Saturday, February 5, 2011


I would like to get some input on things people would like to hear about, and recommendations for my anything else you'd like to see for this year's Women In Horror Recognition Month. As always you can contact me at or you can follow me on twitter

All the way back in April of 2009, I compiled a definitive list of the female archetypes in horror films.  I think that this month is the perfect opportunity to use the ol' list as an inspiration as well as using it as a platform to create the epitome of all girl-power horror films.  I do a lot of lists here on DotW (64 articles here are tagged as a list at least), but I've never done one that related solely to women and their contributions to horror.   I took to the twitterverse to try and compile this, and I'm sure we've missed some here or there...but cut me some slack. I have 20 credit hours this semester. So, on that note...LET US BEGIN.

So writers always have a conflicted relationship with the place in which they grew up, and slashers tend to have conflicted relationships with the women in their lives. Everything from poor Norman Bates and his whacked out mother or Judith Myers and her neglectful mocking older sister role to her little brother Michael. Women have the power to make people snap. Sometimes the women aren't even the ones to "drive" these men to madness, but don't do a good job at calming them down. Pamela Voorhees promoted Jason's killing spree. These women are so prominent that they are driving forces in these men's lives, even after these women have been killed off.  Just goes to show you, even after death...we're still in control :)
  • PSYCHO (Mama Bates)
  • HALLOWEEN (Judith Myers)
  • FRIDAY THE 13TH (Mama Voorhees)
  • SLEEPAWAY CAMP (Aunt Martha just wouldn't do...)
  • CARRIE (Mama White)
  • MAY (May's Mother/Her Doll)
  • WILLARD (His Mother)
Contrasting to the cankerous whores who show off their lady lumps, we have the tough, fighter types that always seem to have legs that go on for days. I think there's an unwritten rule that if you're a hot chick fighting some scary figures, you have to either be wearing a dress, a skirt, short shorts, or leather pants. I'm not sure exactly who made the rule, but I honestly can't think of an example of a bad-ass woman who didn't have rockin' gams.  
  • Resident Evil (Alice)
  • Land of the Dead (Slack)
  • Underworld (Selene)
  • Return of the Living Dead (Trash)
  • ALIEN (Ripley)
  • Planet Terror (Cherry Darling)
  • The Descent (Well, all of them)
  • Voodoo Woman (Marilyn)
  • Revenge of the Creature (Helen)

Sometimes we women get lucky and have some women that are plenty clever, plenty sexy, and plenty "going to kill the shit out of you".  Unfortunately for most of us, the women revealed as the killer is meant to be a big shock because whocouldeverthinkthelovingandnurturingwomancouldkillsomeone? As nice as it is to have a female killer, I wish it would just be upfront and accepted that the villain is going to be a woman, and she's going to kill the fuck out of you.  This isn't to say there aren't some gems that are openly female dominated, but you know what I mean ;)
  • Misery (Annie)
  • TEETH (Dawn)
  • Inside (Dalle)
  • Night of the Living Dead (Karen Cooper)
  • Grace (Madeline)
  • May (May)
  • Carrie (Carrie)
  • Hard Candy (Hayley)
  • Sleepaway Camp (sort of...Angela)
  • Cat People (Irena)
  • House of 1000 Corpses/The Devil's Rejects (Baby Firefly)
  • Audition (Asami)
  • Single White Female (Hedy)

As any man will tell you, girls tend to travel in packs. We go to the bathrooms together, we have sleepovers, we manage to go to the prom in groups and not look like date-less losers, and we have each others' backs like it's our job.  It's no surprise that horror films have discovered these bonds and helped to make movies out of it.
  • Ginger Snaps
  • The Craft
  • Martyrs
  • The Descent
  • Battle Royale
  • Worry Dolls
  • Suspiria
  • A Tale of Two Sisters
  • The House on Sorority Row

    So obviously I would save the best category for last, and obviously...Laurie Strode gets to have her picture on this entry twice. Final Girls are the epitome of female characters in horror They're the killers, the survivors, the virgins, THE ICONS!  Final Girls are the female characters that prove that women are more than just tits to kill and that we can overcome any obstacle put in our way. 
    • HALLOWEEN (Laurie Strode)
    • A Nightmare on Elm Street (Nancy Thompson)
    • SCREAM (Sidney Prescott)
    • The Silence of the Lambs/Hannibal (Clarice Starling)
    • The Terminator (Sarah Connor)
    • ALIEN (Ellen Ripley)
    • Final Destination (Clear Rivers)
    • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Sally Hardesty)
    • Frontier(s) (Yasmine)
    • Silent Hill (Rose De Silva)

