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This started off as a personal canon of horror films that #empower me when I’m down because a lot of these made me scream SHE DID THAT! in terms of how the heroine kicks ass, but as I went on I decided to expand it to include all of my favorite horror movies that feature a woman front and center even if she doesn’t necessarily “kick ass” in an expected way. This list is all the movies I’ve seen and personally feel have an engaging approach to womanhood and its relation to the horrific: the slashers and American films on this list tend to give their heroines the most attitude and determination to survive, but my main criterion was that these… Read more

This started off as a personal canon of horror films that #empower me when I’m down because a lot of these made me scream SHE DID THAT! in terms of how the heroine kicks ass, but as I went on I decided to expand it to include all of my favorite horror movies that feature a woman front and center even if she doesn’t necessarily “kick ass” in an expected way. This list is all the movies I’ve seen and personally feel have an engaging approach to womanhood and its relation to the horrific: the slashers and American films on this list tend to give their heroines the most attitude and determination to survive, but my main criterion was that these are films containing horrific elements where stereotypes of women were challenged, archetypes created or destroyed, and prominently feature a woman main character. Most of the time she survives on her own, sometimes she has help, but she is always the emotional core and the one driving the action forward, as well as the one who carries the last 20+ minutes/finale of the film. Sometimes she “wins” at the end, and other times the ending is more pessimistic. What all these movies have in common is a rejection of the role of woman as passive victim in horror films and in life. They have always been part of the action, integral to it even, and through this list you can begin to chart the progression from damsel to distress that informed the horror of the first half of the 20th century to the heroine who more closely resembles an action film hero that defines many of the women in horror we see today. This isn’t a definitive list, and I am always wary recommending things wholesale to anyone, but this can be taken as a guideline to anyone curious when I say “horror is a women’s genre”.

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