October 31, 2017

Women of Horror: Exploring Directors Who Are Making Their Mark on the Genre

Horror has been good to these directors. (Or is it the other way around?)

Like comedy, horror is a tricky genre to get right, because right away you're faced with the inescapable expectation that your work must, in fact, be the very thing that makes the genre what it is. For comedy, it has to be funny, but for horror, it has to be scary. Though there are plenty of horror flicks out there that are reductive, predictable, and barely able to make you flinch, there have been some truly great films that have come out in the last several years that remind horror film fans of why we love this bloody genre so much—and an exciting number of them have been women. 

In this video from Fandor, we get to explore the work of three female directors who chose to make a name for themselves in the horror genre with their transgressive, challenging, and yes, really, really scary films. Check it out below:

Even though this video is less than two minutes long, we are able to get a pretty good glimpse of a part of cinema that isn't often explored: female directors in horror. Fandor highlights three such directors: Jennifer Kent, Ana Lily Amirpour, and Julia Ducournau.

Jennifer Kent's 2014 psycho-horror film The Babadook, not only became one of the best-reviewed films of the year, but also saw its titular villain turn into a cultural sensation, particularly in the LGBTQ community. (Also, my daughter wanted to be The Babadook this year for Halloween and yeah, I've never felt so much pride in my life.) To call Ana Lily Amirpour's A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night a genre-bender is a giant understatement. Called "the first Iranian vampire western," Amirpour's film shows us how boldness can sometimes pay off, whether that means you combine six genres into one or shoot your film in black and white. And finally, Julia Ducournau's horror drama Raw, is an interestingly brutal coming-of-age film—a marriage of sex and violence that, if you see past some of the more gruesome set pieces, has a lot to say about fear, humanity, and growing up.

The beauty of studying this collection of horror films is not just that they were all highly-acclaimed and well-received by audiences, but that each and every one of them was a debut feature. If that's not encouraging to any and every budding filmmaker who's in need of some inspiration to go for broke and make their first film I don't know what is!

Who are some of your favorite female horror directors? (Personally, Mary Lambert's Pet Sematary shaped my entire childhood.) Let us know in the comments below!      

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