What always struck me as confusing is the way that people reacted to Pamela Voorhees being revealed as the killer in the original Friday the 13th film as being so shocking. Last semester I took a collegiate level horror film analysis course and this situation was brought to our attention. The class was asked "who thought the killer was going to be a woman" and I was the only one who raised their hand. When you really look at it, Pamela Voorhees' tactics throughout the film gave away her gender from the very beginning. From the get go, camp counselor Annie needs to hitch a ride to the camp and hops a ride with an unseen driver in a jeep. Right away, the fact she gets in the car and is so friendly to the driver makes me believe the driver is a woman. I'm sorry, I will be gender biased here on this one, I would wait two hours before I would (as a young woman) get in a car with a strange man. Maybe that makes me a misandrist, but so be it. I would trust a sweet old lady in a cable knit sweater before I'd trust some big dude. Not only that, but instead of just slash and dashing up her victims, Mama Voorhees was very calculated. She even went as far as impersonating the voice of a child in order to lure out one of her victims, knowing that she wouldn't be able to ignore a crying child. That's a woman move, right there.
Strangely enough, these attributes seem to be solely attached to women in horror films rather than any other genre. For example, if we take a look at Disney films, another genre notorious for having female villains, their representation is dramatically different. Although the concept of the female villain being far more intelligent than their male counterparts staying the same, the major difference is that Disney female villains require assistance. Granted, their assistants are usually bumbling, foolish, men, but they still require assistance nonetheless. Whereas in horror films, female villains are relentless and just as capable of extreme violence as their male comrades...but in a far sneakier way. This isn't a criticism of the female strength in any way, shape, or form, this is merely an observation of the different ways the sexes earn their power. There's a reason men in high school just beat the snot out of each other and girls will spread rumors and psychologically torture their victims. We think differently, and that is okay! By taking a closer look at the tactics of unmasked killers, we can always determine whether or not we're dealing with a man or a woman.
NOTE: OF COURSE THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE, I'M WELL AWARE OF THIS AND AM FOCUSING ON THE RULE AND NOT THE EXCEPTION FOR SIMPLICITY'S SAKE. THANKYOU.