In October, I love seeing the leaves change color, visiting historic Salem to learn about the frightful witch trials, and of course watching scary movies. With Halloween right around the corner, this marks the perfect time to celebrate horror films, particularly women in horror films.
Horror films are often thought to belong to a male domain with a male audience. So not true! Female audiences enjoy gore, terror and screams in their cinema too. Women write and direct horror movies. Horror taps into our primal fears and urges for survival. My friend Deirdre, who wrote her amazing-sounding thesis on George Romero’s films as a metaphor for the stages of grief, is a horror film aficionado. There’s even a whole month, Women in Horror Month in February, devoted to commemorating and recognizing women in the horror industry.
Female roles in horror comprise a pantheon of characters: “final girl” survivors, femme fatales, slasher victims, fierce feminist heroes and murderous villains. While horror films often suffer from sexism and misogyny, as so do many movies in all genres, feminist themes do emerge.
Bitch Flicks’ “Women in Horror Week” posts include Saw’s unexpected pro-woman attitude; Clarice Starling and the strong female characters in The Silence of the Lambs; reviews of House of 1000 Corpses (by my awesome friend Deirdre), The Descent (one of my fave horror films!), Hellraiser and Drag Me to Hell; how marriage can be terrifying in Rosemary’s Baby; the sexualization of women in slasher films; the cissexism of Sleepaway Camp; and a feminist reading of The Ring.
Be on the lookout for my post on THE feminist film icon, Lt. Ellen Ripley and all her infamous badassery in Alien and Aliens.
Read all of Bitch Flicks’ posts on gore and gender in films for Women in Horror Week 2011!