Genre filmmaking has a reputation as a man’s field. That goes for audiences as well as filmmakers. To the novice, it’s easy to see why. For a long time women’s bodies have been used to titillate male adolescent horror fans — shrieking, squirming, disposable ciphers. Academic studies of gender and horror cinema such as Carol J. Clover’s 1992 book Men, Women, and Chain Saws and female-fronted films changed the landscape of the genre, proving women could terrify audiences just like men, and that women were watching — but also craving stories they could relate to. The popularity of horror heroines like Ripley in Ridley Scott’s Alien proves the need for women who aren’t simply victims. But there’s room for all types of narratives and characters for, about, and by women — including the Freddies, Jasons, and Michael Myers of the world. Here, we discuss 50 horror films directed by women that feature a range of tropes and ideas. In our current cinematic climate, where only five percent of studio releases have a woman behind the camera, we hope you’ll support more women making movies that scare the hell out of you.
In My Skin
New French Extremity director Marina de Van explores the alienation we — and particularly women — often feel regarding our bodies in this dark, body horror-driven tale of self-destruction.