The Best Feminist Horror Movies You HAVE To Watch This Halloween
It’s Halloween and you want to scare yourself stupid watching spooky movies...
But you also want a film that passes the Bechdel Test, or even just represents women as three-dimensional beings. What’s a feminist horror movie fan to do? We’ve got you.
Below, we’ve compiled the very best scary movies that won’t make you feel like you’re betraying the sisterhood. These movies explore violence and abjection, sexuality, the patriarchy and a bunch of other ideas.
But they do it with their tongue firmly planted in their cheek. They do it in a way that represents women as sovereign subjects (even if they’re the villains) rather than objects. And they do it in a way that’ll scare the crap out of you (in a good way). Commence the horror!
Vagina dentata is the Latin term that refers to the myth of women who have teeth in their vagina, and it’s that very folktale that Teeth explores to gory, horrific, yet very clever effect.
The heroine of this film is also a very misunderstood villain, and her transformation over the course of the movie is super satisfying.
The Love Witch (2016)
More a comedic homage to Russ Meyers (via John Waters), The Love Witch centers on a murderous, anti-feminist heroine. But her pathological co-dependence is as tongue-in-cheek as they come, and her desire to be loved is rendered symptomatic of the darker side of romance culture. It’s campy AF, and costume and set design wise, it doesn’t get more en pointe than this.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
This part-noir, part-spaghetti Western, all-Iranian vampire film is visually stunning as well as totally badass. In it, a mysterious and super-cool female vampire stalks a small town and gradually exposes all its secrets. Instant inspiration.
The Descent (2005)
If you get claustrophobic easily, this is the movie for you—that is, if you want to feel instantly anxious. In it, a group of adventurous cave-diving women go on a mission underground that goes horribly wrong. By the time monsters appear, things get shlocky, but this is a low-budget horror; what do you expect? The real fear is in those confined spaces. #nope
The Witch (2015)
“Wouldst thou like to live…deliciously?” For a spooky but painstakingly historically accurate portrayal of Puritan values and witchcraft hysteria in the US' colonial years, look no further. The Witch is a story of Thomasin and her deeply religious family, who seem to have settled on the very wrong side of the forest. Another excellent ending.
It Follows (2015)
After the protagonist of this film has sex with a stranger dude, a creepy shape-shifting entity won’t stop following her around (like, ever), and it’s way scarier than it sounds. While it seems like there are undertones of slut-shaming, it’s more a meta-commentary on slut-shaming culture itself, than the product of it.
Sugar Hill (1974)
Sugar Hill is “the foxiest, sexiest, deadliest chick in town” in this blacksploitation classic. After her boyfriend is murdered by gangsters, Sugar enlists the help of a Hoodoo priestess to unleash an army of zombies on all those who’ve wronged her. I don’t think you need me to explain why that’s feminist; just watch it.
The Craft (1996)
While it does definitely pass the Bechdel, The Craft is actually not very feminist at all when you think about it. The “villains” are a young woman who’s promiscuous and deemed “trailer trash," a woman who’s physically disfigured, and a black woman. This, in contrast to the main character who’s white, virginal and rich. WTF! But all know the villains are the real heroes when it comes to giving zero fucks and being goth baddies.
The Babadook (2014)
This Japanese film is about a man who holds fake "auditions" to find a new wife . But when Asami (a murderous woman who collects men in burlap sacks) auditions, things get very morbid, very quickly. Gotta love a movie that gives young women a chance to be portrayed as pure evil, without apology.
Extra credit! If the above feminist horror movies aren’t enough to cure your insatiable appetite for pure horror, you should definitely check out these too. Keep it spooky, kids.
- Jennifer’s Body
- Ginger Snaps
- Drag Me To Hell
- Let The Right One In
- Silence of the Lambs
- Rosemary’s Baby
- Final Girl
Words: Jerico Mandybur