According to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, women only accounted for 16 percent of the directors working on 2020's 100 highest grossing movies. Keep in mind that that's more than 2019's pre-pandemic 12 percent, but it really is a man's world, isn't it?
Though the percentage of female directors is downright shameful, the gender gap in the industry is slowly closing. With Halloween quickly approaching, we thought it'd be the perfect time to appreciate women's deliciously frightening efforts in the horror genre (a genre that often features films revolving around a woman protagonist). There's nothing like a woman's touch, and we mean that in the most progressive, empowering way possible. Here are some of the best women-directed horror movies out there.
'Jennifer's Body' (2009)
At the time of Jennifer's Body's release, critics tore the horror-comedy to shreds. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie only received an underwhelming 45 percent — now that's scary.
After a virgin sacrifice goes wrong, high schooler Jennifer Check becomes possessed by a demon and begins to crave the flesh of her male teenage peers. Her much dorkier best friend, Needy, eventually connects the dots and does everything she can to stop Jennifer's bloody takeover. It's a wild ride from beginning to end.
Many believe the film was initially marketed to the wrong audience, horny teenage boys, rather than women. Did we mention Oscar-winning Juno screenwriter, Diablo Cody, wrote the film? It's an overall win for women, folks.
Jennifer's Body is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
'American Mary' (2012)
Canadian directing duo and twins Jen and Sylvia Soska — aka the Soska Sisters or the Twisted Twins — have a few gory productions under their belt, including 2009's Dead Hooker in a Trunk. Their 2012 body horror film, American Mary, follows medical student Mary Mason as she applies to be a stripper at a shady club to help pay for medical school. But things soon take a turn, and Mary finds herself making big bucks performing bizarre, not to mention illegal, surgeries on strangers.
It sure is a twisted tale, and it's definitely not for the faint of heart.
American Mary is currently streaming on Tubi.
'A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night' (2014)
With its feminist undertones (or perhaps overtones), stunning cinematography, and unique take on a vampire story, Ana Lily Amirpour's A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night deserves a watch. The Iranian film follows residents of the barren Bad City who stumble upon a female vampire as she hunts down the city's scumbags, specifically those who use and abuse women. Oh yeah, and she rides a skateboard. It's been deemed the first ever "Iranian vampire western." That's something we can get on board with.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is currently streaming on Amazon Prime with a premium subscription.
'The Babadook' (2014)
Australian director Jennifer Kent's 2014 masterpiece, The Babadook, made waves upon its initial release, as there's more to the boogeyman story than meets the eye. Viewers watch Amelia, a single mother and widow, struggle to raise her handful of a son as his fear of a monster described in a children's book gets progressively worse. Initially bothered by her needy son's tantrums, she soon realizes that there really is a sinister presence in the house.
The movie is jam-packed with substance, with many viewing the Babadook himself as a metaphor for grief and depression. Despite the near-perfect movie being a bit of a downer, Netflix gave it new life after the streaming service accidentally put the movie in the site's LGBTQ category. As you can imagine, the error spawned quite a few amazing internet memes, all hailing the Babadook as a queer icon. We can't make this up.
The Babadook is currently streaming on Amazon Prime with a premium subscription.
'The Invitation' (2015)
Who doesn't love a freaky dinner party flick? Karyn Kusama's (recognize that name?) 2015 thriller is about a mysterious dinner party gone terribly wrong. Logan, a quiet man with a painful past, receives a cryptic invitation to said party from his ex-wife, Eden, and her new husband, David. The party acts as a somewhat uncomfortable reunion for longtime friends, but Logan soon predicts that Eden and David have something horrific planned for their dinner guests.
With increasingly gripping dialogue and an unexpected twist, The Invitation is well worth a watch. It's maybe not an ideal movie to play when hosting a dinner party, however.
The Invitation is currently streaming on Tubi.