.

EC
Cover for EC Comics upcoming title.

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Images and a Poster Have Arrived For Eli Roth’s ‘Borderlands’

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Borderlands

Eli Roth’s Borderlands is well on its way to a theater near you. The Gearbox Software game adaptation looks to take its characters, costumes, and the world of Pandora right from the game. So, that is a good sign. However, we are still on the fence with this one. We will have a better idea of what to expect when a trailer drops tomorrow. Today we have our first look at some images from the film along with a hyper-neon fun poster.

Borderlands
Photo: Cate Blanchett as Lilith in Borderlands. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate.

The synopsis for Borderlands goes like this:

Lilith (Blanchett), an infamous outlaw with a mysterious past, reluctantly returns to her home planet of Pandora to find the missing daughter of the universe’s most powerful S.O.B., Atlas (Ramirez). Lilith forms an alliance with an unexpected team – Roland (Hart), a former elite mercenary, now desperate for redemption; Tiny Tina (Greenblatt), a feral pre-teen demolitionist; Krieg (Munteanu), Tina’s musclebound, rhetorically challenged protector; Tannis (Curtis), the scientist with a tenuous grip on sanity; and Claptrap (Black), a persistently wiseass robot. These unlikely heroes must battle alien monsters and dangerous bandits to find and protect the missing girl, who may hold the key to unimaginable power. The fate of the universe could be in their hands – but they’ll be fighting for something more: each other.

Borderlands stars Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart, Edgar Ramirez, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ariana Greenblatt, Florian Munteanu, Haley Bennett, Olivier Richters, Gina Gershon, Cheyenne Jackson, Charles Babalola, Benjamin Byron Davis, Steven Boyer, Bobby Lee, Ryann Redmond, Penn Jillette, and Janina Gavankar, and Jack Black.

Borderlands

Borderlands arrives in theaters beginning August 9. Are you excited about this one? Let us know in the comments section.

Borderlands

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Micheal Keaton Says ‘Beetlejuice Beetlejuice’ Feels Like Original Including Practical Effects

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Beetlejuice

It feels like a ‘Beetlejuice’ sequel has been in the works for over 100 years. However, the timeline for an official production is much shorter and not as cluttered with faux fan posters. We’ve gotten spoilery glimpses of outdoor sets thanks to paparazzi and even seen some characters in costume. Everything so far boasts a handcrafted look. Additionally, it’s a bonus that Michael Keaton himself has said the sequel feels like the original and that it will be practical. Color us intrigued, Michael!

“It’s the most fun I’ve had on set in a long time…On one hand, you’d go, ‘Well, of course it’s the most fun. It looks like fun.’ As you know, it doesn’t always work like that.” Keaton told People.

Beetlejuice

It is a well-known factoid that Keaton had more fun on the first Beetlejuice than any other film that he had made. It still stands up as one of his all-time favorites.

“The one thing that (director Tim Burton) and I decided on early, early, early on from the beginning, if we ever did it again, I was totally not interested in doing something where there was too much technology…It had to feel handmade…What made it fun was watching somebody in the corner actually holding something up for you, to watch everybody in the shrunken head room and say, ‘Those are people under there, operating these things, trying to get it right.’”

That sounds like a whole lot of practical magic to us. Plus, I’m sure that Burton himself has become a bit tired of turning to computer-rendered graphics for his films. They have become more and more filled to the brim with nothing but computer-designed worlds.

One of the most incredible achievements I’ve seen lately in terms of returning to practical effects has to be Netflix’s return to The Dark Crystal. If you watch the making of that film, it is incredible to see that even the backdrops were meticulously handpainted. Everything right down to the toenails was crafted. You should certainly give that a watch if you haven’t already. It is incredible and somehow was released at a time in which nobody watched it.

Well, we are pretty excited about what Keaton said concerning Beetlejuice Beetlejuice. Let’s just hope that it is not hype. What do you think about his statement? Let us know in the comments.

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