Women in Horror & My Top 5 Feminist Horror Movies

If you are a regular reader of this blog, by now you may have realized that I am a horror junkie. Scratch that: I am a horror fiend. (Any Misfits fans? I want your skulls!)  February marks the eighth annual Women in Horror Month (2017) and I am excited to celebrate. The month was founded in order to promote the work of the amazing women contributing to horror of every artistic medium (film, literature, music, art, etc.) and in every capacity. It also helps to bring to light the fact that women are incredibly under-represented and unrecognized in the genre. Throughout the month of February, I will be peppering the blog with posts about women in horror, beginning with this one: Women in Horror & My Top 5 Feminist Horror Movies.


These movies are in no particular order, but they are movies that feature strong, female leads. (I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum!)

Hush – Kate Siegel stars in (and co-writes) this awesome psychological thriller that was released in 2016. She plays Maddie, a young, deaf, author, who steals away to a cabin in the woods, alone, in an attempt to finish writing her book. While there, a killer finds and begins stalking her. Lacking the ability to hear or speak, she now must fend for herself and badassery ensues. This is a Netflix original and available, now!

Bride of Frankenstein – Released in 1935, Bride of Frankenstein is the sequel to the first film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Upon realizing that companionship is the only way to distract and subdue the monster, Dr. Frankenstein builds him a woman. This may seem innately anti-feminist, but when the bride is introduced to the monster, things do not go as planned, and she turns the entire plan, unexpectedly, on its head. In her own way, she refuses to be the object used to pacify the monster. She rejects the implication that she is only the Eve to his Adam.

The Descent – Written and directed by Neil Marshall, The Descent follows six women as they spelunk into an unmapped cave in hopes of exploring, only to be hunted by weird, human-like creatures. The bond between the women is fierce and as their predicament grows worse, the characters begin to evolve in their complexity, making it hard to pinpoint any of the women as the would-be final girl. This is a fantastic movie, whether you are seeking out powerful feminist sentiment or just looking for a good flick.

You’re Next – I caught this movie, by chance. My sister and I often scour Fearnet and Chiller (RIP bro) hoping to stumble upon something worthwhile and we did when we found, You’re Next. Felix, and his girlfriend, Erin, are invited to his parent’s house to celebrate their anniversary with his entire family. The evening takes a terrifying turn when the house is invaded by a group of masked killers. (Masked killers are the worst kind. Have you seen, The Strangers? Or The Purge?) Everything is not what it seems and as the story unravels, Erin is forced to defend herself and prove herself a badass heroine.

The Craft – Oh, man! Where do I begin? I absolutely love this movie. I grew up loving this movie and Fairuza Balk as Nancy Is one of the most iconic performances of the 90’s. Sarah is a newcomer to a Catholic school where she feels like an outcast. She soon becomes friend with three fellow students who show an interest in magic. They soon realize that together, the four of them have the power to perform spells, but once they begin, things begin to go awry. The girls share a bond, but when the power goes to their heads, they disband, and Sarah is forced to recognize that the power was inside of her, all along.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, by now you may have realized that I am a horror junkie. Scratch that: I am…

Honorable Mentions:
Jennifer’s Body – Diablo Cody’s second feature film is much more than it seems. I really enjoyed this movie, but it was peddled as a film that dabbled in lesbian make out sessions between famous actresses. Casting Megan Fox was a mistake, in my opinion, and didn’t allow the film a chance to be taken seriously. Jennifer’s Body revolves around Jennifer, the “hottest girl in school”, who suddenly becomes a demon that literally eats boys. Her best friend works to prevent her from finishing all of them off. There is a feminist subplot under all of the exploitation, but if you can’t decipher it, at least the movie is kind of funny!

Alien – We all know that Sigourney Weaver is the ultimate badass in this movie. I felt compelled to mention this because of how much it is heralded as a feminist masterpiece and the fact that the Bechdel Test was essentially developed because of this film. The sad truth is… I haven’t seen it. I know, I know! It’s required viewing for ANY horror fan. I promise I’ll see it, asap!

I have chosen to omit Rosemary’s Baby because, although a great film, brimming with feminist and political allegory,…

*Heather’s Note: Some of you may be wondering why Rosemary’s Baby did not make the list of feminist horror films and I understand. I have chosen to omit Rosemary’s Baby because, although a great film, brimming with feminist and political allegory, I cannot give more attention to Roman Polanski. I am not the kind of person who can separate art from the individual when the actions of the individual are as heinous as rape and pedophilia. There is a gross irony in Polanski’s ability to make such a grand statement about feminism in his film, while exhibiting such misogyny and disgusting behavior in his own life.

What did I miss? What are some of your favorites? Did I miss the mark? Let me know!

 

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