7 Horror Movies Directed By Women For Your Next Scary Movie Night
It’s Spooky Season 🎃
Women characters are often at the forefront of horror and suspense films, which is why it’s essential to have women behind the camera, too. Because women are chronically underrepresented in Hollywood—especially as filmmakers—it’s crucial to celebrate films with women writers, producers, and directors.
Whether you’re getting in the mood for spooky season or simply love a good scare, here are a few of the most classic horror films directed by women. If you prefer to read your suspenseful stories, head here for the best mystery and thriller novels by women!
1. American Psycho
Directed By Mary Harron
This classic horror film (released in 2000) about a seemingly “perfect catch” of a man who commits murder by night was directed and written by women. Screenwriter Guinevere Turner claims “American Psycho” is a feminist film stating, “It’s a satire about how men compete with each other and how in this hyperreal universe we created, women are even less important than your tan or your suit or where you summer. And to me, even though the women are all sort of tragic and killed, it’s about how men perceive and treat them.” The directors and screenwriters (all women) included satirical elements as a way to take jabs at the patriarchy. Now that’s a scary movie worth watching.
Directed By Kimberly Peirce
In this remake of the classic 1976 Stephen King novel-turned-movie, the plotline is the same: a high school girl navigates the awkwardness of adolescence while being raised by a religious zealot mother. While Carrie gets bullied, she learns she can secretly move things with her mind—and that’s just where the spooky fun begins. “Carrie,” the 2013 adaption, is an interesting exploration of misogyny and how women are often feared.
3. The Babadook
Directed By Jennifer Kent
With a 98 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “The Babadook” hit screens in November 2014. Written and directed by Jennifer Kent, this psychological thriller is about a strange creature stalking a widowed mother and son. The film tackles the complicated and haunting emotions behind grief and trauma through a boogeyman-level scary monster hiding in the shadows.
4. Jennifer’s Body
Directed By Karyn Kusama
This 2009 scary movie starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried tells the tale of a possessed high school cheerleader who takes her anger out on male classmates. A feminist cult classic with empowering undertones and strong female leads taking down men, you’ll want to add this one to the list for your next scary movie night.
5. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Directed By Fran Rubel Kuzui
Before the hit television show, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” was a 1992 comedic horror movie about a high school cheerleader-turned vampire hunter. The film gained so much popularity that it inspired a TV series—produced by the original film director, Fran Rubel Kuzui. Unlike female leads in other scary movies, Buffy is no damsel in distress. She regularly saves her fellow student, Oliver, from trouble while fiercely battling vampires.
6. Kiss of the Damned
Directed By Alexandra Cassavetes
With a little more horror than “Twilight,” this scary flick is another one of our favorite vampire films, and it’s perfect for spooky season. “Kiss of the Damned” is a 2013 movie about a screenwriter who falls for a beautiful vampire, and their romance is one for the books until a sinister sister plots against the happy couple to ruin it all. With stunning cinematography and a sprinkling of love and lust to distract from the horror, this woman-directed horror film is worth watching.
Directed By Nia DaCosta
A “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 film (and subsequent franchise) of the same name, Nia DaCosta’s reboot is set to arrive in 2021. It will see the return of actor Tony Todd who played the titular character, a boogeyman with a hook for a hand who haunted a Chicago housing project. DaCosta’s iteration will place the urban legend back in the Illinois city, but in the present-day context of gentrification. The screenplay comes from Jordan Peele—the writer behind recently acclaimed horror films “Get Out” and “Us”—and Win Rosenfeld.
Leah Thomas is an intersectional environmental activist and eco-communicator. She launched the intersectional environmentalist platform to explore the relationship between environmentalism and cultural identity. You can connect with her on Instagram.