It's very satisfying to live in a world where horror movies are having such a resurgence and are being examined in ways that highlight how often they subvert the expectations, fears, and biases of society. That's always been one of the things that draws people to the genre: the films might seem like mindless gore, but they're full of metaphors and symbols for human behavior, our deepest fears and our basest instincts. And that makes horror an awesome showcase for feminist values, as
the feminist horror movies on the list below will show you.
Certainly a huge chunk of horror movies, famous, cult, and flat-out bad, contain major heapings of misogyny and sexual objectification. A lot of "torture porn" is called that for a reason. But as many times as a movie has contained a plot device where the virgin lives while the "whore" dies, there are so many other horror movies out there that subvert those expectations or ignore that plot device altogether to tell fascinating, original stories about women, using horror as the mechanism. Feminist horror movies can feature women as the heroes as well as the villains, since sometimes there's nothing more satisfying than watching a furious woman rain terror down on men that deserve it.
1 'A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night' 2 'Ginger Snaps' Stream Ginger Snaps here.
Using a girl's transformation into a werewolf as an allegory for puberty? Genius.
Ginger Snaps hits all the right feminist notes. 3 'Jennifer's Body' Stream Jennifer's Body here.
An irresistable Megan Fox goes full-on "maneater" (in a hyper-self-aware move from director Karyn Kusama and writer Diablo Cody) as her sweet, bright best friend played by Amanda Seyfried hunts down answers to what happened to her best friend.
4 'The Innkeepers' Stream The Innkeepers here.
The Innkeepers is a quiet, slow burn of a ghost story, led by intrepid protagonist Claire (Sarah Paxton). It will majorly mess you up. 5 'Drag Me To Hell' Stream Drag Me To Hell here. Drag Me To Hell is an amazing horror-comedy that highlights a woman's perspective, arguably contains allegories for an eating disorder, and is totally off-the-wall delightful and gross. 6 'Carrie' Stream Carrie here. Carrie is the ultimate in revenge horror. Going through puberty, and suffering abuse and ridicule all the while, can be absolutely horrifying. 7 'The Babadook' Stream The Babadook here. The Babadook centers a strong, protective mother who faces down horrors. It's rightfully lauded as one of the best scary movies of the past several years. 8 'The Hunger' Stream The Hunger here.
A smoking hot and ultra cool Catherine Deneuve stars in
The Hunger along with a delightfully androgynous Susan Sarandon and the inimitable David Bowie. 9 'Let The Right One In' Stream Let The Right One In here. Let the Right One In is as sweet as it is gory, as young Oskar develops a bond of friendship with vampiric young girl Eli. It's super haunting, and Eli is an absolutely incredible character. 10 'The Witch' Stream The Witch here. The Witch comes from one of my most trusted studios, A24. Set in 1630, it's a full-on witch hunt that centers and empathizes with the young woman being accused of evil. 11 'Scream' Stream Scream here.
The campy, self-aware, and generation-defining
Scream features an awesome cast (Courtney Cox, Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell) and Campbell is one of the coolest "final girls" horror has ever seen. 13 'The Craft' Stream The Craft here. The Craft is a horror movie that basically inspired an entire fashion trend and goth aesthetic for girls around the world, and it's all about female friendship (and witchcraft). 14 I Spit On Your Grave Stream I Spit On Your Grave here.
This ultra-gory rape revenge cult film features, yes, rape (so do beware if that's too much for you) but also sooo much brutal revenge.
15 'Final Girl' Stream Final Girl here.
Final Girl, a group of serial killers who hunt young girls for fun meet their match in Abigail Breslin. 17 'Alien' Stream Alien here.
In this space-set horror, Sigourney Weaver plays Ripley, arguably the coolest, hardcore, most in-control heroine ever. Just do what Ripley says.
18 'Hush' Stream Hush here.
In this 2016 film, a deaf woman must fight back against a terrifying home invader.
20 'Teeth' Stream Teeth here.
Yes, this is the one where she has teeth in her vagina. It's awesome, address female sexuality, and sexual violence.
21 'The Slumber Party Massacre' 22 'American Mary' Stream American Mary here. American Mary is a really edgy, alternative take on the revenge flick, as medical student Mary has a horrible experience and then decides to become a part of the body modification scene. 24 'The Brood' Stream The Brood here.
In this deeply bizarre 1979 David Croneberg movie, a woman's body hatches a number of evil murderous clones.
25 'Baby Blood' Stream Baby Blood here.
In this creepy French movie, a woman's fetus transforms into a monster demanding blood, and she obliges it as it develops.
26 'Prevenge' Stream Prevenge here.
Baby Blood, Alice Lowe's brand new Prevenge (in theaters now) is about a pregnant woman who believes her fetus is urging her to commit murder.
Hopefully these movies have provided you with just as many heroes as nightmares.