7 horror films directed by women to stream this Halloween
Updated: Jun 18
Women and Horror have had somewhat of a rocky relationship throughout history, but things are finally beginning to turn around for the representation of women in the genre. Here are seven horror films of past and present directed by women to watch this Hallow evening if you’re in need of some female-powered frights.
1. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was tagged “The first Iranian vampire western”. If that’s not already intriguing enough to check out, the film itself is a stunning example of low budget indie filmmaking at its finest. The film is shot in stunningly eery black and white and touches upon many feminist themes along with some subtext and commentary on the relationship between the US and Iran. The film is available to stream on Kanopy and Shudder or to rent on Amazon, Youtube, and Google Play.
2. The Babadook
The Babadook, directed by Jennifer Kent, focuses on young mother Amelia who, after her husband is killed in a car accident, now must raise their son Samuel alone. The two become haunted by “Mister Babadook”, a character from one of Samuel’s children’s books, manifests in their home. The Babadook himself has become quite a presence in popular culture over the past few years, but you should really check out this incredible film that gave us the monster if you haven’t already. The Babadook is available to stream on Showtime or to rent on Amazon, iTunes, and Youtube.
3. Jennifer's Body
Jennifer’s Body, directed by Karyn Kusama, stars Megan Fox as high school cheerleader Jennifer who becomes possessed and begins killing her male classmates. Upon its initial release, the film was panned by critics and audiences alike, but in recent years it’s gained a resurgence and now boasts a strong cult following praising it as one of the few feminist horror films out there. Jennifer's Body is available to rent on Amazon, iTunes, and Youtube.
4. American Psycho
Co-written and directed by Mary Harron, American Psycho is another beloved cult horror classic. By day, Patrick Bateman is a wealthy investment banking executive in New York City, but by night, he is a violent, psychopathic killer. The film is anchored by one of Christian Bale’s greatest performances with an ending that film fans have been left discussing for years. American Psycho is available to stream on Netflix or to rent on Amazon, iTunes, and Youtube.
5. Near Dark
Near Dark, directed by Kathryn Bigelow (still the only woman to ever win the Best Director Oscar at the Academy Awards), is another union between vampire and the western genre. This film, part of the revival of vampire movies in the late 80s, focuses on a young midwestern man who joins a nomadic family of vampires after he is bitten by one of its members. Near Dark is available to rent on FlixFling.
6. The Love Witch
The Love Witch is a 2016 American comedy horror film written, edited, directed, produced, and scored by Anna Biller. The film follows a modern-day witch who uses spells and magic to seduce men and make them fall in love with her, however, not all goes according to plan. The film pays homage to many classic 60s horror and Technicolor films and explores themes of gender roles and female fantasy. The Love Witch is available to stream on Prime and Kanopy or to rent on Amazon, Youtube, and Google Play.
7. The Hitch-Hiker
Directed by Ida Lupino, this 1953 film, inspired by the crime spree of Billy Cook, follows two fishermen who pick up a hitchhiker while on a trip to Mexico, but end up with more than they bargained for when they learn they’ve picked up an escaped convict who intends to murder them when the ride is over. The Hitch-Hiker is often cited as the first American mainstream film noir directed by a woman and was even selected for the National Film Registry in 1998. The Hitch-Hiker is available to stream on Kanopy or to rent on Amazon.