Girls and Guts: The Top Five Horror Films for Women

As a huge horror fan, I delighted in this great article from the Guardian about women and horror movies. It seems like a genre tailored for men, who anecdotally enjoy violence and nudity more than their female counterparts, but women have just as visceral a reaction to the films as men do. The article offers an interesting theory about why people watch horror movies:
According to Dr Glenn Wilson, a psychologist at King’s College London: “Horror films, for men and women, are about learning to cope with emotions that would threaten to overwhelm us if they happened in reality.”
I would even go so far as to say there is a more nuanced point to be made, that horror films, and film in general, help us understand the difficult realities that people face daily. The following horror films have themes that relate to women and women’s issues especially. And, disregarding whatever deeper meaning they may have, all these movies totally kick ass.

5. The Craft: Four teen witches band together to get revenge on the popular kids who made them outcasts. Follows a theme that is very persistent in horror–coming of age. Magic is the means by which these girls become women and address their changing bodies, minds, and perceptions of the world.

4. The Entity: A single mother is repeatedly raped and abused by an unseen force. Addresses not only the way that women are affected by the horrific violation of rape, but also the way that society as a whole reacts to them, with either disbelief or disgust. Also, a careful meditation on the difficulties of being a single mother in the 80’s.

3. Alien/s: Ripley is the sole survivor after a vicious pack of aliens kills her crew. Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley is a feminist zeitgeist, facing down the alien and surviving when everyone else, including all the men on her spaceship, do not. An interesting take on parenthood, as the aliens on board impregnate men and women alike, the birth of the new aliens killing it’s host. Later in the series, Ripley mothers her own alien and survives. It’s one of the only action/horror movies that makes a woman its ultimate hero, that puts a female in a real position of power.

2. Ginger Snaps: Two sisters try to adjust after one is bitten by, and later becomes a werewolf. It’s a rather thinly veiled allegory for puberty and the journey into womanhood. That being said, the treatment of this theme isn’t heavy handed; in fact, it’s a very beautiful portrayal of the bond between sisters, of feeling left behind in one’s physical and emotional underdevelopment, and even the bond between mother and daughter.

1. The Descent: A group of women explorers get lost in a cave and find and fight a race of very scary monsters. *Spoilers Ahoy* There is only one man in the entire movie and he gets killed in the first five minutes. The film is about female empowerment and the bond between women, yes, but mostly it is a hugely extended metaphor for motherhood. The protagonist loses her own daughter at the beginning of the film and then spends the rest of it fighting horrible, vicious monsters in a very womb-like cave. In my humble opinion, it’s the best horror movie in the past five years.
[Any other pro-women horror movies you can think of? Let us know!!]

ExSex: To Do or Not To Do (Part 1)
ExSex: To Do or Not To Do (Part 1)
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