February is Women in Horror Month, and we’re celebrating different women in the genre all month long.
Women in Horror Month is the perfect chance to watch (or re-watch) some of the most seminal films in the genre created by women. Whether they’re scary and haunting, campy and fun, gory and violent or a combination of all of the above, these 10 horror films are always worth watching.
Directed by: Mary Harron
Starring: Christian Bale, Reese Witherspoon, Chloe Sevigny, Jared Leto
American Psycho, based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name, is a satire about 80s access and greed told through psychosis and murder. Featuring an all-time great performance from Christian Bale, the movie makes his violent and misogynistic meltdown palatable, fun and unnerving.
Directed by: The Soska Sisters
Starring: Katherine Isabelle
Katherine Isabelle, a new horror icon if there ever was one, stars as a medical student desperate for money who finds a new calling in body modification surgery, sometimes with involuntary patients. It’s a gory, body-horror feast with a strong feminist current running throughout.
Directed by: Jennifer Kent
Starring: Essie Davis
If you’ve been living under a rock, The Babadook is an Australian horror film that surprised the world with its inventive and terrifying titular creature. A single mother (Essie Davis) is either going insane raising her bratty son, or is being stalked by a supernatural entity that wants her to kill her son. Forget the memes: this movie is actually terrifying.
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare
Directed by: Rachel Talalay
Starring: Robert Englund, Lisa Zane, Breckin Meyer
It’s the only film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series directed by a woman, and one of the only franchise horror films helmed by a woman as well. This 3D film sees Freddy hunting down the last surviving teenager of Springwood and includes one of the most memorable death scenes of the series, where a character is sucked into a video game.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Directed by: Ana Lily Amirpour
Starring: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi
Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut feature is a stylistic and cool entry into the horror canon. It’s also apparently the first ever Middle Eastern-set vampire story, making it worthy of checking out for multiple reasons. A lonely vampire stalks an Iranian town, starting an unlikely relationship with a young man going through tough times.
Directed by: Ida Lupino
Starring: Edmond O’Brien, Frank Lovejoy, William Talman
Ida Lupino is a Hollywood trailblazer, transitioning from actress to director back in the 1940s. She made history with The Hitch-Hiker in 1953, becoming the first woman to ever direct a film noir. The movie follows two fishing buddies who pick up a mysterious hitchhiker, not knowing he’s a psychopathic murderer in the middle of a killing spree.
Directed by: Karyn Kusama
Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody
Black comedy at its finest. Jennifer’s Body is already becoming a cult classic thanks in large part to an incredible performance by Megan Fox (seriously!) as a sexy, vampy high schooler who is also a man-eating succubus. Subtly is overrated when you have snarky lines like “I’m not killing people, I’m killing boys!”
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Bill Paxton, Jenny Wright, Lance Hendrickson
Kathryn Bigelow is perhaps the most successful female director in the world (the only Oscar winner!), but serious dramas have no place in horror month so we’re advocating for her 80s vampire flick where a small-town farm boy joins a family of nomadic vampires.
Directed by: Mary Lambert
Starring: Dale Midkiff, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby
Adapting Stephen King was just as cool and prevalent in the 1980s as it is in 2017, and it was just as lucrative at the box office then as it is now. Pet Semetary was a hit, despite negative reviews at the time. The film is about a small town with an ancient burial ground that can bring dead pets back to life, and a doctor that abuses its power when his young son dies.
Slumber Party Massacre
Directed by: Amy Holden Jones
Starring: Michelle Michaels, Robin Stille
Very rarely is a movie exactly what it says — Slumber Party Massacre is a parody of the slasher genre played straight, with varying results. It’s become a cult classic for its dark humour and camp factor. A high school girl invites her friends over for a slumber party, not knowing a madman with a drill is on the loose in her neighbourhood.
How many of these films have you seen, and how many do you plan to check out this month? Let us know in the comments below!