    You know something, women can do more for the horror genre than just run around on screen screaming.  There are women in this world who direct some of the greatest horror films around. On that note, I close out this article with horror films that wouldn't have been possible without the amazing female behind the camera.
    • Near Dark (Kathryn Bigelow) 
    • Pet Sematary 1 & 2 (Mary Lambert)
    • Blood Diner (Jackie Kong)
    • Freddy's Dead (Rachel Talalay)
    • Ghost in the Machine (Rachel Talalay)
    • American Psycho (Mary Harron)
    • Roman (Angela Bettis)
    • The Commune (Elisabeth Fies)
    • Dead Hooker In a Trunk (Jen and Sylvia Soska)
    Let us not forget to honor the late, great, horror queen herself, Debra Hill.  Ms. Hill is quite possibly one of the most influential women in the horror genre next to Mary Shelley.  Her work with John Carpenter has contributed some of the most iconic and memorable works of horror in existence, and she was truly a maverick for all women in horror.  You can see examples of her work by watching

    • Halloween
    • Halloween II
      Halloween III: Season of the Witch
    • The Fog
    • The Dead Zone

    I guess the point of this post wasn't to create a list of how "women are better than men" or to openly shove down the throats of horror fans just what women have contributed to the horror genre.  Instead, this is just a showcase of how important women really are to horror films.  Women may be overlooked, but always know that women are absolutely vital for the horror experience :)

    9 comment(s):

    Anonymous said...

    Nicely done.
    May, Inside, Blood Diner.
    Great job grabbing from all the corners of horror and not just the obvious choices.
    There's even a few of these I haven't seen.

    You just don't stop impressing.

    titania86 said...

    I love the list! I've seen many of these films and think many of them are under appreciated. The only thing is Clarice's last name from Silence of Lambs is Starling not Darling.

    Anonymous said...

    Excellent post! It's nice to see a list like this with some of the most memorable women in horror. I enjoyed the categories, as well. I love this blog so much because I love the appreciation for women in a genre that is so dominated by men. One thing I was surprised to see was that American Psycho was directed by a woman; I had no idea! Awesome!

    BJ Colangelo said...

    @titania-Ah! Thankyou! I wrote this late last night and I didn't have time to spell check. I'm well aware of her last name, must have had Cherry Darling on the brain ;)

    gord said...

    I am so glad that more people know about A Tale of Two Sisters than I initially thought. I never really hear it mentioned, especially not as much as The Ring or The Grudge and it's originals, but it's nice that any time theres a list of top foreign horror or horror films of the last 10 years, it routinely makes the list.

    It's such a shame it's still not a household name since, despite it's shortcomings, I think it packs one hell of an emotional punch, especially more so than any other similar film, or even most horror films that come to mind. It's one the few horror movies that if you edited out the scare moments, and other weirdness, it would still be a compelling film.

    titania86 said...

    @gord: I completely agree. I love A Tale of Two Sisters and I wish more people knew of it too. It's a powerful film in its own way.

    @BJ-C: No problem! I figured it was just a typo. I can relate, being a blogger that frequently writes late at night when I should be sleeping.

    Unknown said...

    Love it!!!

    Referring a yahoo reporter named Jason to you...he's looking for a female horror blogger to profile for WiHM!

    Alice Sweet said...

    This is a great list... as a female horror fan myself, it's nice to see some props for us in movies!

    I have a brand new blog, covering horror movies, thriller TV shows and a little bit of Heavy Metal. Basically the Darkside of life! :)

    I could use some feedback!

    Desolation Den

    dope16yroldteen. andlovingitt.x said...

    I'm sorry but this was soo good I had to share this on Twitter xD
    Alot of people tend to overlook women in horror and I love how you laid it out like this :) Escpially for Female Horror Fans like myself <3 Awesome list..I ,3 raeding your blogs!!
    The Craft, Carrie, American Pyscho are my top faves =p

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