The portrayal of women in horror movies has a complicated history, to say the least. The genre has been accused of unnecessarily vilifying, sexualising, and diminishing its female characters. However, certain horror movies have consciously moved past mere cheap thrills and explored the ‘horrors’ of real societal issues.
With Halloween right around the corner, we have compiled a list of five women-centric horror movies – old and new – that will leave you both terrified and entertained. After all, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!
1. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby is an immaculately crafted adaptation of Ira Levin’s bestseller of the same name. The movie features actress Mia Farrow essaying the role of a pregnant woman who discovers that her eccentric neighbours might be a part of a Satanic cult. Consequently, she tries to save her unborn baby from falling into the cult’s clutches. Despite being a classic horror movie, Rosemary’s Baby deals with issues like paranoia and Catholicism masterfully.
2. The Babadook (2014)
The Babadook traces the journey of a single mother who, along with her only son, becomes obsessed with an eerie children book’s character, Mister Babadook. Subsequently, Mister Babadook ‘manifests’ itself in the duo’s house and makes their lives hellish. A psychological- horror movie, the Australian film explores the trauma of a single mother as well as themes like insomnia, paranoia, and guilt. Interestingly, the character of the supernatural Mister Babadook has also been hailed as a covert queer icon.
3. Revenge (2017)
French filmmaker Coralie Fargeat’s debut directorial Revenge epitomises the rape-revenge fantasy characteristic of various horror movies. The film follows the story of a young girl named Jen who is raped and left to die by two of her boyfriend’s friends. However, she ‘survives’ and ventures forth on a bloodthirsty mission to avenge the atrocities committed on her. While the plot might seem like a tried and tested one, the film is markedly feminist and subversive in its treatment of rape and rape survivors.
4. The Descent (2005)
The Descent boasts of an all-female cast, a rarity in the horror genre. The movie features a group of female cavers who enter a cave and encounter grotesque bloodthirsty humanoid monsters. Fast-paced and dark, The Descent serves plenty of chills and leaves one with an eerie, claustrophobic feeling. The women’s underground experiences can be best described as a gore-fest that is not for the weakhearted. The movie is also a must-watch for its interesting portrayal of female solidarity and strength.
5. The Perfection (2018)
The Perfection focuses on the twisted relationship between a disturbed musical genius and a new star pupil at her former school. The thriller-horror movie explores pertinent issues like mental health and artistic pressure. The movie has been compared to Black Swan due to its accurate portrayal of the intense competition between two young women. With gory visuals and crazy twists, the film offers ‘bloody’ good entertainment.
These five women-centric horror movies are guaranteed to give you all the thrills and chills this spooky season. So leave the lights on, grab a partner, and binge away!
Picture Credits: The Economic Times
Tarini Gandhiok is an intern with SheThePeople.TV