Horror & Cult Films Directed by Women

In recognition of Women’s History Month, I want to turn the spotlight to women who have directed horror and/or cult films. Not only do I get to share some of my favorites, but I also got to learn about some titles I have never seen (which are now on the watchlist). I love horror films by women. I feel like women in general have a more intimate understanding of horror in our daily lives, and that comes through in storytelling in unique and insidious ways. Check out the titles linked below, and please let me know which ones I missed!

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Near Dark (1987), dir. Kathryn Bigelow

This is one I have never seen, but I look forward to watching it! A coworker actually recommended this one to me a couple days before I started this post.

Pet Sematary (1989), dir. Mary Lambert

Very few horror films truly terrify me, and this is one of them. This adaptation of Pet Sematary by Stephen King nails the intense, emotional layers of this story and converts them into an unforgettable viewing experience.

American Psycho (2000), dir. Mary Harron

This film is nowhere near as disturbing as the book by Bret Easton Ellis, but it gets the job done in its own way. This film has had a profound impact on popular culture since its release, with good reason. I have not watched it for years, but it still feels fresh when I think of it.

Jennifer’s Body (2009), dir. Karyn Kusama

It is shameful how long it took me to watch this movie (especially considering my favorite artist, Panic! At The Disco, recorded a song for the soundtrack). This movie is fantastically underrated. It’s fun, bloody, campy, and it passes the Bechdel Test . It is without a doubt one of my favorite cult horror films. Bonus: it was written by a woman as well (Diablo Cody).

The Babadook (2014), dir. Jennifer Kent

The scariest non-cartoon movie I have ever seen, I applaud Jennifer Kent for this champion of atmospheric horror. I watched this for the first time living alone in a deserted college town…even with preparation, I had to sleep with the lights on for three weeks. The Babadook has become a rite of passage for horror film lovers since its release. I will definitely write more about it in future posts; in the meantime, turn your lights on and give it a watch (or a re-watch).

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), dir. Ana Lily Amirpour

I have been meaning to watch this movie for years, and I intend to finally do so very soon. More vampire films by women, please!

The Love Witch (2016), dir. Anna Biller

Anyone who has read my first film blog post or, you know, knows me in general, knows my undying love for The Love Witch. This film is a candy-colored, darkly comedic, feminist satire that both challenges and empowers views of feminine sexuality. Anna Biller’s first feature-length film, Viva (2007), is another title I would love to write about for this blog.

Raw (2016), dir. Julia Ducournau

Delicious. What a film.

Candyman (post-production, 2021), dir. Nia DaCosta

As I watched the release dates of movies planned for 2020 get pushed back, I beseeched the powers that be to at least let us have Candyman. Unfortunately, we will have to wait. Based on the trailers, I predict masterful storytelling and stunning cinematography.

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Until next time,

Jordan

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